Condemned: Criminal Origins is the latest game from the famed Monolith Productions. Condemned takes a cue from horror psychological thriller movies and puts players in the mind of a man on the verge of sanity. Playing as Officer Ethan Thomas, players find that they have just been framed for the murder of two fellow police officers. Thomas must now solve a series of murders to not only cure his name, but find out what exactly is causing the garbage of the city, the addicts, homeless, and gangs, who produce such violent attacks.
Condemned combines hand to hand and weapon fighting, with forensic solving and clue finding to form a game that not only stimulates your desire to kill, but will also force you to solve intriguing complications and puzzles. The fighting portion of the game is perhaps the most unique in the sense that it allows you to pick up anything from your environment and use it as a weapon. Do you see a rusted water pipe on the wall? Go over to it, rip it out, and begin wailing it over the heads of your enemies. Along with hand to hand weapons, the game also features a .45 and a shotgun but when these weapons are found they usually only have enough ammo for a few shots, forcing you to save these weapons for intense moments.
With an advanced pick up and use weapon system Condemned also packs in an exceptional defensive and offensive system. Any weapon you wield cannot only be used for your own duty but can also be used against you. Therefore, each weapon features a block option. Blocking will play an integral part of the game as you encounter enemies hidden in the dark or around a corner. On the offensive, weapons will correspond correctly to where and what they hit.
Enemies have been equipped with an intelligent A.I. that not only allows them to hide from you and attack you from behind but also to block your attacks. Enemies will block your attacks and on your rebound will launch into an offensive manoeuvre.
The forensic side of the gameplay will require players to look for clues in the environment in order to solve murder mysteries and eventually clear their name. When clues are in an area, a notice will popup and by pressing a button, you will take out the correct forensic weapon needed. From there on it will be your job to not only find the clue, but survive in the process.
Such a compelling and interactive storyline and gameplay system begs for the graphics to show it off and Condemned delivers. Advanced lighting techniques will have your enemies hiding in the dark where they can see you and your only resource will be your flashlight. Condemned will take advantage of next generation mapping to provide photorealistic environments to have you jumping out of your seat. And the physics system promises that no matter what you bump into or attack, it will react with life like movements. Bump into a chair? Expect it to tumble over, and if there are papers on it then the papers will flutter to the ground.
And for what the graphics can’t show, Condemned’s full use of 5.1 surround sound will allow you to prepare for attacks from behind. Monolith has promised a detailed and perfected sound system so you will be able to hear what is happening off screen, making this game closer to reality than some of us may wish for.
Expected to make the launch window of the 360, Condemned is definitely a game to keep on your radar. The unique gameplay elements and the photorealistic graphics will provide a compelling and realistic experience.