Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that. It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece. I strongly recommend anyone...
Crackdown One of the most eagerly anticipated games for the Xbox 360 so far this year, Crackdown shows that it really does deserve the praise it has received, with or without the Halo 3 Beta...
"It's not Cel Shaded!" Apparently, Crackdowns graphics designer will kill and eat anyone who calls the graphic effect in Crackdown cel shading. Let me help in out by saying that the screenshots of the game do not do it justice, seeing the game in motion is a completely different experience. It's certainly not the most detailed game you'll find on the 360, nor the prettiest. It's not even the ugliest (in a good way, see condemned) but it certainly is the most easily recognizable. The proper term for the graphics is Graphic Novelish. Ok, maybe that isn't the correct term, but it is a fitting one. Anyway you want to see Crackdown's graphics, be it cartoonish due to it's vibrant color scheme or adult due to the blood splatters, it is hard to not agree with me when I say, (In motion) Crackdown's graphics are superb.
"The sound of Justice" The sound in Crackdown isn't all that important, and as such isn't really all too great. Don't get me wrong, the voice work is brilliant, just not the sound effects. You are unlikely to find anything beyond the usual gun and explosion stuff.
"Gameplay" Crackdown is fun. That's really as simple as it can be said. If your running through the streets, your having fun. If your jumping from building to building, your having fun. If your picking up trucks and smashing them off of a gang members head your still having fun. The basic premise of Crackdown is: You are a genetically modified supercop grown by a crime fighting group called the Agency in the capital city of the Crackdown world called Pacific city. The agency need you. Pacific cities police force cannot cope with the power of the games three gangs. You have been created to aid this police force (the peacekeepers) in destroying the gangs and bringing peace back to the city. You start the game as an abnormally strong human, and must evolve your five core abilities to stand a chance against the relentless gang armies, and become the most powerful being in the World.
STRENGTH - This governs how much damage you do with your close range melee attacks and also the maximum weight you can carry. It also governs your health. The stronger you are the more damage you can dish out and take. Can be upgraded by killing enemies with your bare hands, or by crushing them with something heavy.
AGILITY - This governs your speed and how high/long you can jump. The higher your agility, the higher you jump. Can be upgraded by killing enemies while standing up on a building and also by collecting floating green orbs dotted around the rooftops.
DRIVING - The higher your driving skill, the better you are at handling all types of vehicles. Especially the three main vehicles provided to you by the agency, the super vehicles. Can be upgraded by performing stunts and also by mowing down gang members in a vehicle.
EXPLOSIVES - Higher your skill in this, bigger the bangs your grenades and rockets make. Upgrade by blowing stuff up.
WEAPONS - Having a high skill in this improves your aim and increases the damage your weapons do. Upgraded by shooting things!
When you have all of these upgraded, you'll notice that your agent is now a fully fledged superhero! The worst part of this game by far is the lock on system. "Hold the left trigger to lock onto an enemy or object." we are told. How lucky you will be if you manage to lock on to what you want to. It is the most inaccurate piece of garbage ever. You'll be much better just turning your back on the enemy and firing into the air.
Co-Op For those of you lucky enough to have friends, take full advantage of them. Playing Crackdown is fun on your own. It's twice as fun with a friend. The best thing is, they can hop into your game at any time and both of you are left with the whole world, and a rocket launcher. Hmmm.....
Crackdown is one of the most fun games to be released for a home console in a long time. If your looking for a game to tie you over until Spidey 3, or one that is a blast to play with a friend, get Crackdown.