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Crackdown Review - 02/21/09

Thu, 02/22/2007 - 15:32 — snahfu

So; as I stated in my last blog, I don’t do number ratings anymore but I will certainly give this a review of sorts.

Graphics – I love them. The frantic pacing of the combat in the game doesn’t always give you an opportunity to appreciate the ‘little things’ that are included in the game but during the odd lull in the action, you definitely do get a chance to poke around at things and see just how much detail has been included.  The graphics were clearly kept clean and uncluttered in order to facilitate the tremendous sense of depth and draw in that the game has. Take ten minutes in game, steal five cars, park them in an intersection, gather up some wooden crates and some propane tanks. Place a limpet mine in the middle of the concoction; move away from it and fix the camera view so you can watch it from a distance.

Blow the limpet and admire the fireworks. Individual pieces of debris are rendered with incredible detail to the point where you can pick them up and throw them at gang members.

You have the token lens flare and pretty ambient lighting and all in all, I feel like I’m looking at a next-generation game. Which is good. A year into the distribution cycle of a new console should involve the consumer being able to play games and look at games that look next-gen. What excites me most are future games that utilize the Crackdown engine. Realtime Worlds has developed something special and I hope they take advantage of the engine in a Crackdown sequel; and there are some rumors floating through the tubes of the internets that some other companies are already licensing the Crackdown engine.

I also dig the evolution of your agent regarding his appearance. Just yesterday, I discovered that my agent is now sporting two extra earrings and some crazy tribal tatts on his face. Not sure when it happened; maybe when I got to level three in fitness but the change in appearance was a nifty discovery.

Controls – They are definitely responsive but the “floaty” jump mechanics take a short moment to get used to. The camera can be a bit of a nuisance at times and I’m not necessarily a huge fan of the lock on targeting system. There doesn’t seem to be a way to cycle through possible targets so after a kill, you need to adjust the reticle and acquire a new lock on with the new target. It’s a small thing, but in combat as heated as you find in Crackdown, it can be a chore. It just doesn’t seem like they put as much effort into the controls as they did with everything else. The controls are the weakest part of the game in my opinion and taking a step back; they’re really not that bad. It’s just that compared to everything else involved with the game, the controls is the category where there is the most to gripe about.

Concept – Some people will dislike the wide open nature of the game, but for me; this is my new Oblivion. I find myself constantly distracted by some other rooftop I want to jump up to. Some bundle of steel pipes I want to throw over the edge of a roof into traffic and watch the pipes bounce and scatter around, damaging cars and people alike as vehicles careen left and right to avoid hitting each other.

< --- sighs happily

As much fun as it is to be a super agent dealing out fistfuls of justice from the end of the smoking barrels of your guns…being an agent of chaos is so fuckin’ rad. My nine month old baby is an agent of chaos. She sees something orderly and structured (like a book shelf) and she takes it upon herself to destroy such examples of order by emptying the aforementioned shelf.

Crackdown is MY bookshelf.

There is just so much cool stuff to do. So here I am, trying to snipe the gas tank of a Los Muertas car that is speeding down the street and I spaz out, lock onto an Agency cruiser instead and while trying to correct the lock on I pull down on the control stick and end up shooting out the right, rear tire of the Agency cruiser. The cruiser proceeds to fishtail, slides askew and then flips into the air and proceeds to cartwheel down the street and into a crowd of rubberneckers. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever witnessed in a videogame. Which led to me jumping up onto the steel girders hanging over a bridge and partaking in an orgy of tire-shooting goodness.

Then there’s the whole Le Parkour, roof jumping thing. I love the concept of Le Parkour. I’ve followed it for a few years and when I played City of Heroes I would spend hours in King’s Row just jumping from rooftop to rooftop, watching my cape fluttering and flowing with my movement and deciding whether or not I had the legs to make the next jump. The developers did an excellent job of planting agility orbs tantalizingly close enough so that you’re thinking… “Hmmm…If I jump up onto that church parapet, run along that ledge and give ‘er…I should be able to make that jump.”

Oh yeah…then there’s the actual story part of the game. Something about three gangs and taking out lieutenants in order to make the big boss of the gang weaker…blah blah blah.

The story I can take or leave, but what is really interesting is the flow of the game and how it changes depending on who you take down. My first lieutenant kill involved taking out the gang’s automobile “guy”. After taking him down there were significantly less of the bastards on the streets…in cars at any rate. It seemed they took offense to my style of delivering justice and I couldn’t swing a dead cat by the tail without hitting some ganger douche-bag that wanted a piece of yours truly. So…I went after their recruitment expert. After parking a cube van on her ass, the gang’s presence on the street took a dramatic decline…unfortunately they were now coming after me with sniper rifles and rocket launchers. There were other lieutenants I could have went after but I searched out their weapons dealer, swam in behind his base, climbed up a nearby lighthouse and jumped down on his head from above. Landing on him knocked him down and being the belligerent shit that I am, I gave him a kick in the gut for good measure while he was down. He may or may not have fell from he platform he was on, and the distance he fell may or may not have played a role in the fact that he may or may not have died when he hit the ground.

Ooops.

It did save the Agency on ammo bills though.

Taking out the lieutenants is a great deal of fun and it can be in a different order every time you play. How you play and who you take down changes the overall experience regarding how the other lieutenants go down.

Taking out the big boss for Los Muertas was cool. I made a circle of limpet grenades on the ground outside the building he was shooting from. Lured him out by standing in the middle of my pretty ring of death and when he got inside it with me….boom.

He died…I died…everyone died, but he doesn’t have cloning technology on his side.

I do, though. J

I haven’t even touched the Volk or the Shai Gen yet, but I plan on gettting reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeal creative with taking down the lieutenants.

I also haven’t spoken about the character advancement yet. Without getting into it too deeply, how you kill the gangers is what you get better at. Simple as that. I have kicked a guy and knocked him down, only to follow up with a shotgun blast and upon his death, out pours strength and firearm orbs in combination to improve my strength skill for kicking and my firearms skill for shooting.

Doing particular tasks like rooftop races and driving races improves particular skills and sniping guys from way way on high not only improves your firearm skill but your agility as well.

Your agent can different each time you start a new campaign. In the end I think everyone will have an agent with their skills max’d but how you go about doing it can be wildly different from another person.

Summary -If it seems like I’m gushing it’s because I AM gushing. This game is fun. This game is a treasure that the mediocre majority type of gamer simply isn’t capable of appreciating. They might think it’s fun, but they really can’t begin to understand how fun this game is.

A high point to this game is that I might actually FINISH this game. My pile of shame just seems to grow higher and higher as I get older and I never seem to find the time to go back to a game and finish it once and for all.

I KNOW I will finish Crackdown and more importantly after I finish it, I’ll be playing it again with a partner online AND playing it more by myself taking a different route with a different agent, working on different skillsets as I take down the lieutenants in a different order than I did previously.

I don’t use numbers for reviews anymore, nor will I flat out tell someone to buy this game unless I have an excellent handle on what type of gamer they are. I’m a player of games and a collector of games. I like to own “watershed” games. Games that impact the industry in one way or another. I also like to own games that are art. Crackdown happens to be both.

Comments
VagrantDead's picture

I have to say I'm 100% in love with this game too. Great review!
snahfu's picture

Thanks for the feedback lady and gent. :) I'm always willing to spread my own form of propaganda regarding works of art.
blastchickbaby's picture

Wow, great review, thanks! Really gives me a feel of what the game is like. I knew I was going to get this game, but now I REALLY want to get it. I am a big fan of open ended games and enviornments, so this sounds right up my alley. I wasn't in a huge hurry before, as I have no interest in the Halo 3 beta, but now I might be making accomadations to pick it up this weekend as opposed to next. So, I thank you. Although my wallet doesn't ;)
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