Condemned: Criminal Origins

Just finished playing the demo for this game, so sweet, lots of bludgeoning transients with objects not primarily designated as weapons (a.k.a “die at the hand of my rustily nailed 2x4, hobo junkies!”). I’m gonna get myself a copy for PC, methinks. Anyone played the full game? How is it? Demo is here:

It’s got good atmosphere but the game can get pretty repetitive. Don’t expect many different weapons, gameplay or world interaction. You go from abandoned location to the next abandoned location bludgeoning baddies as you go. I haven’t finished it and am not really itching to return.

I may be in the minority however. Some people really love it.

Guerillas in the Mist got launched this week?


It bored the shit out of me. Level One was tense and nervewracking, Level Two kept the pressure going, after about the third level, it was a braindead one trick pony, constantly throwing Not Zombies at you with utterly predictable pacing, constantly reusing the same puzzles, and sending me to sleep. Grab fireaxe - zombies come out. Open door - zombies come out. Walk into dark corridor - zombies come out. How people can get even to the half-way point and still be scared by it is just beyond me - including the department store - and the plot is insipidly stupid, with a moderately decent premise ruined by supernatural bullshit.

I did not like it very much.

It’s the worst 360 game I’ve played yet. If you enjoyed the demo, just imagine how much you’ll enjoy doing the exact same things for about 10 hours. If you think you’d still enjoy it, pick up the full game. Because that’s it. It never changes even a little, except for the very last level which changes for the worse.

But the next-to-last level still sees you searching for a fire axe to open a door, still sees you finding guns with 2 bullets in them, still sees you hunting for health packs and retracing your steps, still sees you doing completely pointless forensic sequences, etc.

What’s the matter with you people? Condemned got an 8.3 on the 7-9 scale! Sheesh.

But, yeah, I don’t recommend it at all. Really weak stuff that makes me wonder what happened to the Monolith I used to know and love. In fact, if those guys hadn’t made Blood, the NOLFs, AvP2, and Tron, I might have even liked F.E.A.R. a little more… :(


Not to mention Contract Jack.

Yeah, that’s a seriously low blow.

And yet you love the the Dynasty Warrior series.

Man, I’d heard good things about Dynasty Warrios 5 Empires, so I bought the damn thing.

I want my money back.

Isn’t dynasty warriors 5 , like dynasty warriors 4, like dynasty warriors 3 …

I could go on again about how Empires is not vanilla Dynasty Warriors because the strategy side, while simple, is actually rather good. About how the campaign map gives a context to each battle that elevates it beyond the static series of missions of past DW games. About how the range of tactics and items can make for some really unique battles. About how Condemned has one character with three attack moves while DW has hundreds of characters (still technically only three attack moves, but they change if you’re fighting with a melee weapon, a bow, from a horse, or from an elephant) which, while not really unique, still fall into one of a rather large number of categories. About how playing someone like Huang Zhong is very different from playing someone like Meng Huo.

I could, but opinions are decided on this matter. No matter how incorrect your perceptions may be, you’re not going to correct them. So go on, play Condemned. You deserve it.

P.S. Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires is better than Half-Life 2.

Well, I may be an exception. I actually do want to like the game (since I bought it and all), but it hasn’t done any favors for itself with what I’ve seen so far.

Maybe we should start a Dynasty Warriors 5 Empire thread so you can set me straight, and so I can systematically bitch about what I don’t like?


To get back on track I was one of the ones that liked the game. It is one that you gain benefit from taking your time going through, or you miss some of the scarier stuff.

I’ll repeat what others have said here if only because it’s worth repeating.

The demo and the first level are GREAT; the atmosphere is creepy, and the gameplay is tense and suprisingly visceral. One of the things that I liked off the bat was the hand-to-hand combat.

In this day and age, first-person shooters definitely place the emphasis on shooting. And there’s just something impersonal about shooting someone. You can do so from a distance (sniper). You can do so from the shadows (Splinter). Or you can do so while backpeddling away from an attack (Doom and about 99% of the other shooter titles out there).

But Condemned is one of the few that makes you go up close and personal. And Sega did a great job of recreating what an up close and personal melee would feel like. This isn’t just a “right-trigger-means-punch” affair. A well-landed blow causes your opponent to reel. Conversely, getting nailed by a 2x4 sends you spinning yourself.

I’ve never gone mano-a-mano with a bunch of junked up homeless people with pipes - but after condemned, I definitely feel I got the feeling that it would be a quick fight that would hurt… a lot.

So after this creative twist of gameplay is introduced, you’d think that the game would only get better and more creative from there. And unfortunately it doesn’t.

Maybe because the initial gameplay suggests ingenuity and creativity, it’s all the worse when you realize that Condemned is simply a one-trick pony.

Most succeessful first-person shooters use the evolution strategy. You start with a gun but eventually progress to the mini-nuclear warhead launcher, for example. And in between you get to pilot cars, plans, boats, etc. Maybe upgrade your character.

Not so Condemned. The first level is basically the 2nd. And the 3rd. And the 4th. And so on. Sure, you pick up different weapons. And yes, some of your weapons get upgraded, but at the same time, the enemies get harder and the core gameplay remains the same: make your way through a dark, creepy locale; find the best weapon available (typically a gun or shotgun), use it until you’re empty (which won’t take very long at all) and then gradually creep until you have to pummel someone with a melee weapon. Repeat.

Were it to have some sort of compelling story-line, maybe it would have made a difference. As is, it’s just incredibly muddled. I remember finishing and audibly saying aloud: huh?

It just gets weird and answers few of the questions that it raises.

All in all, I’d recommend a rental.

In a weird sort of way, I think Condemned and F.E.A.R. are basically the same game, but with different approaches. Both look gorgeously disgusting, yet you run through the same damn locations ad infinitum that you’ve seen in a hundred other games; both make you spend the majority of your time pursuing a single enemy, who is constantly taunting you as you go, which gets old pretty quick; both have viscereal combat which is initially impressive, but quickly becomes insanely repetitive, thanks largely to a lack of variety in enemies; and both try to be cool and ambiguous with their supernatural-y elements, but all they really seem to do is make me not care about what’s going on.

Condemned’s big trick is the use of non-traditional melee weapons - and that’s it. [A lesser trick is the use of quasi-forensic tools to hunt for clues, but it seemed a minor part of gameplay.] F.E.A.R.'s big trick was, I dunno, ripping off The Ring’s creepy little girl?

But Monolith has always been hit-or-miss: for every Blood, there’s a Blood 2; for every NOLF, a Contract Jack.

Screw the ranged weapons, 99% of the time. Grab a sign and you are a walking god.

Okay, there’s some agreement here. The thing is, I would like to bludgeon zombies for hours. Even if Condemned were just the demo but longer I’d be happy. I get wet every time I get to use a piece of random environment scenery as a weapon, it sounds like Condemned is like hours of just that.

And - complaints on the storyline - is it really that confusing and unsatisfying or are you the kinda people that have to ask what’s going on during movies? I like nuance and ambiguity.

Well, seems like I will just need to buy it. I can’t rent it, I have no 360, that’s why I am so excited that they put out the PC version. Condemned was the only reason I wanted a 360 in the first place. I heard the PC version has extra stuff, not sure what stuff, but since it’s extra it makes me feel good and righteous… anyone know what stuff?