Posted by SadExchange
Released on: 2/20/2007
Developed by: Realtime Worlds
Published by: Microsoft Game Studios

Don't be too hasty to brush off Crackdown as another GTA clown, it has a few perks of its own that make it shine.



Coming out on February 20th of 2007, and being accompanied by a guaranteed pass into the Halo 3 multiplayer beta, Crackdown, from the developers Realtime Worlds was released. Created by the same man who came up with the Grand Theft Auto series, Crackdown tries to lend certain elements from GTA's "sandbox" style of gameplay while also trying to separate itself from the mix.

If you're a person who's dependent upon a story to progress you through a game, you might want to stop reading and proceed to looking for a different game. That's not saying that Crackdown doesn't have a story, but the one that progresses you throughout the entire game is extremely loose and isn't one of the strong points of the game. The gist of the story is that the city has been taken over by three separate games and combat against these gangs, The Agency was formed and from that, a new brand of 'supercops' was created to fight back. These supercops are bio-engineered in the fact that your abilities such as Strength, Agility, Explosive Power, Driving, and Gun Power gain experience as you use them and complete certain tasks. If the story sounds kind of cliché, it's because it is and you don't really need to anything about the story to progress through the game. All you need to know is that there are three gangs spread throughout the game on different islands with seven different leaders in each. You're given the option of the order that you want to take them out, and how you want to take them out because from the start, the entire world is open to you to explore.

There are five different abilities to level up throughout the game and you can do this at your leisure whenever you want. You can go around killing all of the gang leaders first if you choose, but it will definitely be a little more difficult because of how weak you'll be, but again, in this sandbox game, it's your choice. Each ability levels up differently such as Strength is leveled up by taking out your enemies melee force and after building up this skill, you'll be able to pick up cars and throw them at your opponents among other things. Driving skill is increased by competing in different races across the map, jumping through stunt hoops with your vehicle, and also by mowing down your enemies while in a car. Once this stat is raised up, you'll be able to handle your vehicle better with more accurate turns while driving around on the streets or maneuvering through acrobats while taking your car off a jump. The Gun Power simply raises up in level by using your guns on different enemies and when this skill is built up, you'll be able to shoot more accurately at your opponents. The Explosive Power is built up by taking out your foes using grenades whether they're out walking about or in their car. When this ability is built up, the blast radius of your grenade will grow in size which can be quiet helpful taking out a group of gang members. The last ability is the only one that doesn't gain experience by just using it. To gain levels in your Agility skill, you need to complete roof top races across the many buildings and structures you'll see around the city. It can also be built up by collecting different green orbs that are scattered throughout the three different islands on top and around the roof tops of almost all of the buildings throughout the city. There are 500 of these orbs, so start collecting them when you can. There are also blue orbs which are more hidden throughout the different buildings and landscapes that will raise each of your skills a little bit with each one you collect. These can be very helpful, but also harder to find even though there are 300 scattered about. When you've completed leveled up all of your skills, the world is yours basically because you've become this massive gang killing machine that can take on hundreds of opponents at once and you'll simply enjoy completing all the tasks around the city with these perfected abilities.

Crackdown has a different look than most games that are being released on the Xbox 360 nowadays. It's cel-shaded and somehow, it works perfectly for Crackdown. Everything from the different characters to the many cars you'll be able to drive, everything has a cel-shaded aspect that seems to flow with the rest of the graphics in the game. One thing to also notice is that the game world is quite large and open from the start. You'll be able to go to any of the three islands and take out gang members from the three different gangs including Los Muertos, The Volk, and The Shai Gen. Each gang is on a different island of their own and while all the gangs may look differently, they're pretty much the same in the number of bosses you'll have to defeat, and how you'll go about defeating them. While it's nice to have the power of the Xbox 360 running the game and not have that many pop ups, it's always nice when you don't have to look at a loading screen to go to a new island. Animations of yourself and the NPCs around you look smooth and all of the terrain looks great whether you're driving around the streets or jumping from rooftop to rooftop. There's ever part of a city that you'd imagine, spread across the three cities including a marina, a car garage, night clubs, a coastal park, plus many other places you might not find in a regular city such as a refinery, these cities have it al because you'll appreciate the variety when searching for all of those blue and green orbs.

Sound within the game is decent enough. Throughout your gang killing sprees, you'll have an overhead voice, someone from the Agency you work for, giving you advice and some congratulations periodically and while these may be nice in essence, sometimes the voice tells you the wrong thing at the wrong time and it can get a little annoying. Such as, when you're in a small alley way, it'll tell you to look at that great view across the rooftops of the city. Simple little annoying things like that, but it doesn't take away from the overall gameplay too much. There are radio stations that you can listen to when driving around in the different cars, but they mostly consist of different techno tracks, so if you're into that style of music, you'll enjoy it, but if you're not a fan of techno music, you can always lower the volume of the music within the car without lowering the overall value of the entire game. The sound effects are definitely some of the greater components of sound. Explosions sound great whether you're blowing up cars or people and all of the different weapons sound spot on. When taking long jumps across the city landscape, sometimes you'll miss your step and fall to the streets below leaving an impact upon the pavement maybe a crunching sound which also sounds great. Screams of the dieing gang members will reverberate throughout the alleyways as you take out different bosses.

There is a multiplayer component which is nice to let you and a friend go online and take out the different gang members and while this doesn't seem like much, such as a difference from the singleplayer, it definitely can provide quite a bit of entertainment and havoc when you have two guys going to take out a single gang member. When you have two different guys throwing cars this way and that and just causing all out carnage, it just seems beautiful. The multiplayer isn't as seamless as most probably would like. If you're playing alone and someone joins your game, which you can either allow or deny their request, you're then kicked from your game to reload at the same spot you were when you were just kicked, with the progress you've made and all. What this means is that if you have someone join you and you only have one more boss to kill, then both of you together only have one more boss to kill. And one more thing about it, whenever the person that joined your game leaves, you're once again kicked out of the game and have to reload back into yours to keep playing. It just would have been a lot nicer if the developers would have made the whole multiplayer component of the game a little more seamless.

Overall, the game runs pretty smoothly and that's quite a lot to say when you see how much the physics engine has to work sometimes. If you'd like, you could pile over twenty cars up in the middle of a road and then throw a nice little grenade in between them and watch the explosive fireworks fly and this is where the game is truly beautiful because of how realistic the explosions pan out over all. With each car and person blowing sky high and then plummeting to the earth below to land awkwardly against the pavement of the road, you'll be finding that you'll be collecting everything you can to put in a pile to blow up. And only then, in these small experiences do the graphics engine bring the frame-rate of the game down a little bit, but it's truly nothing to squabble about when you see what's actually happening on screen.

A single play through of the game, depending on difficulty level, will probably take you from eight to twelve hours overall. And if you're searching for all of the blue and green orbs, you're definitely going o be adding more time onto that. A unique aspect about Crackdown is that even though you killed all of the bosses, you can still bring them back and take them out once again with being all leveled up, which can be quite different for the early boss battles. This can give the game some replay value overall in the way of creating new strategies for taking out the different gangs across the three islands. And many people, such as this reviewer, tend to spend quite a bit of time playing around with the great physics engine that accompanies this game.

Overall, Crackdown is an enjoyable game that you could play through by yourself or with a friend. With around ten hours of gameplay, three cities to wreak havoc through, three different gangs to take out and 800 hundred orbs to find throughout the cities at varying heights, this game has the ability to keep you busy for quite a while. There are some drawbacks such as the annoying voice of the announcer and the kick outs and reloading during some of the multiplayer online matches, but if you're just looking for a game to have some old fashion seamless fun, Crackdown is the game for you.

Replay Value8.00
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