All Features


  PlayStation 3
  PlayStation 4
  Wii U
  Xbox 360
  Xbox One


Condemned: Criminal Origins

Score: 89%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Sega
Developer: Monolith
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: First Person Shooter/ Survival Horror

Graphics & Sound:

Condemned: Criminal Origins is one of the first ports from an Xbox 360 title, and the game seemed to translate fairly well.

Graphically, Condemned is just as dark and shadow-filled as the 360 version. Environments come off nicely with their dank and dirty walls and the flickering lights, and the game's environments really go a long way in lending to the game's jump-scare filled feel. Even the characteristic events that put the world into a washed-out black and white reality survive the transition to the PC.

One of the most memorable aspects of the Xbox 360 version is how often the game made me jump at my own shadow. I can't count the number of times I swung a pipe at something that was moving just off to the side, only to find it was my shadow on a wall. Unfortunately, I don't know if it was because I was on a smaller screen or if there was something different about the feel of the game, but I never really got the same effects in this version.

Sound wise, this game does pretty good. Voice-overs are, for the most part, solid and the low, but hard background music really helped to set the game's mood. But again, I don't know if it was something that happened when the game was ported to a PC, or just the difference in setups between my entertainment center and my PC, but the overall effect was slightly less than what I experienced on my TV.


Condemned: Criminal Origins puts you in control of FBI Special Agent Ethan Thomas as he searches for a sick serial killer that leaves bodies mutilated and posed next to manniquins. As Thomas and his fellow agents get closer to finding the killer, the city's crime rate grows out of control. All over, people are turning into lunatics with various melee weapons.

As you creep along the very dark hallways, you will have to keep an eye out because many times, crazy maniacs will come out of the shadows or side rooms wielding pipes, boards, hammers, axes, shovels, crowbars and even the occasional gun. Since guns and ammunition are rare in this game, the ability to not only pick up enemy weapons, but also tear off items to use as bats comes in handy.

Condemned also supports a host of handy-dandy and semi-automatic forensic equipment that the guys on "CSI" would love to have. There are times when you will have to follow a trail of chemicals, take pictures of evidence and monitor the presence of chemicals in the air. When you need to use these tools to progress in the story, then someone will call you on your phone and ask you to track down the evidence and magically send the data to them, but if you keep your ears and eyes open, there are tons of other places to use these forensic tools to help you find the various collectibles scattered throughout the game.

The 360 version had a huge number of achievements, everything from collecting the diseased birds to finding certain TV's unlocked Gamer Points, and though it doesn't net you any points, those achievements are still built into the game.


Condemned: Criminal Origins isn't the easiest game out there, by any means. Though you might be able to work your way out of the first few areas without any problems, once you get into the thick of the game, the difficulty will really ramp up. However, the game doesn't really have smart bad guys (for the most part). Typically the game just outnumbers you and with the deep shadows, it gets really tough to track the multiple crazies.

The best advice I can give is to choose a weapon that works the best for you. When you aren't forced to carry a specific weapon because you will need it to get through a door or other obstacle, find the pipe, board or tool that seemed to fit your fighting style the best. If you like slow but heavy hitters, keep an eye out for sledge hammers, but if you prefer fast weapons, then find an electrical pipe as soon as you get past the obstruction. In the end, a good combination of the tazer and your favorite melee weapon will get you far.

Game Mechanics:

Like most PC FPS' these days, Condemned: Criminal Origins uses the keyboard to its fullest. For the most part, every key has a function and every function has a key. Unfortunately I never have been a big fan of that methodology. In the end, the most important buttons are under your fingertips, but when I had to use some of the slightly less regular actions, like the crime investigation equipment, I always found myself fumbling all over the keys and/or looking up the information in the manual.

With the achievement system still intact and the fact that Windows Vista is already one of the listed OS' in the minimum system requirements, I have to wonder if this game is an early adopter of the Live Anywhere initiative that Microsoft announced recently at E3. If so, then once this new Live system is in place, you should be able to advance your achievement list whether you are on the 360 or the PC.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows XP/2000/Vista, Pentium 4 2.0 GHz Processor, 512 MB RAM, 128 MB Video Ram DirectX 9 Compatible Video Card, DirectX 9 compatible Sound Card, 8 GB Hard Drive space, DVD Drive

Test System:

Windows XP Professional Ed., AMD Athlon XP 2400+ 2GHz, 2 GB RAM, DVD-RW, Radeon 9800 Pro, DirectX 9.0c

Windows Shadowgrounds Microsoft Xbox 360 2006 FIFA World Cup

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated