Condemned: Criminal Origins Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 91 Ratings

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  • Summary: Developed by Monolith Productions for the Xbox 360, Condemned: Criminal Origins allows players to experience a heightened level of psychological tension as they use their instincts, forensic tools, and melee combat to track serial killers and bring them to justice. Gamers will play as Agent Thomas, an investigator in the FBI’s Serial Crimes Unit (SCU), whose pursuit of relentless serial killers leads him through urban environments filled with sociopaths lurking on the periphery of humanity. Weapons and ammunition are scarce, leaving the player vulnerable to a gallery of mentally deranged criminals. Careful detective work and precision reflexes are a player’s primary means of survival. [Sega] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. Its brutal, in-your-face action will make you cringe, while the creepy atmosphere will have your heart fluttering as you wonder what's around that next corner. Even the hardened veterans of the world's best horror games will find this to be a fine addition to their collection.
  2. 85
    Condemned: Criminal Origins isn't a long game and it only has one game mode, but it's an unforgettable experience while it lasts.
  3. Condemned: Criminal Origins combines a visceral atmosphere; both auditorily and visually, that really does a bang-up job of immersing you into the world of Ethan Thomas. However, this is not the easiest game to pick up and just play on a Sunday afternoon.
  4. 80
    Survival horror has simply never looked this good.
  5. It may feel somewhat underdeveloped, but it is an intriguing experience. [May 2006, p.90]
  6. 70
    Condemned is intense, but it's more of an elaborate tech demo or proof of concept than a truly fleshed-out game.
  7. It's still over too quickly, and there's little explanation why you're running around these ruined buildings beating up drug addicts. [Sept. 2006, p.76]

See all 24 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 14
  2. Negative: 4 out of 14
  1. LeeWolfgang
    Oct 2, 2008
    I have no damn clue why F.E.A.R. gets all this love from so many people when there's this awesome game to be proud of. Condemned: Criminal Origins, is the scariest game anyone will ever play. Unlike in any other horror game, you actually have to fight for your life instead of experience second-long hallucinations of random dead things. It's not actually scary to me, but that's just because I'm kind of stone-nerved.
    Many people say there isn't much story involved. There's a huge story involved, really. It's just at the end then it gets weird. In the loading screens, it gave a description of why people were brain hemorrhaging and become mentally ill. But then at the end you fight a ninja with metal pegs in his body and then the killing stops. That's the only really pointless thing about the story.
    Regardless of whether or not someone thinks of the story, the realistic gameplay, great sound, and effects make up for that and the fact that it's based on that abysmal Lithtech engine.
    The hallucinations the player experiences are done really well and show how he is undergoing brain hemorrhaging as well and is able to fight it off, though it takes over in some places to hype you up.
    It suffers some plot holes (I'll let you use my flashlight while yours is broken and walk around in the dark, Agent Thomas), but they're few and far between.
    The best implementation in this game, though, is that it's almost entirely based on melee combat. And that's done very well.
    The texturing is kind of low-resolution but the excellent effects and everything else make up for it. It's kind of slow, hence it's on an awful engine (though it's thoroughly improved), but everything is realistic as can be expected from a console launch title port.
  2. Dec 23, 2013
    the mannequin level... i remember beating this game twice and it still gave me the creeps.

    game seems slow, unresponding and somewhat
    lacking coherence but the atmosphere it has... except silent hill 2 and 3, this maybe the only game that really had me on the edge without resorting to cheap scare tactics like todays most of the "horror games" such as slender man, amnesia etc etc.. Expand
  3. TiagoM.
    May 27, 2006
    . It´s violent in a way that no other game was before.Dark raw and evil-scared me a lot. And the sound it makes when your head gets beated by a pipe is amazing and extremely real. The use of soft shadows is very good. FLAW: more questions than answers at the ending. Expand
  4. Nov 14, 2013
    Got the PC version recently, remember playing this on 360 a fair few years ago and though it was alright. Games not aged really that well and hasn't the magic of classic. Sluggish movement vs crappy melee fights, set to the back drop of something out of the X-files, its just a bit meh now. Expand
  5. Dec 18, 2012
    Damn it. Just when I thought I was playing an actual honest-to-goodness "survival horror" game that didn't involves zombies or mutants, CCO turns into a monotonous, limited FPS. It's creepy as all hell with its genuine look and feel. It has an engaging story with some good voice-over work. The idea of using items around you as weapons also stands out along with a few firearms here and there. The detective tools are interesting and are used to further the story. Saves are automatic as well as manual. But with all that it still fails t be a realistic and consistent game. The engine suffers from a lack of direction. The player moves well but can't engage all items that are in his perspective - only ones that are pertinent to the storyline and "collectables" giving the gameplay a linear feeling. The player, according to the story, has physical attributes that are stronger and more resilient than normal humans yet suffer the same damage from one weapon that another stronger one. He also doesn't stay in shape since sprinting a few yards causes him to spend his energy quickly. There are no upgrades whatsoever for the player. There are areas that can't be accessed since the character can't duck/crouch nor can he climb anything since he can't jump. There are only two methods of attack: use and kick. The use function uses the weapon in hand. The kick is just that: a kick. Well, it's a kick that looks more like a third arm coming out of his bellybutton. There are what I call "finishing" moves like punch, ram and slam but why aren't these available before the finish? The weapons are a whole other story. The melee weapons are in clear view and can be picked up. Well, most of the time. Some are part of the environment like pipes mostly but can't be picked up. Firearms are another hassle. You pick up a weapon use up the ammo then can be used as a melee weapon, Fine, but why does a piece of metal break? Worse yet, if you walk over another of the same weapon you can't take the ammo from it. It's frustrating that you can not add ammunition to the weapon you're carrying. Back to what's around: The player can't pick up any items in the way but can be kicked aside awkwardly. There is very little player interaction with the environment and it limits the immersion of the reality. Another drawback is that areas that you just walked out of are cut off by closed doors for no reason. Lastly, cut scenes cannot be forwarded or cut so that's yet another annoyance. It's a damn shame that this could've been an excellent title. It could've been a true original experience with grit and grime but it suffers from lazy programming and narrow-minded common gameplay. What a waste... Expand
  6. asasasasdfxdvxvd
    Dec 16, 2008
    Just like F.E.A.R the novelty of this game wears off really fast, except it's even more confusing than F.E.A.R ever was. For 3/4s of the game I couldn't understand what was wrong with the entire town. Why where they all beating each other to a pulp? Unfortunately instead of having somebody asking in the beginning of the game "what's wrong with everybody" or someone saying "there's unexplainable surge of violence amongst the civilian population in this area," they leave any such dialogue towards the end of the game. This makes it seem that such violence is completely normal, as none of the characters even mention it, with all dialogue focusing on catching a serial killer instead expressing concern for a town which literally seems to be ripping itself apart.

    The main character is extremely cliche - the old story about a cop who has been framed for murders he never committed. This barely serves any purpose in the game, as you very rarely encounter police officers, and when you do they're more focusing on riot control than capturing you. Otherwise you're investigating crime scenes just as you would be if you were still on the force.

    While its a struggle for the protagonist to get from area to area, other characters get around relatively easily rarely facing danger when they meet you in the streets just before or after you've just smashed some addicts heads in with a sledgehammer.

    The 'one weapon system' is interesting, but stupid. Why is it so difficult for the protagonist to put a pistol in his belt so that he can use it when he needs it? And how does his forensic equipment survive the many beatings that Agent Ethan Thomas receives.

    Then there's all those stupid dead birds that you can collect around the different levels. It's seriously arcadey and ruins any atmosphere when you're using your forensic equipment to locate these tokens.

    Overall this game is very repetetive and the locations dead boring. It's looks very much like the game designers ripped off the levels from F.E.A.R, and replaced gun fights with melee fighting. It looks like alot of Condemned's potential was realized in its sequel, which unfortunately is unavaible to PC.
  7. Feb 2, 2014
    The biggest problem i had was the stiff gameplay. Like seriously Monolith you produce an masterpieces like F.E.A.R and Blood and after them this? This could have been an better game but the slow and broken movement simply robs the rating. And im quite sure it wasnt the same engine they used in F:E.A.R... Expand

See all 14 User Reviews