Having been accustomed to linear and tightly scripted games, Grand Theft Auto really turns the gaming world on its head by introducing its revolutionary open-ended gameplay style. For so long you played a game the way the developers told you, however with a sandbox title you made of the game what you wish. Today we are checking out one of the first free-form titles on the next generation consoles, this one coming onto the Xbox 360. The game is Microsoft’s very own Crackdown and it is now available. Can this game live up to the hype surrounding it? Read our full review to find out!
Whenever you check out a game that with an open-ended and free-form playing style, you can’t help but draw comparisons to the Grand Theft Auto franchise. The GTA franchise managed to do so much for the Playstation 2, that it is hard to overlook it. Although there are some underlying similarities between Crashdown and the GTA series, you can also see how the developers really wanted to take this game in its own direction.
The campaign is where the entire game really takes place, and it is what you make of this mode that really decides what you’re going to do in this game. The story is pretty sparse with the details, so I won’t try to give you a whole lot of insight into that area as it doesn’t necessarily prove to be all that relevant. Basically there are some various gangs that you’re told to get rid of. It does have some GTA flavors, but all in all the story and experience does try hard enough to get away from those same stereotypes.
One of the most interesting aspects to Crackdown is the leveling of your character, which in a sense is just like an RPG, the only difference is numbers and stats don’t play "as big" of a role. You have five attributes that need improving; these include agility, strength, driving, demolition, and shooting. The most interesting and engaging attribute has to be agility, as this really gives your character a "super human" ability to jump and run to places that you wouldn’t imagine possible. This is really a unique aspect to Crackdown and gives the game a larger scale than if this had been a standard playing sandbox title. The game also handles the controls very nicely for such a big and open environment.
The biggest issues I have with Crackdown are the missions, and in general the way the game is structured. The actual missions in this game are rather on the bland side, and although the developers did a nice job of mixing up the missions at hand, there could have been more interesting missions to face. With all this being said, the game continues to move forward just out of the sheer joy of continuing to level up your character and enjoy a lot of what this very large game has to offer.
The game does offer online co-op, which is really a solid addition to the game and something that the GTA franchise really never excelled at. Well this is really where Crackdown does shine the brightest. Finding a game online won’t be that hard, and when you do find a good player, the game becomes even more enjoyable and addictive.
In the end, Crackdown is a very good sandbox title that has enough to offer both online and offline that makes it one of the best of the next generation sandbox titles. This game manages to offer up one of the most unique futuristic views on this style of game, and although it does have its share of issues, the majority of the game is entertaining and warrants a full play through.
Crackdown really went for broke in my opinion on the visuals, which you’re either going to dig or absolutely hate. The game uses a different kind of style that reminds me in some ways of cel-shading, but in other areas takes more of a normal approach. Whatever the case is Crackdown is still in my eyes a good-looking game that grows on you as time goes on. The one thing I did notice about Crackdown was that the frame rate does dip at times and doesn’t stay consistent when things get going a little faster. In the end, the visuals are very smooth but still have some rough edges to clean up.
Crackdown is a game that can be playing one of two ways. Either you decide to go along with the story and hit mission after mission, or you can go the other route which is just messing around with the environments and other characters. Either way the game holds up extremely well, and offers up an experience that really shines on the Xbox 360. There are some flaws that however limit this game from scoring higher in my book, which mainly consist of some frame rate issues along with a lack of variety in the missions and their structure.
Crackdown in the end is a solid sandbox action game that takes a great science fiction/futuristic approach and gives a new feel unlike many of the current sandbox games. Crackdown is not perfect, but if you own an Xbox 360 and enjoy this type of gameplay experience, I would highly recommend checking Crackdown out.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.