lozz's Crackdown (Xbox 360) review

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Must have for open world/sandbox fans.

Crackdown is just one of those games where you just cannot wait for the sequel. Now that the basic foundations are set we just need to wait for Realtime Worlds to pick-up Crackdown where they left off and create a fantastic sequel. My reason for saying this is because the long awaited Crackdown does everything right and everything wrong.

In Crackdown you are a super agent working for the mysterious Agency ordered to clear up crime for the streets of Pacific City. In order to wipe the streets clean, you must eliminate 21 progressively harder gang bosses in each part of the city. There are 3 districts in total meaning 9 bosses per district. This is a great start to an open ended sandbox game, but unfortunately that is it. Dissapointingly there is no story to Crackdown at all, which is essentially the games downfall. If you are looking for an action / sandbox game with a great story Crackdown is not it.

Crackdown is as sandbox as games get, you get dropped of in the city with all areas open to kill bosses as freely as you choose. To do this you will have to jump, shoot, drive, explode and smash your way accross the city. The game uses a lock on system, where you press the Left trigger to lock on and the Right trigger to shoot, from locking on you can aim at different parts of your enemies of vehicles, which is a great idea. Like most games with a lock on there are some problems, like you can stay locked onto a dead enemy for ages or you can sometimes aim at the wrong thing, but these can be overlooked. You can also jump into Crackdown over xbox live Co-Op, it's is a lot of fun and makes the boring boss missions slightly more fun.

Crackdown may have it's downsides, but that does not drag the overall game down with it. In Crackdown you wear an agency suit which allows you to have five major skills, Driving, Agility, Explosives, Firearms and Strength. Each of these major skills allows you to really complete the 21 gang bosses however you see fit. For example, you can ues agility to jump from building to building then gain a height advantage over your enemies, alternatively you can throw objects with strength or blow them to smitherines with explosives.

Each of these major skills are upgragdable up to four stars. Once you have a four star character it can sometime amaze you at what your fully grown character is capable of. You upgrade these skills by literally doing them, for example throwing cars at bad guys will upgrade your strength, or shooting guys will upgrade your firearms. The only skill which doesn't upgrade this way is agility, instead you have to roam around rooftops and collect green orbs to increase the skill. Actually upgrading the skills can be a bit of a drag at first, for example the cars handle horribly until you have at least two stars, but after that upgrading becomes a lot of fun just to see what you are capable of next. The upgrading of these skills makes for a really deep gameplay experience and makes messing around a lot of fun, which is what your want in a sandbox game. There are also 300 hidden orbs to collect and races to complete after the main campaign. The races are checkpoint races and are either agility or driving, by doing these they will increase your skill in that specific area. Some of the races are fun, but some are just painful, mainly because some checkpoints are up high or down low so they are hard to find.

The graphics in Crackdown are very impressive, including amazing draw distances impressive detail and great superb looking explosions. Every building is unique and there are many possible ways up to the top of the building. From the top of these buildings you can see for miles, which is useful as you will exploring the streets of Pacific City quite a bit. The sound effects sound great, with powerful machine guns and devastating explosions. Sound wise, the game can get quite annoying. There is a large and varied soundtrack to the game, however the game changes tracks according to which area you are in and this can get very annoying. To add to this the game also features a horrible, horrible agency intel guy that talks to you throughout the entire game. he never stops talking, he gives you the same intel all the time and most of the time is wrong. He once told me that I could do a near by agility race to increase my agility even though I had completely filled the bar.

If you really like to dig deep into games, Crackdown has a lot to offer but if your a person who is not interested in side missions or upgrading characters this might not be the game for you. It has a great skill system and terrific gameplay, but falls flat on it's face when it comes to depth and length. If Realtime Worlds they had spent longer on mission design and length the game could have been far better, but that said Crackdown is still a great game and a must have if you like sandbox open world style games.

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