Investigation Notes from a Video Game Nerd

The upcoming release of highly anticipated game L.A. Noire and the release of the anthology have crime thriller and gaming fans at the edge of their seats (sofas?), but we should not forget about the valiant trendsetters from before. Let us tip our fedoras to. . .

Hard Rain release poster1. Hard Rain (PS3) is an interactive fiction game designed with a film noir aesthetic. The plot revolves around solving the case of the Origami Killer, who drowns his victims with rain. There are four playable characters: a troubled architect whose son is in danger of becoming the Origami Killer’s next victim, an insomniac photojournalist, a retired police officer working as a P.I. on the case, or a FBI profiler supporting the investigation. The game won IGN and GameSpy’s ‘Best PS3 Game of 2010’ award. Here's the game release trailer if you are interested.

Screenshots from Condemned: Criminal Origins Video Game2. Condemned: Criminal Origins (Xbox360, PS3) allows the player to use a range of forensic tools to record evidence from crime scenes. It takes place in fictional “Metro City” where members of the populations are becoming increasingly psychotic and aggressive. The playable character, a Serial Crime Unit investigator, is linked to a forensics investigator at headquarters who analyzes collected data. The graphics and gameplay are inspired by psychological thrillers such as Silence of the Lambs and Seven.

Condemned: Bloodshot is a sequel that takes place 11 months later, continuing the storyline of its predecessor. 

These games may not have the cutting-edge facial recognition technology of L.A. Noire but they are well-written, well-designed, and best of all, they will keep your fingers and synapses nimble.


  1. L. Kingston

    wonder if they will ever come out with a crime solving game for Wii.

  2. Chad Eagleton

    I never played Condemned, but I did play Heavy Rain. The controls were sometimes a little awkward, but Heavy Rain was a great game with excellent graphics, a great story, memorable characters and lots of replay value.

  3. Cathy Zhu Chen

    @Chad. I’ve played the first Condemned game and the melee and shooting were [u]a lot[/u] more violent than Heavy Rain. They were really gunning for the suspense and horror. I felt that the gameplay for HR is really smooth (and I agree the controls are not always intuitive.)

    @L. Kingston. I do think it would be cool to incorporate motion detection for PS3 Move and Xbox Kinect into this genre of games. I would like a more interactive forensics experience!

  4. Ho-Ling Wong

    Detective Conan (Case Closed) – The Mirapolis Investigation is as far as I know the only crime-solving game on the Nintendo Wii released in the EU, but even as a big, big Detective Conan fan I can’t but admit that it’s a horrible game.

    I enjoyed Heavy Rain as a story, not as much as a game. I didn’t feel ‘immersed’ in the world, rather than just annoyed with the things I had to do to progress in the game. And I love Shenmue (2) as a game, even if you have to work for an income half of the time =_=

    On the noir-ish side of games, I enjoyed the PC classic Discworld Noir, which as the title suggest, is a noir adventure game set in Discworld. It had a clever story as well as interesting game mechanics for the time.

  5. Clare 2e

    I am a Huge Terry Pratchett fan, but didn’t play Discworld Noir before the OS timed out on me : (

  6. Cathy Zhu Chen

    @Ho-Ling. I never played Shenmue 2 and it looks awesome. It’s like a wholesome alternative to the Yakuza games (released as Ryu ga Gotoku in Japan). However, you don’t have to have a legitimate job in Yakuza :}

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