Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Condemned: Criminal Origins: First thoughts

This is the second of two games I got for the 360, and it's a great example of how strong graphics and gaming muscle alone don't make for a compelling gaming experience. Don't get me wrong: the graphics and sound are solid, rivaling those of current generation PC shooters, but the already repetitive gameplay and confined game environments (that I've encountered so far) keep it from being something special.

It's less about gunplay as your typical first-person shooter, and more centered around brutal, visceral melee combat. Wandering through the rundown, junk-ridden settings feels stereotypical and uninspired, but the game nevertheless builds some moments of strong tension due to the well-implemented audio and detailed graphics.

The experience of fighting the others in the game is disturbingly well done, but I did find myself getting into a groove, with each combat playing out very similarly to the last. I haven't played this much yet, so there probably are some twists and turns to come.

The 'forensic' portions of the game are only window-dressing so far, used as a way to advance the plot. There's no real thought involved with are told to pull out some tool, you do so by hitting the X button, then just move your view window around slightly to focus in on whatever glows brightly and send the evidence off to your research partner, who will then contact you via cellphone to advance the plot.

Overall, I'm still enjoying myself playing this, but it does show how next-gen audio and graphics do not suffice in making a great gameplay experience. I'll post more when done (or near done), and let you know if Condemned shows more varied moves later on in the game.

No comments: