What’s more, there’s some really silly find-key-to-open-door stuff here. Why can you only open a door with a fire-axe when it’s surrounded by a collapsing stud partition and you have a sledgehammer? Why do fallen shelving units pose such an impenetrable barrier? Even the plot has its dodgy moments. The whole frame-up premise seems woefully thin, and subsequent developments don’t always inspire credulity.
And one final moan: lasting value. Your forty quid is only going to net you around ten hours of gameplay, and while there are Capcom-style collectibles (dead birds and metal pieces) you would have to be a peculiarly committed person to trudge around the whole game looking for them. In other words, Condemned practically screams “rent me” rather than “buy me.”
In which case you really should listen, trot down to your local Blockbuster and grab the game, just because the whole experience is so grim, so disturbing and – above all else – so different that, if you are lucky enough to have an Xbox 360, you need to give it a whirl. In some senses, Maybe Condemned is a missed opportunity, but at least Monolith took steps to create something unique. In a perfect world, this would be the pilot episode and we’d now be looking forward to new, less-expensive, downloadable instalments. In our world, however, this is a great game to borrow, not to own.
A fiendishly creepy experience, but only a partially satisfying game. You ought to play it, but £40 is a lot for the privilege.