Crackdown: Review for Xbox 360

A new game from Microsoft and Real Time Worlds, called Crackdown, is a game that is based on the open-world style of video games. First played in Grand Theft Auto III, these “sandbox” games, as they’re called, allow a player a large degree of customization as to what they would like to do in the world. There are usually a few options available that have to do with missions, and then a large number of other things possible in the game that have absolutely nothing to do with beating the story, and are instead all about having fun playing the game. That’s how this game is.

Crackdown is about a supercop, you, who can evolve their skills very quickly. These skills are improved by merely playing the game, leading to a situation where just going around in the city and having fun actually improves your skills over the course of time. This will come in handy, because there is a story in Crackdown that has to do with you having your supercop skills because you have to take down three different gangs that have taken over the city. Building your skills up some in the early parts of the game can really make it much easier to handle getting through the gang leaders’ bodyguards to be able to kill the leaders themselves. Unfortunately, when you have finally taken down all three gangs in the city, the game is over.

That’s unfortunate, because there is a lot going on in this open-ended city. Your character can increase their skills in a number of ways, all of which have real-life impact on your gameplay. By practicing using a gun, you can lock-on faster and more effectively. Practice driving a car, and your maximum speed and handling ability will improve over time, as well as the car eventually morphing special weapons and skills. As you progress through the game, there is the capability to increase your agility by collecting orbs strewn about the rooftops of the city. Increasing your character’s agility increases your jump height and distance. This means that your character will end up being able to leap from rooftop to rooftop, or scale walls by jumping from window ledge to window ledge. All told, there are an impressive number of skills that will improve as you play through the game.

The city itself looks incredible. There are names to many of the buildings, and the camera is able to actually see far, far into the distance.  Once you gain a certain level of stamina, traveling using the rooftops of buildings will become second nature, allowing you to completely change your point of view as you travel, and opening up the city to you in a whole new way.

All told, Crackdown is the beginning to a great game. It has an expansive, fun, action-based gameplay system that makes players want to play the game to improve their character’s abilities. But, by there being only one mission in the game, to kill all seven leaders of three different gangs, the open-world capability is lost, and unfortunately it makes learning the skills a waste of time.


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