Driving and gameplay
Another skill is Driving, which gives you a way to improve your driving abilities by hitting stunt markers, racing around the city in driving mini-games or simply running over enemies. While you can do this with any of the available vehicles in Crackdown it’s best to use the ones that the Agency provides you. You actually cause the Agency rides (sports car, SUV and big wheeled truck) to morph as you increase your abilities and make them bigger, faster and tougher cars to drive through the city and into any gun touting gang member that makes the mistake of messing with you.. The most important ability is Agility, which can be increased via green orbs that are almost exclusively found on top of buildings or other tall structures. Every time you “collect” an Agility orb you collect points towards leveling, so you run faster and most importantly jump higher. It’s this aspect of Crackdown that is perhaps the most fun. There’s nothing quite like jumping straight up 30 feet in the air in the game space or making massive leaps across the roofs of tall buildings. You can also achieve more Agility points by participating in races that require you to run and jump through a course inside the city before time runs out.
It’s this super hero aspect of Crackdown, combined with the gameplay design of making the gangs tougher for you to deal with, that makes the single player experience extremely addicting. You start out by taking out low level flunkies and finally reach your first sub-boss in Los Muertos. When you take them out; you get a huge feeling of satisfaction that makes you immediately want to move to the next section of the city to take on the next criminal lord. The gameplay moves fast; enemy AI can sometimes be super accurate with their weapons if you are not careful and of course bosses have extra health that you have to wear down to finish them off.
All of this action takes place in the huge environment of Pacific City and the game designers have taken great care to make the city less of a real world look and more of a comic book metropolis. From the oil refineries of Los Muertos, and a massive off-road stadium in the Volk domain, to the slick office buildings of the Shai-Gen, this is a highly stylized location rather than the more realistic look of the Grand Theft Auto games. As a result the graphic look of the game is certainly different; it’s like playing in a game with art direction by Jim Lee. Some people may have looked at the screenshots for the game and not be impressed at first but that changes when you actually look at the game running with impressive lighting and visual effects features. There is also none of that “popping up” in the environment that sometimes happens in games in this genre. You can pretty much see to the horizon in Crackdown – and the horizon in this game goes very, very far.
Crackdown also has multiplayer features but it’s only for co-op play through the single player game. While having co-op is great on its own its not much of a feature. It would have been great to see deathmatch or other team based multiplayer modes in Crackdown. We can just imagine the fights as people jump high over rooftops while firing at opponents. On well…maybe in the sequel.
There are also a couple of other complaints. One that we have is that once you complete the game there isn’t much else left to do. You could try to complete all of the driving and aglilty races but that gets old after the first few attempts, especially as you will likely be maxed out on your abilities at that points. Basically you are left trying to make every Xbox Live Achievement score and while that may be fun for some it’s certainly not for others. Another is the soundtrack. Like the GTA games you can enter a vehicle and its radio comes on to try to entertain you with tuned. Unlike the GTA games the Crackdown tracks are the worst kind of indie music you have ever heard.