STAFF REVIEW of Crackdown (Xbox 360)

Friday, February 9, 2007.
by Adam Rivard

Crackdown Box art First thing?s first, let?s get the GTA comparison out of the way. Yes, Crackdown is a GTA inspired open-ended mission based third person action game chalk full of street violence goodness. The content is wicked bad on many levels and should not be played with children present. With that said, if you can put your morals aside you?ll probably have a blast with Crackdown. That and well you know Halo 3 beta.

Now what we have at the core of the storyline is really simple yet it?s a recipe for total mayhem. Basically normal police forces have given up hope, so this city has a new force set up called ?The Agency?, which is kind of the last hope for the city. The city in question is Pacific City, and it?s over-run by heavily-armed gangs that run everything from transportation to your local kebab shop. Your job is simple clean up the city. Like I said this game has a strong foundation of ingredients for some extreme gameplay mayhem.

Like most GTA imitations you are up against gangs and no normal person is willing to take on that responsibility, but your superhuman, cloned for maximum law enforcement Agent is more then up for the challenge. A modern day Robocop if you will but with way more tricks up his sleeves then Robocop could ever hope to wield. Speaking of capabilities, your agent can learn new skills astoundingly rapid. If you handle firearms, drive, lift objects, fistfight, jump or whatever, you'll gradually get better at it, and this is physically represented in the character. So lift lots of things, and he'll get buffer as his arms grow in size, shoot things regularly and his aim will gradually steady. Now Crackdown is definitely going to be recognized for this impressive system. It really brings the game to life and gives the player a purpose to do certain things.

But remember practice makes perfect, so in order to take down these gangs you are going to have to fine tune your abilities for some maximum destructions. Three gangs run the city; the Volk, Los Muertos and the Shai-Gen Corporation. Each gang has kingpins that you'll need to take down to get at the lead kingpin. What is even more interesting is that each kingpin is totally accessible from the very second you start playing this game. Though, the accessibility is obviously not the problem it?s the fire power surrounding the kingpins that is challenging. But anyone can eventually build there agents up enough to take out any opponent in a matter of seconds, even your little sister could eventually brutally take back the city. Anyhow, it?s not all about power there is also another layer to this game that makes it even more malicious.

Let?s say the Volk?s are receiving an illegal shipment at the docks and you decide to open a couple cans of woop !&%$@#* on them. Then magically the gang?s lost becomes a bonus for you because their effectiveness with guns will be crippled. Before you go for that big boss, taking out his (or her) support network will make him a plausible take-down. You fancy this game yet? If not I?ve got one more feature to tell you about. Multiplayer is one of the main aspects of this game that totally sold me. Online co-op threw the whole game enough said. On top of all that, the achievements will also take a toll on your precious time, mainly because some of them are extremely original and fun to acquire.

Visually, Crackdown let?s you become the comic book character you've always wanted to be. I love the cell-shaded look of it; it's what makes the game so much more unique. Saying that it is because it looks cartoony is the wrong choice of words. Unique, different, awesome, are better words to describe it. It's the style and direction that the game takes that makes it "kid friendly" not the graphics. For example, both SpongeBob and South Park have thick outlines around the characters yet both shows are directed towards two entirely different demographics.

Crackdown consistently has far more people, far more cars, and far more movable objects on the screen at any given time then any other game of this genre. You may prefer the "style" of Saint's Row to the "style" of Crackdown, but there's no way I would let someone tell me that Saint's Row has better graphics they are both good in there own respective purpose. Saints Row is a lot more realistic, Crackdown is just wacked right out.

Crackdown controls quite well. There's nothing particularly special about the controls, but they are very precise and easy to use; important for rooftop jumping and driving, both of which features heavily in this game. Ranged combat uses a lock-on system, but still allows for reticle-aimed fire, like Saints Row. Driving has an excellent feel to it, and there are pronounced differences between the different car models. This pleases me greatly.

Sound wise I kinda like the music featured in this game, not the greatest but it gets the job done. The effects are clear and loud, the voice-acting is adequate, and the ambient sound really brings the city to life in Dolby 5.1.

Crackdown pushes the action-driving hybrid genre into the next generation with the first ever truly 3-D playground with some innovative Xbox Live capabilities. What?s not to like. I suggest you save your money for this game, not to mention you get a free Halo 3 beta. Now that is what I call a whole lotta bang for your buck.

Overall: 8.8 / 10
Gameplay: 9.0 / 10
Visuals: 8.8 / 10
Sound: 8.6 / 10


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