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Condemned: Criminal Origins Review

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Condemned Criminal Origins premiers as a console exclusive on the Xbox 360 – it later came to PC – in late 2005 (launch window), but represents a striking change for video games.  Sure, titles like Grand Theft Auto III and Manhunt were garnering attention for brutality, but those were still third person perspective titles that lacked true realism for the average player.  On the other hand Condemned is first person, the weapons are almost solely melee, the audio is in surround sound, and the vibration in the controller combined by the jarring view on screen when you get hit makes the whole experience realistic.  While violence-hating senators and parental groups hardly took notice, looking back it’s a visceral simulation of the brutality of those darker recesses of society we pretend doesn’t exist.

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Written by jamalais

November 3, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Extra Credit: Condemned Criminal Origins Game Club

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What was originally supposed to be this week’s episode because Fred wasn’t going to make the live show, is now faithfully back to a game club.  That’s why this show seems to start suddenly, because there was a pre-show explaining the circumstance that no longer exists.  Either way, Fred and Jam tackle Sega and Monolith’s launch window 360 title about fighting bums, investigating crimes, and going insane.

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Written by Fred Rojas

November 3, 2015 at 11:00 am

Ongoing Series: Condemned Criminal Origins

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For the October game club we are playing through Condemned: Criminal Origins.  A first person melee horror game from 2005, this was a surprisingly good Xbox 360 launch window title.  For those that can’t seem to get through horror games, we are providing the entire campaign in parts here with no commentary (up to 1080p as well).  This is an ongoing series and this post will update as each video goes live.

Written by Fred Rojas

October 14, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Review: F.E.A.R.

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fear_boxFirst Encounter Assault Recon (F.E.A.R. from now on) tries to be multiple things at once – a first person shooter (FPS) with a gimmick, a horror title, and a technology showpiece – and does a competent job, which is probably why some have claimed it’s the best FPS of all time.  F.E.A.R. is far from the greatest FPS of all time, but it is a blast to play (especially in the dark) and combines that helplessness of being outnumbered and the rush of taking on those odds without so much as a scratch to show for it.  The horror elements are more of a thematic tone for the minutiae, but the proper use of shadows, lighting, and occasional jump scares do help to justify it all.  That and the two main antagonists, Paxton Fettel and Alma, do  a fantastic job of creeping you out and making you dread the eventual encounter with either or both of them.  Visually, especially on the PC, this title can go up against a decent number of today’s shooters and impress, so naturally it was a showpiece when it premiered in 2005.  Put it all together and you get a game that shouldn’t be ignored.

The F.E.A.R. team is a fictional spec ops group that works in tandem with Delta Force – a real military group – to handle special situations like the ones faced in the game.  You play as Point Man (who’s name is withheld), the leader of F.E.A.R., which is most likely not a long lasting career because you are tasked with leading the assault along with cohorts Spen and Jin.  A terrorist named Paxton Fettel has broken into a tech company named Armacham Technology Corporation (ATC in the game) and taken control of the genetically engineered super soldiers they were developing.  As you progress through the game there are several encounters with Fettel that include his psychic abilities, apparent links with you, and his cannibalistic nature that also happens to consume the victim’s memories.  Not only that, but a little girl named Alma appears to be roaming about the facility and her powers can cause…quite a mess.  While there is a creepy supernatural story that unfolds as you progress through F.E.A.R., the brunt of the game’s overstretched 10-12 hour campaign will be corridor shooting and kill box ambushes against unfair odds to progress through what is quite possibly the largest building I’ve ever seen.  To its credit the writing is good and distributes just enough information in an easily digestible and upfront fashion that when the twist hits at the end and the subsequent roller coaster of the epilogue, you know exactly what’s going on and why it’s significant.  Also stay tuned after the credits for a bit more back story.

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Written by Fred Rojas

October 6, 2014 at 11:00 am