In the era of Grand Theft Auto, where open ended games are “cool”. Where drug and gun crime is “taboo” and rip offs are so frequent comes a shining light ready to take GTA’s crown. I mean it too, Crackdown on XBOX 360 is going to be bloody awesome.
While Crackdown is 100% open ended, the game does rely on a very heavy plot in which you play as a super cop given unbelievable powers from an agency known (quite fittingly) as The Agency. The super cop is given these powers to take out 21 kingpins in a crime sapped city. You are the cities last hope and you must do what the police force have already failed to do.
The way you tackle the 21 kingpins however, is completely down to you. You are placed in one huge metropolis whereby you search around it for various missions to tackle. Completing missions will set you on the track of a kingpin, each one being in charge of one aspect of crime in the city (gun crime, drugs, etc). This is the clever part of the game however, as it is down to you which kingpin you consider most important. If you kill the kingpin supplying his cronies with guns, then throughout the rest of the game the enemies will have a hell of a lot less firepower. Or for example if you kill the kingpin supplying the bad guys with fast cars, the enemies will have slower vehicles. It concerns me exactly how the difficulty curve of the game will work, as surely as more kingpins are killed the game should get easier than at the start of the game, however, I am sure the game will provide many twists and turns along the way.
Improving your character as you progress through the game will also be an essential part of the gameplay. Your character boasts a number of stats which are broke into the following categories: athletics, shooting, strength, explosives and driving. By killing more people with melee attacks, for example, you character will gain more strength points, and it is interesting how you will be able to watch his muscles expand slowly as he gets stronger. Increasing athleticism will result in your character being able to jump higher and run quicker; it is down to the player to find the balance between these stats in order to improve their chances of survival throughout the game.
Within the game is a damage model, which will add to the strategy in which you play the game. For example if a speeding car is passing you, and you need to get whoever is in it, you may opt to shoot the tyres of the car to slow it down. Virtually everything in Crackdown can be used in your favour; a car door can be torn off, used a shield and then thrown as a weapon.
In contrast to the slightly darkened theme of the game, Crackdown provides a refreshing graphical approach when compared to it’s counterparts in the genre. A brightly lit environment whereby characters have a thick black outlines (cel-shaded-esque) should be expected. It is obvious developers are trying to put across the feeling of an adventure novel, and from the screenshots and footage we have seen they are doing an excellent job.
Crackdown’s missions will be available for replay via the XBOX Live service in a number of cooperative modes, and as the game is totally open ended we can see players coming up with many new and interesting ways of completing the mission in hand.
Crackdown should attract many newcomers to the genre, while keeping fans of the Grand Theft Auto fans enticed, and maybe showing to some fan boys that GTA has a rival at long last.