Condemned: Criminal Origins

Good
  • Good blend of mechanics across horror, action and stealth with an enjoyable story to match
  • Crime scene investigation tools allow you to leverage things like UV light to solve cases
Bad
  • Novelty dies off mid game where some of the crime scene mechanics are used in similar ways across multiple investigations
8

Condemned: Criminal Origins is a horror video game for your Xbox 360 and PC that also blends in some detective game mechanics into the experience. Delivering a strong horror atmosphere Condemned: Criminal Origins has received strong praise from genre fans for bringing fresh perspective and ideas into what was a stale genre at the time of release.

Condemned: Criminal Origins takes place in a fictional city and puts you in the shoes of Ethan Thomas, a crime scene expert working for the FBI who gets framed for a series of murders in the city. In order to clear your name and capture the real culprit of these crimes you’ll have to adventure around the city visiting various buildings and crime scenes to collect the clues and piece them all together to save yourself.

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The killer you chase in your Condemned: Criminal Origins adventure is known only as “Serial Killer X” and after framing you for a murder at the beginning of the game goes around killing other serial killers in the same manner that they had previously used on their victims to help pin the new murders squarely on the player.  During your adventure you will also encounter some people driven mad by a strange force which requires you to defend yourself against these attackers which provides some additional horror themes to your mystery solving adventure.

In order to help you solve the mysteries you’ll have a number of handy detective tools at your disposal and your trusty partner Rosa who stays in contact with you through your phone from headquarters and is focused on helping you clear your own name.

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Meanwhile tools include investigation utilities like the camera, GPS and UV light which in combination can help you to capture evidence and move the story along with careful investigation skill. These mechanics work alongside the exploration and combat elements giving players the necessary crime scene tools to collect evidence of various crimes and solve them with realistic forensic gameplay with some puzzle solving from the player.

All of this Condemned: Criminal Origins adventure is offered through a first person perspective and while there is some limited access to firearms and ammunition it is clear that the investigation mechanics above are the primary focus. When combat is required Condemned: Criminal Origins tends to favour the stealthy route to dispatching enemies or using improvised melee weapons from the environment rather than running and gunning down everyone in sight. These melee weapons also can interact with the environment to pry open doors or smash open locked boxes serving as entry tools.

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When all these mechanics come together across the Condemned: Criminal Origins storyline you’ll find yourself smack in the middle of an intriguing story of mystery, stealth, combat, clue gathering and scares as you slowly unravel the evidence to find the true serial killer.

Summary:

  • Blends horror and detective work into a single first person adventure to clear your own name and capture the real killer.
  • Limited range of weapons pushes you towards stealth based gameplay.
  • Use a range of forensic tools like cameras and special lighting to collect evidence.
  • Hide in the shadows and use stealth to your advantage rather than direct combat.
  • Originally launched on Xbox 360 with a later Windows release.

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Review Platform: PC

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Written by
Samuel Franklin
Samuel Franklin is the founder and lead editor of the Games Finder team and enjoys video games across all genres and platforms. He has worked in the gaming industry since 2008 amassing over 3 million views on YouTube and 10 million article views on HubPages.

Games Finder is a Steam Curator and featured in the aggregate review scores data of MobyGames and Neoseeker.
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