LTTP: Condemned: Criminal Origins (spoilers)

#1


Let me say this straight up: I hated this game.

I haven't felt such an overwhelming distaste for a game in quite some time.
In fact, up until tonight, I didn't hate it, I simply found it to be boring and annoying. However, this final chapter has pushed me from apathy to completely detesting this game. The worst part was I was looking forward to playing Condemned for several years, but it betrayed me.
Everyone betray me! I am fed up with this world!


So, the game itself is just a really bland, predictable "oh no, look out, someone's going to jump out over there" melee game with dark rooms. That's pretty much it. I have yet to have been startled or frightened once, which really disappointed me, as many people make this out to be a scary game. The melee is pretty terrible, as the blocking system is rendered moot by the various fake-outs enemies have. I swear, they must have double or triple the fakeouts in comparison to the actual attacks. What's the point in trying to block something when the majority of your blocks don't matter? This resulted in me always taking the strongest weapon, as there's not a point in using block, outside of a few exceptions.

On that note, there are WAY too many items/weapons. There's things just littered everywhere, and it made me feel even more at-ease playing since there's pretty much a health item around every corner. There's so many options and backups laying around I would have thought I was playing the game in that weapon cache aisle thing from the first Matrix movie.

The visuals, once again, are really evident as an early entry in the life cycle. I don't know if I've been spoiled by the niceties of other games this gen, but the characters were so bad to watch during cutscenes it was unbearable.
I did like that I could see elements of my character's face when I would run too close to the level geometry. It was often more shocking to see eyes and teeth floating in front of me for a second than anything that actually happened in-game.

The game just wasn't scary. I don't know if I've just gotten used to these things from playing the Resident Evil and Silent Hill games so much, but this just didn't get me at all. I often found myself trying to stay engaged by singing songs to myself. The enemies yelling all of the time, the game giving me tells like "you need this weapon" right before enemies attack, and so forth just neutralized all atmosphere that might have been built for some awful jump scare tactics that were telegraphed a mile away.



The enemies are some of the worst I've seen this gen. The fact that this is a launch title really shows. Half of the time, enemies would either be extremely easy to spot because they were standing half-out of cover or in the open doing nothing. The other half they would attack from nowhere (spawning behind me in a room I just checked or from afar with ridiculous accuracy with guns). It was either frustrating or boring, and it was a chore to keep pushing myself through each chapter more often than not.

Story... yeah, something, something evil killer and I was framed. Honestly, the entire premise sounded good at the start with the match maker killer, but then it got really stupid with the immediate "hey, you're gonna be framed because you're the most highly respected CIA investigator/CSI and killing your two cop partners was totally believable coming from you." Not to mention the obvious Vanhorn guy showing up all "Hey, I'm your buddy, friend! I'm totally not a bad guy!" Ugh. I thought the story was going to make me like it again with the whole "a killer stalking serial killers" avenue. I mean, that's kind of cool, right? Nope, time to blame it all on super-sonic air frequencies from some shirtless guy holding a 2-by-4. I don't know if this stuff is better elaborated on in the sequel, but I don't think I'll be looking into it.
The entire "story" just left me disinterested and hoping to get back to the gameplay. Which isn't something it should be doing, considering how much I didn't enjoy it.

On the note of gameplay (before I hit my final note on the last chapter), who on earth thought that mapping the run function to clicking the left stick was a good idea? I mean, seriously? Why not use a face button? Did I use the right bumper for anything? I mean, sheesh! I ended up walking everywhere because the run made me feel like I was going to break my control stick every time I used it. I guess the rest of the controls were serviceable, but it's probably not a good thing when the "oh-so-scary" game makes you laugh at the first sight of your kicking. What are you, Bruce Lee?

Also, I know it's a game, but the requirements of "you have to have this item to open this door" were rather dumb. I mean, a sledgehammer can't chop down a door? A sledgehammer can't break that one wooden beam to push the piano out of the way? The axe sever that connection to open the door's locking system? Just bugged me. Although, it did lead to me singing Sledgehammer on a regular basis.

And, the reason I am so upset with this game, is the final boss is bollocks.
The tedium of fighting with this really shoddy melee system is bad enough, but the final form left me in a terrible position that seems to have been a problem for others. I cannot pick up an item to fight him with, so I'm left to kicking him to end the game. Yup. Lots of fun when every time you try to get close he lands 2 or 3 blows against you. I attempted it between 15 and 18 times before I quit to the xbox menu, remembered I could change difficulty, jumped back in, switched to easy, and beat him after two more attempts. I remember spending like an hour and a half against the final boss in Ninja Gaiden 2 and not being this frustrated. Nothing worse than having some weapon right there that you can't pick up just taunting you while you get pummeled with wood sound effects.

I was so tempted to shoot the SKX guy at the end, just to seal my contempt for this game, but it didn't matter. I didn't care anymore. Then he killed himself, anyways. Great! Sure. Whatever.



There are only two things I can say I have taken away from this game that were positive.
1. Lunch lady boss at the school. Man, I want a game focused around a crazy lunch lady that stayed in some run-down school for years, despite no longer having a reason to be there. Best character in the game.
2. I had an instance where an enemy ran past me into a room. I thought "okay, whatever." Then a few seconds later it ran past me again into the room it originally came from. "...okay, sure." Then it ended up chasing me down after a few more seconds, leaving me no choice but to kill it. Made me laugh, though.





I can maybe see why people liked this at release, but I couldn't stand this. I was fortunate enough to only have paid $10 for this game, and I still feel cheated. Thanks Sega, for reminding me why I don't buy things with your name attached to it anymore!
Well, except Bayonetta. And Valkyria. BUT THAT'S IT!
 
#2
I thought it was pretty tense/scary, but I really, really, REALLY can't stand first person melee combat, and I think this is the game that taught me that. So, never finished it.
 
#4
I enjoyed it. It was definitely the best 360 launch title, and I think that's how it gets my praise and the praise of others. I thought condemned 2 sucked, and I've yet to finish it, because I just got bored, frankly.

The last part of the game was legitimately freaky. I did NOT want to go in that basement.
 
#5
I enjoyed it. It was definitely the best 360 launch title, and I think that's how it gets my praise and the praise of others. I thought condemned 2 sucked, and I've yet to finish it, because I just got bored, frankly.
I will definitely be staying away from 2 then. I found this to be boring, so I don't even want to play 2 and risk falling asleep, haha.
 
#6
It's the real hobo killing simulator. I love Condemned.

Played it on the PC with superior graphics, frame rate and controls, though. Maybe that's why I enjoyed it so much.
 
#7
Maybe that would make a difference in my overall enjoyment, but I don't know if it would be enough to get me to play it again. At least, not in the next year or more.

Better controls would have certainly helped, though.
 
#8
I absolutely loved Condemned, and I really wish more first-person combat was as satisfying. Kind of repetitive, and you didn't really do much investigation during the investigation parts, but still really enjoyable.
 
#9
Loved it. You so crazy, OP. In terms of atmosphere and feeling like you're in the shittiest parts of the shittiest city in the world, nothing has come close since. Also I did not care for C2 either.
 
#11
I absolutely loved Condemned, and I really wish more first-person combat was as satisfying. Kind of repetitive, and you didn't really do much investigation during the investigation parts, but still really enjoyable.
I think I would have liked the investigation stuff to have been more fleshed out. I liked that they didn't make me fiddle around with picking the right tools, but it was beyond anemic since it always boiled down to "focus the camera, click the right trigger."

Loved it. You so crazy, OP. In terms of atmosphere and feeling like you're in the shittiest parts of the shittiest city in the world, nothing has come close since. Also I did not care for C2 either.
I know, everyone seems to love the game, but it just did absolutely nothing for me.
The atmosphere was just constantly destroyed for me with bad AI, constant screaming/noises from enemies, and predictable attempts at scaring the player.


edit:
Also, every time I was on the main menu screen, all I could think of was "A Christmas Story."


 

Chuck

Still without luck
#12
I played this sometime last year at the beginning of this year and thought it was ok after I played it knowing it was a launch 360 game. I think the melee mechanics were kind of junky at times but still fun and the shooting was great, but I thought the atmosphere was kind of cool.

I didn't think it was super scary, but at the end when
the mannequins came to life
, that kind of freaked me out. Also, the end boss when you have to
rip off his lower jaw
was pretty gross. Still, some of the time dudes would surprise me and hit me with a pipe and then run away when I didn't see them at all and that made the game a little more intense, but not that much. The AI was pretty buggy.

All the forensic stuff was crap, and the writing and story in the game weren't good at all. I still want to play Condemned 2 just to see what they addressed.

I think it was ok for a launch game, but if it came out in the last 2 years it would definitely be garbage.

It was definitely the best 360 launch title...
No, that was Call of Duty 2.
 
#13
Meh, Condemned is one of my favorite horror games ever made. It's developed into an annual Halloween tradition for me.

It's possible that you simply waited too long to jump into a first-gen title. The "monster closet" mechanics and visuals are pretty archaic compared to what we're accustomed to in 2011.
 
#14
I didn't think it was super scary, but at the end when
the mannequins came to life
, that kind of freaked me out.
That really bummed me out that I ruined that for myself. The taser (which is another problem, since it can 1-hit kill lots of enemies or just make combat ridiculously easy) was something I liked to fire randomly at times, just messing around. The first not-dummy I came across, I just decided to shoot it for the heck of it, and I killed the guy. He hadn't moved or yelled or anything. I was pretty disappointed that I ruined a scare for myself, but what can you do?

It's possible that you simply waited too long to jump into a first-gen title. The "monster closet" mechanics and visuals are pretty archaic compared to what we're accustomed to in 2011.
See, I wonder that too, but I still get freaked out by stuff in the older Silent Hill games and Resi games. I'm waiting to cut my teeth on Amnesia to see if I've still got the creeps.
 

Semblance

shhh Graham I'm still compiling this Radiant map
#15
It's the real hobo killing simulator. I love Condemned.

Played it on the PC with superior graphics, frame rate and controls, though. Maybe that's why I enjoyed it so much.
I didn't even know there was a PC version. It runs fine on modern hardware and all that? No weird Win7 issues or anything?

Fuck, I'll have to buy it if everything's fine. I've wanted to replay Condemned for awhile now.
 

luka

Loves Robotech S1
#16
Condemned is to first person melee combat as FEAR is to first person gunplay. Which is to say, it is the fucking best. No coincidence that they're from the same developer on the same engine.

Come back Monolith, we miss you. :(

I didn't even know there was a PC version. It runs fine on modern hardware and all that? No weird Win7 issues or anything?

Fuck, I'll have to buy it if everything's fine. I've wanted to replay Condemned for awhile now.
It runs on the Jupiter EX engine, same as FEAR, so if that game runs on your machine, Condemned will run even better.
 

Imbarkus

As Sartre noted in his contemplation on Hell in No Exit, the true horror is other members.
#17
I didn't even know there was a PC version. It runs fine on modern hardware and all that? No weird Win7 issues or anything?

Fuck, I'll have to buy it if everything's fine. I've wanted to replay Condemned for awhile now.
Would not count on that.

Fuck OP and the haters. Game was great. It was the sequel that undid the series, and is also not available on Pc. My haiku reviews:

Condemned: Criminal Origins

Scary, dark, mean, rough:
The mystery eludes you.
Shadows unnerving!


Condemned 2: Bloodshot

Polish removes edge.
Oily terror then detours
On Dumb-Plot-Twist Lane.
 
#19
Still the only 'scary' game to scare me from beginning to end. I have many specific memories of being up too late, terrified and wondering what was around the corner. Or upstairs breaking the windows. *shudder*
 
#21
I just finish the first Condemned (PC version) which I brought in 2006.

The games is amazing (horror) journey overall.

I also brought Condemend 2 for my PS3 (in 2009) and i'm dying to start playing it.

Any info about Warner making Condemned 3?

I know the first two games was published by SEGA, but the IP belongs to Monotlith/Warner.
 
#24
I was tense the entire time playing this game. Same with the sequel. Not only did the jump scares get me every damn time but the atmosphere got to me. I can't even decide what level sacred the shit out of me more. I guess either the department store, house/basement, subway, or the final level.

Amnesia is still the scariest game I've ever played but the first Condemned is right behind it, followed by Condemned 2. I love both games and it sucks the sequel never came to PC.
 
#26
I was tense the entire time playing this game. Same with the sequel. Not only did the jump scares get me every damn time but the atmosphere got to me. I can't even decide what level sacred the shit out of me more. I guess either the department store, house/basement, subway, or the final level.

Amnesia is still the scariest game I've ever played but the first Condemned is right behind it, followed by Condemned 2. I love both games and it sucks the sequel never came to PC.
You're the first person I've ever seen to say they loved C2. The only thing I'm curious about seeing in that game is the bear scene.
 

Jive Turkey

Unconfirmed Member
#30
My biggest problem with the game was the ending exchange:

"We caught SKX and that's cool but what was with all that other crazy shit I saw?"

"Oh that was a cult."

"Huh."

Just sluff off 99% of the game's scenario.
 
#32
Condemned was one of my first games on the xbox and I thought it was pretty great. There were some flaws, but the atmosphere was intense and the overall game had charm. Considered to replay this lately.

Condemned 2 did some things better, for example the melee combat and investigation parts, but other than those, it was far worse. I think the bear scene is really stupid and I almost quit playing there and that's exactly where the gameplay starts to ruin the game after the good and promising first half. But that fight club mode someone mentioned earlier was indeed enjoyable.
 
#35
Any info about Warner making Condemned 3?
Sadly it will never happen. Condemned 2 just didn't sell enough copies.

It is sad that Condemned 2 got caught up in the 'everything needs multiplayer'. We could have really used the staff on multiplayer to make the single player campaign amazing.

There was come good ideas of where to take the game. I've always wanted to do a reboot and just play Condemned 2 off as a bad hangover and have Thomas closer to what he was in C1.

Even though this thread starts negative on the game, I love seeing that the game still has legs today and people consider it a favorite.

Just for fun, here is the bear from C2.
 
#36
Try the PC version, seriously. I played it on PC first, and horror games work well when you're that close to the monitor. Don't have to bother with clicking an analog stick to run, and obviously a better framerate.

The melee is pretty terrible, as the blocking system is rendered moot by the various fake-outs enemies have. I swear, they must have double or triple the fakeouts in comparison to the actual attacks. What's the point in trying to block something when the majority of your blocks don't matter? This resulted in me always taking the strongest weapon, as there's not a point in using block, outside of a few exceptions.
I'm sorry, but this just sounds like you're not good at the game. I've never had an enemy do more than 1 fakeout. Timing the parries are easy, not sure how you're getting issues with blocking. The combat does get predictable, but the parrying feels great and head-butting a hobo in the face is satisfying. It's not especially hard when you have the kick and taser, but it all feels great.

Also, this was the first FPS game where I found the enemies to feel like living entities who feel pain and have very human instincts and weaknesses.

If you want a game with the best First Person Melee though, try ZENO CLASH.


The game just wasn't scary.
This is an entirely subjective thing, so no point in arguing it. But what did you think of the Department store with the mannequins closing around you (that HL 2 Nightmare mod would later rip off)? I thought that was a genius piece of scripting. What about the locker scene?

On the note of gameplay (before I hit my final note on the last chapter), who on earth thought that mapping the run function to clicking the left stick was a good idea?
Have you been hiding under a cave this generation?! Since CoD, it's been the standard.
 
#38
Whether you liked it or not, it was the first horror game of this generation and in my opinion still the best (I have yet to play Amnesia).

I got this on launch day and by the time I got home it was 1am and I put this game in. It was pretty fucking scary..not just the "jump scares" but the tense atmosphere and especailly the physics being so well done that you could hear paint cans falling over where a bum had just walked past, adding even more to the tension.

Actually seeing the title makes me want to buy this on PC now.


Edit: I do have to admit it got repetitive and every time we went to a new location I was hoping for at least a few parts that weren't dark...just to mix it up. "We need to get to the library" Oh good, great idea! "unfortunately it's been abandoned since it's under fumigation and squatters are all over that place" Sigh.
 
#40
Edit: I do have to admit it got repetitive and every time we went to a new location I was hoping for at least a few parts that weren't dark...just to mix it up. "We need to get to the library" Oh good, great idea! "unfortunately it's been abandoned since it's under fumigation and squatters are all over that place" Sigh.
This was my complaint with the game: Play one level and you've played them all.
 
#41
OP couldn't be more wrong, and nice try at the pictures to try and make people laugh at your wacky opinion.

One of the best launch games ever, imo.

Like stated before, it's the sequel that's bad, except for the Bear.
 
#44
It's the real hobo killing simulator. I love Condemned.

Played it on the PC with superior graphics, frame rate and controls, though. Maybe that's why I enjoyed it so much.
QFT! I own both the 360 and PC versions. I loved this game. Also, Condemned 2 explains more of the story that hinted at in part one. However, I like the first one alot more.

The mall section scared the crap outta me.
 
#45
Man I love Condemned - even most of the second game is pretty good (until it turns into a first person shooter). Even it's Bioshock knockoff level is interesting.

It's also ruined me, as every time I see a piece of rebar anywhere I picture a chunk of concrete on the end and bashing a hobo in the face with it.
 
#48
Loved Condemned! The melee was great, the levels were super-creepy, and I was totally tense/scared a bunch of times. Overall I was very pleased.

Condemned 2 had some good parts and great environments but they messed it up. They changed the characters to make them look more Hollywood but that killed the gritty realism. The addition of arcade combo readouts completely took me out of the game and I couldn't find a way to turn them off. Then we got that ending and a story that just couldn't be finished.

The series had potential.
 
#50
Sadly it will never happen. Condemned 2 just didn't sell enough copies.

It is sad that Condemned 2 got caught up in the 'everything needs multiplayer'. We could have really used the staff on multiplayer to make the single player campaign amazing.

There was come good ideas of where to take the game. I've always wanted to do a reboot and just play Condemned 2 off as a bad hangover and have Thomas closer to what he was in C1.

Even though this thread starts negative on the game, I love seeing that the game still has legs today and people consider it a favorite.

Just for fun, here is the bear from C2.
I knew you had worked on the series Element so thanks again for that. Did you guys have any idea what was going to happen with Condemned 3, story or settings wise? The end of 2 was a big, "Shit has gotten real" conclusion.