Crackdown (Xbox 360) review
"Grand Theft Auto 3 was nice to play... when you weren't doing the missions. You could go wander around the town, steal cars, mess with people, and blow stuff up. Though, if you really wanted to explore more of that game's world, you were forced to complete the missions to open up new sections of the city. Most of the missions consisted of going to Point A, then driving to Point B to pick someone or something up, heading to Point C, and when you're done, returning to Point A. There was a hard mis..."
Grand Theft Auto 3 was nice to play... when you weren't doing the missions. You could go wander around the town, steal cars, mess with people, and blow stuff up. Though, if you really wanted to explore more of that game's world, you were forced to complete the missions to open up new sections of the city. Most of the missions consisted of going to Point A, then driving to Point B to pick someone or something up, heading to Point C, and when you're done, returning to Point A. There was a hard mission here and there, but overall, it was pretty unimpressive. But you had to do them just to enjoy more of GTA3.
Even then, having fun had its drawbacks; whenever you were causing chaos and destruction, you were being punished for it. The star meter would slowly fill up and more cops would be after your ass. You could bare with it, until you reach higher star ratings, in which case, the game is basically telling you "Okay, you're having too much fun", and destroys your character within seconds. Sure, there are methods that kept the police off your back, but why should you have to work your butt off just to have some simple entertainment? Don't get me wrong, I break out GTA3 every now and then to have some fun, but it never lasts long.
That's why Crackdown is the only game since the sandbox city boom that has intrigued me. Hearing and reading about how you take control of a cop with super strength and the ability to jump really, really high sounded like all kinds of fun. And when the game came out... I didn't buy it. However! Approximately two years after it was originally released, I finally decided to purchase it and find out if that was true. And it was. After an embarrassing start, where I accidentally drove my Supercar into the water, I was releasing my special brand of justice all over this city's face. Thugs and gang members didn't take it lying down, though, they would let loose whenever they spot me passing by, and a battle would erupt. Bullets went flying everywhere, countless civilians would get caught in the crosshairs, cars exploded, more thugs would show up, and the cops usually arrive a second before I take down the last person. This all happened within the first 10 minutes of Crackdown.
It was one hell of a start, too, because my super cop didn't start off so super. He only had enough strength to pick up small objects, his shooting abilities weren't that great, and his jump was pathetic. If he didn't wore that regenerating armor of his, he would actually just be an ordinary police officer. That's not such a bad thing, though, because my first encounter with a boss was pretty epic. The guy was being guarded by thugs armed with pistols and assault rifles, who were planted on buildings surrounding his base of operations. They were just standing around, waiting to annihilate anyone who was crazy enough to take them on.
The huge battle gave me quite the workout, as I struggled to stay alive, fighting my way through dozens upon dozens of bullets that were fired every second, as well as dodging grenades that got thrown everywhere. Unfortunately, I thought it was a brilliant idea to take cover behind some explosive barrels, which killed me instantly when people resumed shooting. Thankfully, I managed to secure a supply point nearby before my death, so I was able to respawn my cloned cop there, instead of all the way back at headquarters. Eventually, I managed to spot the boss on my screen, which in itself was a triumph, considering the amount of enemies I had to kill just to get near his base, and defeated him. It felt great, but I knew not to get too comfy, because he was only the first of many gang generals I had to take down in Pacific City. That, and his underlings were still firing at me...
Of course, along the way, my abilities got better and stronger. Eventually, I was able to pick up cars and throw them at thugs. Shoot, I got so strong that I ran up to gangster's cars and roundhouse kicked them into walls before they could get out. I also jumped higher than before, leaping from one building to another, avoiding bullets that missed my body by inches. I even tried jumping on buildings I knew I wasn't able to make. Constantly. Why? Because it's fun. Words or even videos can't really explain just why this is enjoyable. It's one of those things you have to experience yourself. These increases in skills didn't make fighting crime easier, but it surely made fighting gangs much more varied and interesting.
That's basically all there is to Crackdown: you shoot people, you kill gang members, you get stronger, and you jump a bunch of times. Thank God. I probably would have hated this if it resembled a GTA title. I like that this is such a simple game. I like that you're able to get away with causing chaos and destruction and not being punished severely for it. Cops start going after you if you accidentally kill enough civilians, but they won't hold a grudge for long if you go back to killing criminals. Hell, their bullets don't even do that much damage to your armor...
Crackdown provides me with something that the Grand Theft Auto series couldn't 100% deliver: mindless, amusing, action-packed entertainment. There's no real attempt at telling a story through cutscenes by a bunch of people I don't care about, nor an absurd amount of punishment for attempting to have some actual fun. This game throws me into its world, gives me a RoboCop/The Tick hybrid, and just tells me to clean up crime, with basically no restrictions.
Crackdown is a video game.
Community review by pickhut (February 09, 2009)
Alternative tagline: Hit the Road, Jack.
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