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Old 06-25-09, 04:34 AM   #17
CaptNKILL
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: PA, USA
Posts: 18,844
Default Re: Condemned: Criminal Origins

Well I just beat it.

It was decent, but nothing I'd run out and recommend to all my friends. It was rather short as well at around 5 hours max (compared to the 15 hours I spent on Dead Space ).

The plot was kind of loose and some things in the second half of the game weren't explained enough or were just skipped entirely, but the general story was worth following. It seemed like the plot was sort of unfinished at times and the surreal flashes\visions were there as distractions so you wouldn't think about it. As a "horror" game, it never got to me once... but games rarely do because I have nerves of steel.

The non-action parts are original but way too simplified for my tastes. Still, they get points for trying to make something more than a standard shooter. The voice acting and script are decent enough to make the investigating portions interesting, though it would have been nice if these segments actually required some kind of thought from the player.

The combat is the main focus of the game and sadly its far from perfect. First off, its EXTREMELY simple. The weapons are all pretty much the same, despite all the different stats. The whole thing seemed a bit thrown together... like they made a basic combat system and when it was too easy to just do the usual hit-and-run melee attacks, they broke the hit detection so you had to use the block button more just to be safe. There really isn't any other explanation as to why they would allow a 2 foot long weapon to hit the player from 10+ feet away. The redeeming factor of the combat is that the enemies interact with their surroundings (and each other) when attacking. I really got a kick out of watching some big oaf flailing at me and taking out 2 or 3 little irritating guys that were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Other than that... the combat system was too simple, not gory enough (no dismembering or even any blood most of the time), the hits seemed to register randomly, and the guns are neutered by unrealistically poor accuracy and no ability to reload or save ammo. Overall the combat worked, but it wasn't the quality I'd expect from a game that was so action oriented.

The sound effects are some of the best I've heard, and the EAX HD effects (using ALchemy in Vista) were very noticeable and immersive. The combat sounds definitely made hits feel a bit more visceral and punchy. The voice work was solid and convincing as well.

The graphics are overall decent with good lighting and lots of small (though non-interactive) objects cluttering the scenery. But there were some horrible blur shaders that made some scenes really hard on the eyes. It wasn't bloom either. I tried a few things and nothing seemed to get rid of the pixelated blurry haze in some areas. Its obvious that the game's effects were created for a low resolution (console) display. Also the character graphics are pretty bad. Seriously, Rosa looked like a low-poly burn victim and Ethan looked like a 1999 version of the marine from Doom 3. What were they thinking showing close ups of those things?

Other than that, it ran well, looked pretty good, never crashed or glitched in any significant way and it wasn't a hassle to play.

Despite all the complaints it did manage to hold my interest straight through to the end. So, overall I'd say its a decent game if you find it cheap, or if you like games that use white noise and screen flashing effects to scare you (that doesn't really do it for me).

I give it a 6/10.
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