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Crackdown - iameven.com
A crack at Crackdown 3. I got to borrow Håvards Xbox One to play Crackdown 3.
A city of fun and danger
In this world there is only one city left in the world, that prospers, as there has been a global blackout. The Agency goes in to investigate but is shot down when approaching and everyone is killed. Luckily the Agency can restore a person from DNA, which is nifty, letting you go in to "investigate" what is happening in the city. Investigate in the previous sentence means blow shit up, essentially. TerraNova, this game's Evil corp, is using a fictional resource called Chimera for bad shit, and exploiting the islands citizens as slave labor to mine Chimera. It's highly explosive which comes to your advantage when turning it on the enemy.
As in the first game there are three factions, though they are all within the same company here. Taking them out makes the other parts of the game easier as you remove TerraNova's security-, logistics- and industry division. The difficulty seems to ramp up by missions done, so it doesn't matter too much which way you try to go about this. There are however some more heavily armed units in the security faction.
Since the agent you controlled was rebuilt you have to build up every skill from scratch, something that is not the case when you die during gameplay. The skills are:
- Agility: jump height and speed
- Strength: How far you can fling enemies
- Firearms: accuracy, hit damage
- Explosives: size/power thereof
- Driving: I actually don't know, and I notice I don't care too much.
3 of these you upgrade by doing them, but agility is only improved by collecting orbs or doing races, and driving by jumping through stunt rings and completing races. The orbs and other indicators are explained in game as showing up due to augmented reality, which is sort of cool, but also not necessary. It's by far not the least realistic thing in this world. And who needs realism? I'd much rather have automatic rocket launchers, which this game has. Or the weapon called Oblivion which creates a small black hole to suck enemies into before it blows up doing massive damage.
When upgrading a skill some new feature will also be unlocked, like double jumping or dashing in-air. This makes it very fun to move around in the city. The balance between making you feel powerful while still presenting a challenge is really well done.
It truly is fun, maybe partly for the nostalgia factor, but also explosions. It never feels dull to me. I decided to play through on Super Agent difficulty, which made it challenging at times. The missions are quite hard and there are many enemies around you at most times. The levels are interesting, but somewhat hard to navigate at times. The enemies are varied and you need different techniques and firepower to take them out.
It looks really nice. The world is colorful, bright at day, and neon lit by night. Håvard convinced me to get a 4K monitor and my old PC monitor really needed a replacement by now. The old one had DVI and VGA inputs only, for god's sake. Not sure if its good looks are thanks to the monitor, but it certainly doesn't hurt.
The music and sound effects can be summed up with the word "bass".
My problems with it
- The aim button doesn't always register clicks for me, which made me lose some fights.
- Same with the map button, but that isn't as critical.
- The draw distance for Orbs is quite short, so you can't scout for them, best found by sound.
- There are a lot of blue and green neon lights, which makes orbs harder to find. I understand it for the secret orbs which are blue, that you would want to misdirect the player a bit, but for the agility orbs it is only annoying. Yet again, orbs are easiest to locate by sound.
- The areas that aren't boss areas are similar. It's either shanty town or high rise block districts. I could swear I had visited some places by their look, but there were tons of agility orbs for me to pick up, which I would have done already. It's either that or the design is such that new orbs will be placed after you've visited an area (putting on tinfoil hat).
- There are a lot of other enemies in boss fights. I decided to ignore them most of the time, but indicators were flashing left and right. I think the boss fights could have been more interesting than just adding goons. They ended up being the almost same type of mech most of the time with some unique weapons and attack patterns.
- The story could have been different. It's as straight as it gets, there are enemies which are characterture evil, and then they die. There is apparently some unknown enemy behind this enemy, but meh, I guess. When Håvard and I played through we were questioning if we were the baddies. You come into this peaceful island society and start blowing shit up like a terrorist. We expected a twist in the end that said that you are a bad guy and has been brainwashed into believing you are doing good. Since I started thinking about it I got dissapointed when this wasn't the case. I probably shouldn't blame the game for not telling my story, but what I got served was just so, meh.
- When taking out the final bad guy (or woman), the blow off the top of the tower, so you can never get to the highest point again. That is slightly disappointing.
- I don't know why I should drive cars in this game as it doesn't do much for me, but the narrator is nagging you about doing it.
- The narrator is also quite repetetive, I'm not sure how many times I was told that I could go to supply points to get more ammo. It's probably helpful for new players to get reminders, but this could maybe have been reduced a bit if they just looked at the difficulty level I decided to play at. They will also tell you that you got much needed skill points after having maxed out the skill.
- The game world doesn't reflect the changes enough. The buildings you've been at are blown up and all that, they tell you that backup enforcers and air support is removed after taking out a boss, yet when you go to the next one there are plenty of reinforcements and drones in the air. Nothing in the game world or how the narrator talks to you changes much after you take out the final boss.
I looked briefly at reviews of the game and a common pattern among them looked to be that it is too much like the original and has a design that is dated by 12 years. Maybe I haven't been paying enough attention to what has happened in gaming, but I really can't say what is so much more intuitive in new games. I could pretty much do everything I expected to do at the times I expected to do them. The controls feel really good (except when they don't register a click of course) and the movement in game is liberating (like it was in the original). I, for one, am happy about a sequel being more of the same idea with basically new weapons and enemy types, a new setting and some designs pushed further than the last time. I just have too much fun navigating this city to notice if something is dated.