In 2007, Realtime Worlds Ltd. released Crackdown to an unsuspecting Xbox 360 audience. This huge sandbox type game fit in perfectly with what Microsoft was trying to do at the time. Xbox Live was booming and Realtime Worlds Ltd. brought the pay dirt with this co-op superhero title. I remember being super excited for this game a decade ago. And am kind of ashamed that I only just recently took the title off of my Pile of Shame.
Back in the day, memory cards told the sordid tale of games I’ve never beaten. Now in the 21st-century Achievements make my shame public. I’ve had my Xbox 360 since launch and my first achievement for this game took place in 2008; my last in 2017. This blows my mind. But I’m extremely happy that I beat the game so that I can enjoy Crackdown 3 when it releases.
The game takes place in a fictional city called Pacific City where crime is rampant and the citizens demand action. This is where your character comes in. You play as a super-powered Agent who must bring all evil-doers to justice, by murdering them mercilessly. That’s pretty much the story. When you die you are re-cloned and sent out to continue your rampage against the criminal element. You must eliminate the three major crime syndicates, The Volk, Los Muertos and Shai-Gen. Each of these gangs has an island to themselves. In the center is the Agency’s Tower, then kind of like a wheel three islands branch off from that. Those islands must be conquered by you. To do this you must capture back Agency Safe-houses and kill the bosses of the gang.
First, you must kill the lower tier bosses and work your way up to the gang boss. To do this you travel around the occupied area until your intel dossier kicks on and tells you what boss is in that building and why you should dispose of them. As you gain footing in each area you will find more Safe-houses where you can save and reload your weapons; unlocking these first is paramount to defeating all the gang members.
When you are first released from the Agency you are not as powered up as you would like to be. You need to gain stars in these areas; firearms, strength, explosives, agility, and driving. The more stars that you gain the more powerful your job becomes and the easier it is to fight crime. To gain more power in Firearms, Strength, Explosives, and Driving you must do the actions that correspond to the stat. Shoot everyone and your firearms stat will rise. Punch a bunch of fools and strength goes up. Toss grenades everywhere and your explosives will rise. And mowing down criminals in their own car grants you a higher driving level.
Agility is earned by finding Green Orbs all over the city. These orbs boost that stat. And while you search for Green Orbs you find other Secret Orbs that give every ability a boost. Hunting for these orbs will make your life easier in Pacific City, so I suggest you do it. More orbs can be had by competing race challenges, agility challenges and so on, I beat the game without doing of those, so they can be there for fun if you’re bored. The biggest let down in this game is the weapons, I swear I have more and better weapons at my house than the Agency had to give to its Agents. The best weapons I had to buy through DLC and that was disappointing, but having a rocket launcher that held 100 rockets was definitely useful and satisfying.
The look of Crackdown was a unique one at the time, while everyone was trying for photo-realistic on this new hardware, Realtime Worlds went the cel-shaded route and never looked back. Even ten years after its release I was surprised the game looked as well as it did. There were no slowdown issues as I jumped over rooftops in this huge city, no tiling when a bunch of gang members tried to murder me, nothing that was detrimental to my enjoyment of the game.
What was annoying was the Agency handler, he would constantly be spouting things in your ear about what was nearby, what races you could accomplish, how bad you are at life if you missed a jump and so on. I almost muted my television during the last segment of the game because he would not shut-up, you would think about eight hours into a game your handler would get that you understand the mechanics and concept of the game.
The controls are easy to grasp but one aspect gets pretty tricky; the target-lock system gets fudgy after you kill a gang member. Sometimes when you let go of right trigger and press it again to go to another dirt-bag your gun will stick on the dead body. Other than that everything else controls great, no poorly timed jump misses or long reload times, just the target-lock, which you really need to use throughout the game to stay alive.
Y is enter and exit vehicles and the safe-houses, B is pick up objects and kick, A is jump and B is pick up a dead guys weapon. Pretty standard button layout. Right Trigger is fire and left bumper is reload, if you press the left stick you crouch, but that will only get you killed, shoot and jump is the best way to be successful. See what I mean? Easy to learn and easy to master, which makes this game a blast to release stress on after work.
I thoroughly enjoyed this title, ten years ago and today. If you ask me why I didn’t finish it a decade ago I wouldn’t be able to answer you, I only ran into a difficulty spike when I finally got the Shai-Gen’s island; where everyone had a rocket launcher or two. The premise and mechanics are great in this game, it is nice to be on the side of the law once in awhile and Crackdown gets that part right. If you’re a fan of GTA or any open world game then you should add Crackdown to your collection, you won’t regret it and you can see where it all began before you sink your teeth into the Terry Crews led Crackdown 3.
Crackdown - Xbox 360
If you're a fan of GTA or any open world game then you should add Crackdown to your collection, you won't regret it and you can see where it all began before you sink your teeth into the Terry Crews led Crackdown 3.
- Cell-shaded graphics pop very nicely, even a decade after release
- Jumping and running through Pacific City is a blast
- It is very satisfying mowing down all these degenerate criminals
- No real defined story
- Aiming controls can stick on a dead gang member while the live ones pummel you with bullets
- Not a whole lot of weapon options, the best ones are hidden behind paid DLC
- Annoying Agency handler who never keeps quiet
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