The Melee Combat is something that makes condemned criminally fun. It takes a unique twist on the FPS genre focusing primarily on melee combat. It does it so well that you never want to stop beating things with 2x4's you pull off walls. Which is rare in comparison to other FPS games' melee weapons. They're usually an afterthought that's used fleetingly after you run out of bullets and are busy trying to get away from your enemies for long enough to find a new gun.
Condemned is completely different to this. If you find a gun, chances are you won't want to use it because you'll be so into the melee combat you won't want to fill someone full of hot lead. Plus there's the added handicap that no gun in the game comes with more than about 6 bullets. Enemies with guns can easily be disarmed by hiding and making them waste their bullets on you, making them flip the gun around and use it as a melee weapon too! It's a great system that works well. Personally, I couldn't get enough of it and was disappointed whenever I came across an enemy with a gun.
The Storyline is gripping. Very gripping. Lemme give you a brief summary. You play the role of Ethan Thomas. An FBI agent with the SCU [Serial Crimes Unit] You're called out to a murder at the beginning of the game and what ensues see's 2 of your partners shot by the killer, with your gun. The killer flees the scene and you're left looking very guilty. The game follows Ethan's escapades as he runs from the FBI, through a city populated by druggies and freaks.
There's something more sinister at play in this city though. A kind of further Evil that Ethan has a 6th sense for. Then there's Mr. VanHorn. You meet Leeland after you get away from the killer at the start and he knows a disturbing amount about a lot of things. Does he know more than he's letting on...? Only one way to find out!
The Atmosphere in Condemned is unrivaled. It's dark, gritty, eerie, frightening. All those wonderful things. Immersion is a wonderful thing in a game, and sitting playing Condemned makes you feel like it's actually YOU chasing down Serial Killer X. Feels like it's YOU that's holding a pipe and waiting to cave in someone's head with it. I've never played a game that has such an involving atmosphere. It's absolutely perfectly done. Every dripping pipe and every creaking door just heightens your sense of awareness, bringing it all crashing down again every time a freak jumps out screaming with a pipe, running in your direction. Top marks for Atmosphere. It's one of Condemned's defining attributes.
There's not much actually wrong with Condemned. The only things I can really think of are trivial. I just don't want to come off as trying to make this game sound more than it's worth. Sure, the game is under-appreciated, but it's by no means perfect.
The graphics in Condemned are pretty. There's a lot of nice Lighting and Depth of Field effects. And I know I'm looking retrospectively at the game, considering it was one of the first games out for the 360. The graphics are good, but not quite up to par for today's standards, which as I say, is understandable considering the game is starting to show it's age these days.
.Fiddly Door Quests
Ok this is the only thing that was pretty annoying about the game. Ever now n' then you'll get a door that's locked. Of course, keys don't factor in condemned. Sledgehammers however, do factor. There are 'entry weapons' in the game. The Shovel, The Crowbar, The Fireaxe and The Sledgehammer. You're sent to go fetch one of them every time you come across a locked door which gets pretty tedious. The guy has feet. Why can't he kick the door down? A fireaxe is cool n' all, but don't send us to get one every time you come across a locked door.
Condemned is an amazing game in my opinion. Definitely a must-have if you like horror games at all. Intuitive controls and a more gripping atmosphere and storyline that I've ever played in a game before. Only one thing left to do. GO BUY IT!