In the near future, the burgeoning metropolis of Pacific City is being terrorized by a trio of vicious gangs. The police are losing the battle against crime and in a last ditch effort to pull Pacific City from the brink of destruction, a governmental police organization is turning to an experimental soldier to help turn things around. This institution known only as The Agency has created an experimental super cop (you) from ‘the DNA of some of the finest Agents’ to try and turn the tide against corruption.
This is the stage that is set in the opening scenes of Crackdown and from what is being said, this game is looking to be a combination of elements from GTA, The Incredible Hulk, True Crime, and Spiderman all rolled into one delicious package. Let’s not forget that this game is being headed by Dave Jones, one of the masterminds behind GTA’s success. While many have taken shots at the sandbox game formula and come up swinging, Real Time Worlds is looking to take all the best parts of GTA’s carjacking, free roaming chaos and throw in a super cop capable of leaping buildings in a single bound.
When first starting out in Pacific City, players get to chose one of eight agent skins (customized appearances are still up in the air); each of which certainly don’t look like your average cops. You start out at the Agency’s main base, The Keep, with a choice of three different vehicles, a SUV, a sports car, or a truck. After choosing a car and leaving the Keep you’re free to hunt down the city’s scum at your leisure. The environment in Crackdown looks almost semi-cell shaded look to it and gives it that graphic novel kind of feeling.
The main draw of Crackdown is sure to be its gameplay and Real Time Worlds is taking every step possible to make sure it’s as polished as can be. The combat is fairly simple with the left trigger auto targeting the enemy closest to your crosshairs and the right trigger firing. When you first target an enemy your site starts large and get smaller the longer you target them. Making an early shot will likely miss, but as your firearms skill increases the targeting site will decrease in size much quicker giving you the upper hand. Details on the hand-to-hand combat are vague, but make no mistake; your agent will have the standard punches and kicks in his arsenal. Not only this, but as your strength increases you’ll be able to just punt enemies off into the distance or just pick up their car with them in it and throw it over a cliff.
All of these superpowers that The Agency has given you can be upgraded by the way you choose to use your skills. Punch and throw thugs and your strength stat will increase. Take out a bad guy with firearms and that skill increases making your aiming reticule cue in faster and more accurately. Drive through barricades and over thugs and your driving will increase, but as your driving skill increase the cars don’t handle better. Instead, the cars that you take from The Agency become faster, tougher, and meaner looking. The agility skill is controlled by finding orbs hidden throughout the world. And while finding orbs may seem a little odd to increase a stat, you don’t have to constantly jump around like an ass which is cool. All of these stat increases have a visual effect on your character as well. Players high in strength will see their character get noticeably bigger while more agile characters will start to don cooler uniforms.
The enemy bosses will be virtually nameless and faceless when you first start the game. As your character roams the city looking for crimes, you’ll come in contact with the headquarters of gang generals. When you approach one of these hideouts, a short video clip will play describing the villain and all of their evil deeds. You’ll also receive the probability of a successful takedown given your current level. If you start becoming a thorn in certain kingpin’s sides they’ll send out hit squads after you so watch your step out there.
To break you from the action of fighting crime there will be a plethora of mini-games to keep you busy in your off hours. From rooftop footraces to car races to time trials on the hideouts previously beaten Crackdown will offer numerous getaways from crime fighting.
In addition to the single player mode, Real Time Worlds will offer co-op play of the single player game through Xbox Live or a system link. Gamers can absorb abilities from friends on their list or even through saved characters. While me telling you all of this is spectacular I’m sure, the demo will be available shortly after January 18th on Xbox Live for you to check out yourselves. Crackdown is set to be released on February 20th, but as the demo release date was pushed back, this may also change. I’ll see you fellow MyGamers in Pacific City!
“Stay classy, My Gamers”
By: David Mackiewicz (davemack@MyGamer.com)