And now I’ve finished the last of my 360 launch titles, after wrapping up Condemned yesterday afternoon. In the sense of finishing the game, that is, not actually unlocking every little thing. (Though I find myself surprisingly tempted, as it implies the unlocking of substantially more main character backstory.) In any case, assume the prettiness of the thing, as I have pretty much concluded that all HD games will be extra-pretty for the near future, and it’s only worth commenting upon if it’s unusually bad. Poor Bill Gates, how quickly I have acclimated to your 720 or 1080 line utopia. (I should point out that sometimes the people were a little blocky. Not that this is bad; I guess I’m just used to video game people being slender rather than built like wrestlers, so it was noteworthy.)
So, the game then. Really, really cool. The play was nervewracking, because sometimes the homeless people were hard to beat up, and just shooting them in the face was limited by a lack of guns laying around in the abandoned train tunnels and the abandoned department stores and the abandoned schools and the abandoned apple orchards. So, yeah, lots of the urban dystopia motif, but it fits when the purpose of the game is hunting down serial killers. They tend to hide, when they’re the ones from TV rather than the ones in real life. Plus, all the crazy homeless people would be harder to explain in a regular shopping mall. Next good thing about the game: the further in it got, the more surreal it got, and I’m all about the surreal horror. Sure, Resident Evil coasted on zombies for a good long while, but RE4 (which I’ve never finished, and don’t think that isn’t a nearish-future concern) and the Silent Hill games have that little extra oomph over just shooting at bad guys, because you really want to know what’s truly going on, just that much more.
Unfortunately for that class of game, the big reveal at the end can fall short of expectations, as it did here. Nowhere near enough to make the game look bad as a result, but I was really hoping for something more. (Particularly egregious: the decision that closed out the game had no actual bearing on the ending, it just unlocked two different ending point scenarios and bonus cinematics and such. Lame.) That said, the investigative CSI part of the game was pretty cool, and I’d probably play another such game, as long as it was more dead birds and crazy homeless people and less actual like the TV show CSI as the backdrop for all the investigatin’.