Sunday, August 05, 2007

Crackdown: bye bye Los Muertos

This is amazingly fantastic.

Crackdown is a sandboxy game, Grand Theft Auto alike but played theoretically from the side of the law. You can still kill many innocent people, but it's much easier to kill the criminals since you can lock onto them from great distances. Superb accuracy is only one of the powers you have - throughout the game I've been developing my agility (meaning that I can now jump absurdly high), strength (I can now pick up small cars and throw them at gang members) and explosives, as well as the aforementioned firing accuracy. The last of these is what I've made the most progress on, and I can now stand at the top of a twenty-story building, take aim, and kill a gang member with a headshot.

The one skill I've not developed so much is driving, and that's mainly because running and jumping around is just so much fun. So much is hidden on the rooftops, such as the orbs that increase your agility and the resupply points, that it almost seems a waste pootling around on the streets below.

There is so much that this game gets right. One thing that's always been criticised regarding the 3D GTAs is the combat system. This game uses a clever lock-on system which gives you absolute control over who you're shooting and when. The only time that you feel slightly panicked is when you're ambushed and you have to resort to hand-to-hand combat, at which point you have to try very hard just to stay facing an enemy unless you can get a lock-on.

On the default level, the game's quite easy. I've now 'completed' one of the three islands - firstly unlocking all the resupply points, and then killing all the gang's generals so that I could then go and kill the big bossman more easily. While the game does offer you obvious ways to get to all of the generals, you're not limited to following those. I found that skirting around the outskirts of the compunds usually found a good high position from which you could kill most of the guards, and then you could run through just killing the silly respawning enemies until you got to the boss.

The easiness isn't really a problem, though. It makes the game just really fun to play. I have died a fair few times, especially when I first got hold of the rocket launcher, but you can simply regenerate at a nearby resupply point and go back to try again. Not all the enemies will have been replaced, but enough will to continue giving you a challenge.

This is the first game in ages that has made me play so compulsively for hours. It's great fun, it looks great, and it maks you feel great. Great.

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