Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Crackdown (X360) Review

As the countdown until review #100 continues, I have my first Xbox 360 review from early 2006 for the superhuman sandbox title, Crackdown. Tomorrow I will be posting the first of the two or three lowest scoring games of my current catalog of game reviews. Please look forward to that as well.


Short but sweet.

user posted image

From the creator of GTA, Crackdown starts you off as a no-name agent under an authoritative branch of Pacific City known only as The Agency. It is here where you are immediately put into the fray and let loose into this beautifully-crafted world. The aim of being set loose into Pacific City is to go after the leaders and generals of each gang holding a grip onto each island of the city. That's pretty much it for the story. Nonetheless, these gangs are Los Muertos, The Volk, and Shai-Gen, and each gang has several leaders all working under one general. Players can take on the general, or boss, immediately from the start. However, only by defeating gang leaders will chances of victory against the gang general increase. By taking on a general from the word go, players will find themselves facing off overpowered soldiers, superior firepower, and overwhelming odds. Hence, killing off the gang leaders is recommended.

user posted image
What can I say? I'll do anything for a close-up.

You start off with limited abilities, weak strength, slow agility, mediocre driving skill, and less than stellar weapons and firepower. As you use a certain skill regularly, your experience for that skill will increase. Powering up agility by seeking out agility orbs, completing rooftop races, and killing foes from high altitudes will allow you to jump higher. Running over bad guys with a vehicle and finishing races around the city will raise your driving skill. Leveling up your explosive ability will increase the blast radius of your grenades, rockets, and any other explosives. Additionally, taking out enemies with your fists will level up your throwing capacity-- what you can and how far you can throw. Finally, murdering gang members with your firearms will upgrade them to more effectively kill targets. This RPG element rises replay value severalfold.

user posted image
Say hello to my little-- wait. You've heard that line before already ad nauseum, haven't you?

The sandbox-style gameplay allows the player a plethora of ways to tackle an objective. Countless times I thought of ways to approach a gang leader. Maybe I should take the cliffs instead of going guns blazing down the middle, or perhaps I should take rockets right down their throats? The possibilities are numerous. Los Muertos, Volk, and Shai-Gen gangs can be taken on in any order and at the player's discretion. The world is large, but by no means Oblivion or even Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas-scale. However, you're given more freedom to scale obstacles unlike the two aforementioned titles. If you can see it, you can probably climb it. The pleasure of leaping from rooftop to rooftop is something reminiscent of Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. It's just a lot of fun. Driving around is a little frustrating at first, but once my skill level improved I was careening around corners with little problem. The only problem I found with the gameplay was unlike most sandbox titles, this one could be finished rather quickly.

user posted image
My version of valet parking. Enjoy.

Graphically, the game has an eye-catching style. It's cel-shaded. The cars, the denizens, the weapons-- all cel-shaded. This is a nice touch by the developers to capture a cartoon, comic book-ish style. The draw distance is impressive as well. Being on top of a building you can essentially view all of Pacific City in its crime-drenched glory. Audio-wise, the game is pretty mediocre. Explosions and sound effects are pleasant, but the music whilst driving is nothing notable and was more yawn-inducing than anything. Voicework was limited to the fellow in charge of briefing you of missions. Nothing impressive, but nothing horrible either. Gang members after you surely like to say "Time to die." or "You're gonna die" in different voices. Silly how they're all in the same gang and are all saying the same thing in different voices.

One of the greatest items of interest for 360 owners are achievements. This game has a lot of them, too. There's 900 points total with the final 100 coming through a future download. The imagination of some of these rival Dead Rising's: tossing an object or person a long distance, keeping a body in the air for a set period of time, and pulling some cool car stunts are some examples. However, some such as finding needles in haystacks like the hidden orbs, and to some extent the agility orbs, are a hassle that some gamers might just shrug off acquiring.

Overall, Crackdown is a very enjoyable experience, but at the same time is not for everyone. Those looking for a world as interactive as San Andreas or wanting a deep story need not apply. However, those wanting mindless combat and fun, GTA-inspired gameplay, and an interesting city to explore should at least check the game out.

[SuperPhillip Says]

Story: What there is isn't very notable. Don't play Crackdown for the story.

Graphics: Solid cel-shading creating a stylized feel. Draw-distance is incredible at all times.

Gameplay: Combat isn't deep by any means, but the RPG element of leveling up abilities is a nice touch.

Audio: The man who briefs you will be your new friend. You'll listen to him talk a lot. The music is pretty poor and not towards my own tastes.

Replay Value: The game is pretty short for a sandbox title, but getting all the achievements will give this game some more legs.

Overall: 7.5/10

No comments: