Early in its lifespan the 360 got some pretty good exclusive games. The game I have today was a pretty big deal when it came out. It mixed the exploration of GTA with an over-the-top gameplay
style that really suited it well. It was also a fairly early 360 exclusive that helped to get the system more popularity before the launch of the greatly anticipated Halo3 at the end of the
This is Crackdown. Crackdown places you in the role of a new breed of super-agent tasked with ridding your city of criminals, including the heads of different gangs. Fitting with the style of “do things at your own pace” that the game really pushes, there is almost no introduction. Instead, the game puts you in a car and sets you off to capture supply points and take down gang leaders.
The story is probably the least important part of Crackdown, and it probably actually works better with this very simple plot than one filled with twists and turns. That wouldn’t work in a game like this. Your agent is given a number of objectives on his mini-map and HUD that you can choose to do based on where you happen to be. Much of your focus will be spent on attacking bases where gang leaders are, fighting your way to the leader and executing him to complete the mission.
Like GTA, you can take cars from drivers to get from place to place, but the game also uses a sort of experience system to track your progress. Controls are mapped a little bit weird, with the left bumper reloading and X switching weapons, but gunplay is fairly solid. It can be a little hard to switch targets at first, but you’ll get the hang of it over time.
Guns and grenades are both really satisfying to use, as is the melee attack that you’re given. Kicking a guy fifteen times in the face to take him out is more fun than shooting him could ever be. The little things in games are often the parts you remember the most, and for me, the best part of Crackdown is the crazy physics engine. Anyone near an explosion gets sent flying through the air, including you and it’s possible to launch yourself extremely high by throwing a grenade and then jumping.
Enemies also react differently depending on where you shoot them, so it’s possible to take a guy down without killing him so you can get his friends first. The cell shaded look of Crackdown does suit it well, making the game look much newer than it actually is.
Weapons and explosions all look fairly good, but audio isn’t anything special. Voice acting is pretty average, especially with enemies. Crackdown definitely doesn’t take itself very seriously, and it is a ton of fun. This is definitely worth a rent for anyone who’s a fan of the genre and for people who love crazy ragdoll physics. Get the advantage here.