Launching for the Xbox 360, Condemned was a unique title for Microsoft’s new console. The game followed FBI agent Ethan Thomas on the trail of a serial killer. What made the game stand out, besides the crime scene investigations, was the combat. First person brawling has been done before, but has rarely been done well or turned out enjoyable. Condemned was one of the few that managed to be well done and enjoyable to play.
By having the combat unfold in first person and in melee range, the fighting felt visceral and intimate. You weren’t detached by using a firearm to snipe hapless enemies from a distance. You were fighting tooth and nail for your life while wielding whatever weapons were found in your environment. You also were usually locked into combat with less than four enemies, further adding to the intimate feel of the brawling. Monolith really delivered something great with this one; just skip the sequel. It jumped the shark three times in a row and then circled back to eat the shark after it had finished its aerial acrobatics.