The empowerment of arming the participant has at all times been considerably of a conundrum for the horror style.
Whereas essential to the participant’s survival, the inevitable firepower bestowed upon the participant might be detrimental to the rigorously crafted horror parts.
So, what occurs when the participant is stripped of that empowerment and trades of their gun for a lead pipe? Developer Monolith Productions wasted little time in establishing Condemned: Felony Origins defining tone, which holds up remarkably nicely 16 years after the sport’s launch. Channeling the aesthetic and brooding environment of iconic horror movies resembling David Fincher’s Seven, Condemned’s most distinctly distinctive function is its claustrophobia.
Very like the movies it emulates, the participant is dropped into an unforgiving and filth-covered world. Gamers tackle the function of FBI agent Ethan Thomas who finds himself framed for homicide by the very serial killer he’s looking. Making issues worse there’s a mysterious wave of violence plaguing Metro Metropolis, by some means tied to Ethan’s case.
Monolith Productions does a terrific job of immersing gamers into this uncomfortably suffocating world. Ethan’s fugitive standing forces him to undertake a “behind enemy traces” survivalist mentality that weaponizes his environment. Repurposing inconspicuous objects resembling 2×4’s, pipes, faculty desks, and even model arms into devices of loss of life turns into his DIY technique of survival. The inherently restricted vary of melee weapons makes fight an intimate affair as loss of life isn’t greater than an arm’s size away.
The result’s a brutally refreshing method to fight, as coming head to head along with your attackers provides a relentless, chilling spike of adrenaline. Whereas the melee mechanics are comparatively simplistic, the unpredictability of Condemned’s enemies permits it to keep away from overly devolving right into a senseless hack and slasher.
Crazed vagrants will feign accidents solely to lash out when Ethan closes in, weaponize their atmosphere, and retreat round corners to arrange ambushes. For Ethan to outlive, he should develop into that which hunts him.
And hunt him they may. Enemies will at occasions actually burst by way of drywall or ceiling panels of their hunt for Ethan. Emphasizing melee fight could, on the floor, seem to be a gimmick when actually, it sustains the sport’s horror aesthetic. The participant is in a relentless state of vulnerability, solely ever as secure as a well-timed block to counter an incoming swing of a pipe.
Periodically, Ethan will come across firearms although they’re typically something however dependable. Most weapons have lower than a handful of photographs or typically none in any respect. This lack of constant ammo provide provides one more layer of anxiety-inducing rigidity to fight, however extra importantly, ensures the participant by no means seems like a super-soldier.
Inversely, the unpredictable nature of firearms permits for moments of immense empowerment when the participant discovers a totally loaded one. This may rapidly alter the course of sticky fight conditions however comes at a value. These moments of firepower superiority, whereas briefly rewarding, reveal how important melee fight is to the core of the sport’s identification. Had there been extra emphasis on firearms, the persistent sense of being hunted could be misplaced. The restricted and unreliable nature of weapons permits the power of its visceral melee fight to shine.
There’s additionally the seemingly inconsequential mechanic of ammo administration. There is no such thing as a continuous ammo HUD show, and the participant should activate a brief animation to examine their ammo provide manually. This animation leaves the participant momentarily weak and makes the already hectic dance of fight that rather more so. There’s nothing fairly like studying the exhausting method that your shotgun is empty till an enemy is charging in direction of you. That is one more cinematic high quality that gives a extra grounded horror expertise.
The close-quarters nature of fight works in tandem with Condemned’s suffocatingly claustrophobic environments. Leaving Ethan with little room to retreat or cover, the environments actively push him to face his present risk. Whereas an deserted faculty and decrepit metro station aren’t probably the most authentic horror settings, the distinction is how Monolith Productions presents their imaginative and prescient.
The studio’s capability to inject nerve-wracking rigidity by way of delicate particulars, typically resulting from distinctive sound design, exemplifies these inventory horror settings. Whether or not it’s toes shuffling above the participant or an enemy screaming incoherently from afar, Condemned’s world is an inherently risky place.
Sadly, Ethan Thomas’ story would by no means see a correct conclusion. Regardless of receiving a sequel three years after its launch with Condemned 2: Bloodshot, its marketing campaign would finish on a cliffhanger. The sequel was additionally a distinctly totally different recreation by way of tone and gameplay focus. The main focus shifted from an engrossingly grounded genuine crime environment in favor of an overtly supernatural one and an elevated emphasis on firearms.
What Condemned 2 did finest uncovered what makes the unique such a timeless horror traditional. Condemned’s difficult participant empowerment and claustrophobic rigidity is interwoven into its basis, which permits the sport to carry up in addition to it does, 16 years later.