Like repetition? Then you'll just love Crackdown...
Crackdown is, for better or worse ((for worse...)), almost like an overpriced arcade game. It has basically no narrative and a shallow n simple premise but also has it self some, at best, moderatly addictive gameplay.
Gameplay that will stay the same throughout the probable 15-20 hours you'd need to waste in completing this games objectives.
Crackdown puts you in the newly registered shoes of ''The Agent''. A nameless, voiceless and possibley even souless male protagonist.
At the start you may select from a few preset face skins but aside from the radically different styles and ethnicities of the skins, the character has no personality.
As The Agent, you are to clean Pacific City ((with probably a few thousand ''Main'' roads...)) from three different gangs, each one populating a specific island of Pacific City.
These gangs, however, are well stocked with all sorts of weaponry and there numbers in general are bordering on PMC like standards. As such, your Agent has been fitted with some controversial and yet untested technology to help evolve at an insanely fast rate in terms of his skills.
With that said, from the very start your Agent can jump at an above average height, can lift up corpses with relative ease and is moderatly formidable with every type of firearm. The more you actually play the game and shoot, drive, kick and explode, the more your character's effectiveness in those areas will increase.
Shoot more bad guys to gain better accuracy, do stunts or drive over badguys to increase your attunement with the vehicles and there overall handling, kick a load of badguys and you'll gain more strength/health and take down so many badguys with grenades to have the radius of the grenade somehow largen and also the damage it deals increased.
Theres also your agility which focus' on your running speed and jumping ((eventually leading to leaping)) ability. That is furthered through searching for many the collectibles around the city called agility orbs which will steadily increase your agility stats.
Theres a few other miscellenous factors into increasing your skills, so in short, basically everything you do in Crackdown will take into measure and, more often than not, better your character in some way.
The RPG elements of turning your Agent into a 60ft leaping, weapons expert who can powerslide in cars for 20 yards is fun but it will only last for so long and with it relying on you to actually continue playing the game, becomes more of a chore rather than a fun activity.
No matter what stage your characters evolution is at, 3 gangs will still await there destruction.
3 different gangs, but only in their simplest sense. Each gang have there own ethnicity, weapons and vehicles with each new gang as expected to carry bigger weapons and drive better armored vehicles.
You will get a briefing on the gang into just how ''evil'' they truelly are and key members too will have a small introduction via your dossier too once u are able to locate them. In general though, the gangs are simply there to be killed, they don't really give much reason besides just what the dossier is telling you. No cutscenes of them doing the deeds or what not.
How thats done is simple, search and assassinate all the gangs key members. The order of which you take them down is upto you, if you really wanted to, you could start at the very top with the Kingpin, of course it would be considerbly difficult after avoiding all the points you'd gain from the lower members mind you.
Killing key members will open up the dossier and give u a congratulations and also explain that specific functions of the gang will cease, such as there weaponry or car repairs, that idea might think taking out certain members before others would add some strategy, but it doesn't really follow through when you kill the gang leaders and the foot soldiers on the streets act the same as they always would with the same weapons and vehicles no matter whos riddled with bullets or not.
Assuming that the gangs are the main missions of it all, theres also a few side missions to undertake like you'd expect from a sandbox title. ...I say few but I mean couple.
There exist only two types of races available to try besides the assassinations. One has you in a car racing through checkpoints, the other has you on foot leaping across rooftops through checkpoints. They can each give u added skill points for your driving and agility, but there overall not very enticing and a game that can have you lifting up cars, only two types of time-trial runs is really lacking imagination.
There is of course those agility orbs you can hunt for, which is most probably the highlight of the entire game for me. When you are able to leap across rooftops with ease, thats where the fun can start to show. It really is enjoyable to jump miles across the sky, so much that getting your agility to the maximum level might be one most's to-do list in Crackdown.
Besides that though, theres still of course your usual rampant destruction, shooting pedestrians, driving off ramps and grenading gangmembers is casual fun for 15 minutes or so. The driving, once the skill is high enough, can be rather satisfying, but the shooting aspects gets pretty monotous. Its not broken but still lacks any sort of punch to give you the glee of pumping 80 rounds from an M60 should. You can shoot through free aim or auto-aim, there both mixed in that free aim really doesn't have you landing many shots and auto-aim not allowing you to switch targets.
A positive point for the auto-aim is that you can aim at specific bodyparts for added effects, such as the arms to have the enemy drop their weapon or the legs to cripple the poor ethnics. Even still however, since the combat is so fast paced with you probably leaping through the air and doing running melee attacks surrounded by 10-20 enemies, it seems unceccesary to aim at anywhere else other than the chest since that'll still get the job done and at a much quicker pace.
Melee attacks are also available, but they don't go any further than a simple kick. It gets the job done at least and can be used to kick objects at the enemies. You may also lift up practically anything that looks like it can be picked up, eventually anyway. The more strength you gain the heavier objects that can be lifted and the further they can be thrown too.
The standard kick though much like the shooting, isn't all that satisfying and the throw too unless your using a 4 door car will usually miss the enemies your hoping to strike. Added melee attacks/combo's or at least a drop down attack from mid-air being missing really shoots down alot of potential.
So the gameplay definatley had all the ingredients ready for a top-quality superhero sandbox game, but with its severe lack of content and over-reliance on how you can leap 80ft in the air, its a shame filled fail in most regards.
The sound doesn't fair too well either.
Theres no dialogue in the game besides the announcer character, who acts as your advisor and boats a rather cool government esque type of voice that does suits surprisingly well. Its a shame that his advise is usually wrong and he'll also have the bad habit of reminding you the basics of the game no matter how far in your are.
The many pedestrians never have much to say besides the occasional squeal of despair from the chaos between you and the gangs. The gangs too will only shout there own cliche'd death threats or depending on the gang, some overly played foreign lines that can at least be tuned out from you hearing them so damn often.
The soundtrack is rather decent, shame it can be only heard when your in a car though considering you'll find yourself travling on foot as your agility revs up.. Theres no radio-stations though, it simply varies on what type of car you go into. One of the Agencies customised cars and you'll have some electronica, the Los Muerdos gang will have mexican rock and the like.
The one merit that Crackdown has to fall on, is its graphics. Its all full of colour and while the game may exclude any memorable personality, its graphical presentation can back it up. Almost resembling a comic book, everything is done in a sort of sophisticed cell-shaded style. Amusing phrases in clouds such as ''OOF'' and ''SPLAT'' seem like they would fit pretty well in Crackdowns world.
Crackdown as a whole, is missing too much content to almost be considered a full game. Theres virtually no story, no dialogue besides the announcer who is sadly one of those people who loves the sound of his own voice, ((hell I probably would share the love if he actually had something usefull to say)) and the side activities are as shallow as they come. It might of been acceptable if the overall gameplay was enjoyable, but its not ((the majority at least)) and hits the repetition point long before the 3 gangs are taken care of.
Crackdowns enjoyment factor can be boiled down to just how much you love to flail through the air scouring a a large city for collectibles.
It wasn't even close to being worth the full price tag in my opinion back in the day, but at least its just about worth its bargain-price it can be found at these days.