CrackdownCrackdown is an open world, third-person shooter video game for the Xbox 360. It was released in North America on February 20, 2007, and worldwide by February 23, 2007. Crackdown was developed by Realtime Worlds, and distributed by Microsoft Game Studios. It was conceived by Realtime Worlds' founder, David Jones, who also created Grand Theft Auto and Lemmings. A sequel, Crackdown 2, was released in July 2010.
Set in the fictional Pacific City, the player controls a biologically enhanced Agent, tasked with defeating three crime lords and their organized crime syndicates. The Agent's abilities improve by defeating both crime lords and their supporters, as well as by completing optional activities, such as street races and scavenger hunts. The gameplay is nonlinear: instead of following a rigid mission sequence, players are free to select the approach to completing their missions and activities. The game features a two-player cooperative play mode via Xbox Live.
Crackdown, initially planned for release on the original Xbox console, was envisioned as a vast world in which players could experiment and explore freely. Microsoft Game Studios bundled specifically marked copies of Crackdown with an access code to the multiplayer test version of the much-anticipated Halo 3 Beta. The game sold 1.5 million copies in its first six months of release. It received critical acclaim and has garnered several awards for its innovative gameplay. Crackdown was a free download from August 1, 2013 to August 16, 2013 as part of the Xbox 360 "Games With Gold" program.
Crackdown PlotCrackdown takes place in the fictional metropolis of Pacific City, whose several districts and areas are divided among four islands. The city is controlled by three crime organizations: Los Muertos (which means "the dead" in Spanish), of Central American origin; an Eastern European gang, the Volk (Russian for Wolf) ; and the formerly above-board Shai-Gen Corporation, from East Asia. Normally, a police-like organization called the Peacekeepers kept the city under control; their forces, however, were overwhelmed by the sudden rise in crime. The city, therefore, sought additional help from "the Agency", an organization that, in addition to outfitting and supporting Peacekeepers, has used advanced surgical and cybernetic technology to create supersoldiers known as "Agents". The Agency is based out of a former hotel in the very centre of the city. The player takes on the role of one of their Agents, and is tasked with systematically bringing down all three organized gangs, while keeping both the populace and Peacekeepers safe. The Agent's actions are continuously monitored by the Agency, and its Director (voiced by Michael McConnohie) provides continuous reports to him of his progress.
Throughout the game, the player roams Pacific City, systematically eliminating the leaders and subordinates of the three gangs. Upon defeating the gangs' Kingpins and generals, the Agent must put down a final riot by the remaining gang members in the area which after completion will cause that city to be almost crime free. Once all three gangs are fully exterminated, in the closing cutscene of the game, the Director reveals to the Agent that there was an ulterior motive for the Agency's actions: the Agency had secretly empowered the three gangs in the first place to instill fear in Pacific City's residents, thus creating a need for the Agency to control the city, and acceptance in the populace when they did take over. The Agency Director's comments suggest that the Agency will replicate this plan in other cities across the globe to create a New World Order.
Crackdown GameplayCrackdown is a Third-person shooter set in a sandbox environment, akin to Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction. After selecting one of the predefined Agent characters, the player is assigned to defeat the Kingpin of each gang, though there is no precise approach to do this, leaving players to select their preferred method. While the player may face the Kingpin and his bodyguards at any time, they can improve their chances of taking out the Kingpin by facing and defeating the various Generals responsible for certain aspects of the Kingpin's offense and defense, removing them from play. For example, by eliminating a gang's weapon dealer, gang members will no longer be as heavily armed or will fire fewer shots to conserve ammunition; assassinating the gang recruitment officer similarly reduces the size of the Kingpin's protective force. It is at the player's discretion whether to kill the Generals or skip them entirely before facing the Kingpin. However, the gangs cannot be completely eradicated from the city without tracking down and killing all Generals and Kingpins.
In Crackdown, the Agent can use many super-human powers, including enhanced strength, to defeat his foes.
Much like other sandbox games, the player uses melee attacks, guns, and explosives to fight the opposing forces, and can run, climb buildings, jump across rooftops, or use vehicles to navigate the city. Crackdown features a series of character-based skills that can be upgraded to increase specific traits that can be used in combat, driving, or on-foot agility. These skills include: "Agility", which increases the Agent's ability to jump, run, and swim; "Driving", affecting how well he can handle a vehicle; "Explosives", which affects the power and range of explosive weapons; "Strength" that increases the Agent's strength, namely by increasing his ability to lift and throw, as well as how hard he can strike an opponent; and "Firearms", which improves the character's aptitude with weapons. Crackdown's skills make few concessions to realism: character abilities are similar to those of comic book superheroes or cartoon characters. This concept is further highlighted by the ink-like outlines drawn around in-game characters.
Skills are usually improved by gaining experience orbs, which are released from defeated enemies. The type of orb released varies, depending on how the player dispatched the foe; for instance, killing an enemy with a gun will earn Firearms orbs, while running them over with a vehicle earns Driving orbs. More powerful enemies release more experience orbs. However, Agility orbs are awarded differently: they can be earned by either climbing buildings and seeking them on rooftops, or by killing an enemy from a high altitude. The player can also compete in "rooftop races"—a race through a series of waypoints across the rooftops of Pacific City—or car races to gain Agility and Driving orbs, respectively. A few special orbs, well-hidden, increase all character abilities when found. A final way to collect orbs is by earning Xbox Live Achievements, which rewards the player with orbs from every skill category. Each skill has five levels—beginning with zero stars, and ending with four—with a numeric gauge on the display to indicate how close the player is to the next level. Should the character die, or injure civilians or Agency peacekeepers, their experience gain will be slowed, making it temporarily harder to improve the character's traits.
The entirety of Pacific City may be explored from the start of the game, allowing the player to locate the hideouts of each General and Kingpin, which can be made easier by accessing supply points scattered around the city. Once a supply point is unlocked, the player has the option of returning there to travel to any other supply point, restock on weapons and ammunition, or drop off newly acquired weapons, to permanently add them to their weapon selection. Should the player die, they can respawn at any open supply point. While exploring, the player is likely to come across enemy resistance, with their aggressiveness based on how badly the player has damaged that particular gang recently. If the player is too aggressive against the non-gang residents of Pacific City, including the Peacekeepers, they are flagged as rogue, and Agency hit squads are dispatched to take them down.
Crackdown features an online two-player cooperative play mode that allows drop-in play. Both players may explore the city freely, with the other player's position noted on the HUD map. Players can fight alongside each other, and also inflict friendly-fire damage. The state of the city, including which Generals and Kingpins remain, is determined by the host player's progress. Both players are credited with the defeat of a General or Kingpin in the game—which will affect the state of the guest's progress—but are required to obtain supply points and gain experience independently. Co-op players can race against each other in both rooftop and road races, should they both choose to participate.
ReceptionCrackdown was critically acclaimed by game critics who praised the open-world approach. Reviewers commented highly on the graphics of the game, both in its detailed city and large draw distances, and the cel-like shading of the characters; 1UP said that "it's just better to let a game approach reality on its own aesthetic terms than to go hyperrealistic". X-Play stated, "It's an absolute blast to play, and arguably one of the finest superhero games made thus far", and IGN stated, "Overall the thrill of jumping like a mutant kangaroo from rooftop to rooftop is unrivaled!" The co-op play feature over Xbox Live was well received; Eurogamer wrote, "Being able to pick and leap into any of your friends' or even complete strangers' cities is likely to keep that buzz going though", and 1UP agreed, remarking "That it represents the best, if not the first, online multiplayer sandbox game on a console is just gravy". Reviews did critique the lack of any appreciable story within the game, and how short the core game itself may be; IGN argued "Crackdown won't last that long, it's uneven, and the story and the music are weak sauce".
Crackdown was not expected to be a good game, due to it being tied to the anticipated Halo 3 multiplayer beta. However, the game surpassed many expectations; in his review, GameSpy's Gabe Graziani asked readers the rhetorical question; "Notice that I didn't mention the Halo 3 beta offer during this whole article? That's because it's completely irrelevant when looking at Crackdown, it's a solid game that delivers exactly what it promises: a giant sandbox to blow the crap out of".
The game was named the 2007 BAFTA "Best Action and Adventure Game" and "Best Use of Audio". and also won the "Best Debut" award at the 2008 Game Developers Choice Awards. The game received the Innovation Award at the 2007 Develop Awards, held by Develop magazine. Game Informer listed it as one of the top 50 games of 2007, citing its unique experience and several other elements. They listed the agents as the number eight top heroes of 2007 and climbing the tallest building in the city as the number nine top moment of 2007.
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