Posted by: Daniel O'Brien | February 3, 2007

Crackdown Preview

From the start of this preview I’d like to admit that I was indeed one of those people who joked about Crackdown being an entry fee in to the insanely anticipated Halo 3 beta coming this spring. I joke about it no more, in fact, I’ve taken it upon myself to instead spread the good word by telling as many people who are interested:

Crackdown is fun, very. fun.

I’ll start by letting the uninitiated in on just what Crackdown is. Crackdown is third person action adventure game, with an intense focus on both those things, action – blowing stuff up, lots of stuff, at the same time, and adventure – imagine leaping across rooftops as nonchalantly as thought they were mere cracks in a pavement. The style of play is very similar to that of the critically and commercially acclaimed Grand Theft Auto (GTA) series, in that you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. Sandbox is the buzzword for this style of play, and it has become very difficult for developers to achieve this sandbox style play without their game being passed of as a Grand Theft Auto clone, with constant comparisons being drawn. This is similar to GTA in that it is very free roaming in a sprawling and vast virtual city, but it is so much more to that thanks to the key gameplay features which I’ve tried many times tried to explain to friends and interested colleagues, and yet failed to capture the essence of fun which is so prevalent when you’re playing the game. Rather than fail miserably again, I’ve decided to feature an excerpt of an article written by one of the developers of the game, which I feel really does the gameplay justice, and portrays just how fun this game can be:

 

A highly powered Agent is stood atop a tenement building facing a Los Muertos gang enclave and, thanks to his super-human skill set, he has carried a small gift up to the rooftop with him. Our Agent now presents to the gang a lovely, shining, sports car. The gang are confused, our Agent considers the scene, puts away his Agency issued pistol and begins his attack. Picking the closest foe, he delivers a deft kick which sends the resulting smashed body cascading over a nearby skylight. Picking up the lifeless body the Agent chooses his next victim, a light throw sees one dead criminal meeting one that’s very much full of life. The results of the collision are: two dead criminals plus, perhaps, a few stains that are slightly troublesome to an Agent’s wash cycle.
Our Agent is now caught in a five way crossfire, he leaps twenty metres vertically, the dusty boot imprints in the rooftop now contain one less Agent and one more fragmentation grenade. Boom. Seven dead criminals, one Agent, a bit of a messy stain and a sports car.

From around a corner a gang general, Violetta Sanchez, introduces herself to our Agent by firing a few hopeful rifle shots in the vicinity of his head. Not pleased, our Agent checks his sports car and, oh bother, it appears to have developed a small bullet hole. That won’t do in the slightest. Our Agent pulls the car door from its hinges and turns to fling it at Violetta. The door misses its target – the next attempt won’t – our Agent takes hold, lifts the sports car above his head and moves toward Violetta. She has nowhere to move as the sports car, less one door, tumbles through the air and clocks her square about the head. That’s got to smart.

Violetta falls over a dividing wall in the rooftop, our Agent leaps in chase, down through the air the pair fall towards the inevitable crunch of the concrete and it’s time to have some fun. Our Agent takes out his trusty and portable homing-rocket launcher, just the one should do it, the Agent locks target and fires, down and down they go, Violetta, Agent, homing rocket and sports car. Mr Rocket, please meet Ms Sanchez, careful now, she’s known to be a fiery character. Boom. A dead General, an Agent and the remains of a sports car plough into the sidewalk. The Agent stands, has a limbering stretch and surveys his folly; seven dead criminals, one dead general, the remains of a sports car, one less grenade, one less rocket, a full pistol clip, a bit of a fire over there and one or two messy stains. It’s nice work when you can get it.

 

 

Some may be reading this and be thinking that Crackdown must be an very violent game, and I would have to agree with you, but I’d have to argue that the violence is handled well thanks to the artistic style of Crackdown, it is cel-shaded in appearance, giving it somewhat of a comic book appearance, and personally, I love it, it adds a great deal of character to the game, along with the voice over you hear, guiding you gently in the right direction, it feels like you’re playing a comic book some of the time, and that’s no bad thing.

Words simply cannot do this game justice, so I suggest you download the demo of Crackdown which is currently being downloaded at a ferocious rate of the Xbox Live Marketplace courtesy of the Xbox360, and see for yourself what an enormously game fun Crackdown is.

 

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