Crackdown Reader Review
The best way to describe Crackdown? Hmmm... if ever GTA and The Hulk had a love child, Crackdown would be it. But is a free Halo3 multiplayer beta the only reason to get this game? Hell no... read on !!
You play as a genetically created super-agent, capable of super human feats. Your mission is to take down the 3 gangs controlling the capital. And of course, genetic modification has its pros (but in this case, hardly any cons). On maximum ability, you will run faster than many cars in the game, cause mind blowing explosions, gain superhuman strength, leap 30 feat in the air in one jump and be able to shoot with extreme precision.
Once you start your killing spree, you can collect the weapons dropped by the criminals and store them in agency supply points. These are basically like warp points, allowing you to travel instantly between any two places in the city. The supply points are all in enemy hands, and need to be recaptured, but once claimed, remain yours. You can also store enemy gang weapons in these supply points, and be reclaimed from any supply point. This enables you to continually enhance your arsenal of weapons to reign havoc. You don't even need to worry about ammo, since all the weapons claimed from supply points are fully loaded.
When you die, you have the chance to change the difficulty, change your appearance and re-spawn at any captured agency supply point, with all you skill points intact. This allows for lots of experimentation, since you are not really penalised for dying, which makes the game even more fun. Beware though, it doesn't make the game easier in any form. The gangs can still whip you time and again, attacking with rocket launchers and sniping you for immense damage.
The shooting mechanics are almost perfect, with the left trigger locking on to potential targets and right trigger unleashing a flurry of bullets/rockets/grenades. The autolock itself works nicely, although it does lock on to civilian cars every now and then. Once locked, you can shoot your targets chest, arms (dropping his gun) or legs(target falls on the ground). This is extremely useful when you're fighting off extreme odds, allowing you to temporarily disable a few enemies while you finish off the others.
But shooting isn't the only method of inflicting pain. You can run up to an enemy and press 'B' to unleash a powerful roundhouse kick. On maximum strength level, a kick will send the enemy flying, a good way to kick them over rooftops.
However, to unleash devastating damage, you should get your explosives skill to the max. A single grenade will create a huge shock wave of destruction, upto 50 feet wide, totally annihilating any object in the path. This is no doubt the most satisfying way to get rid of a horde of enemy gang members, or even to destroy groups of armoured vehicles.
The driving mechanics are quite good too, and the game behaves more or less like GTA in that sense, until you get your driving skills up (by doing stunts or running over enemy gang members). You can commandeer any vehicle on the road, or select one of the 3 specialist vehicles the agency offers, which on higher skill levels transforms into a massive killing machine.
As far as story goes, it doesn't get simpler than this. You have to take out 3 distinct gangs who run a crime spree over the capital. Each gang has its own distinct weapons, and controls the 3 different islands of the game. They also get progressively harder, with Los Muertos being the easiest, Volk a bit tougher and the Shen Gei a real badass gang. Like with GTA, your notoriety rating with each gang increases with the more gang members you eliminate, but does drop down back to zero if you don't kill anyone for a while. However, Kill too many and the gane will send a 'Hit Squad' to take you out. This basically means waves after waves of gang members, just begging you to beat the crap out of them, definitely one of the best way to increase your skills.
Crackdown offers unparalleled multiplayer gameplay, on par with likes of Gears of War. You can chose your game to be instantly joinable over XBOX LIVE by anyone, or selected people. Once in, you and your friend can either play co-op, or simply explore the city on your own. Effectively, you are still playing in your own gamespace, so if you take an orb, it is still available for your friend. Similarly, any skills you gain over the game are retained, and any supply points you capture over a co-op game are available for your own use on a solo game. This gives both players freedom to play the game they want to, without feeling restricted in any manner. And the icing on the cake is the immense fun co-op play, or to simply kick your friend over a rooftop when he least suspects it. The game does not penalise you in any form if you kill your friend, which in turn makes it one of the most fun parts of playing Crackdown over LIVE.
Crackdown is easily one of the best games out there for your 360. It does suffer from an image of being a GTA clone or a time filler for the next GTA instalment, but it certainly hold enough to stand its own ground as a true sandbox game. Add to it an awesome XBOX LIVE gameplay experience, and you've got a winner. It definitely takes the term 'sandbox' to a whole new level, offering freedom which many games claim to offer, but fail miserably. Ha, I even forgot about the free Halo3 beta access with this game! Who said addiction to Crack is bad? Go get this...
GRAPHICS -> 8/10 SOUND -> 9/10 GAMEPLAY -> 9/10
9 / 10