Tag Archives: Crackdown

Best of 2007 #3: Crackdown


Bought by many simply for that sticker on the box, Crackdown was my surprise favourite game of the year. I still remember chuckling at my friend’s taste when he said that he was excited for the game back around the 360 launch and I didn’t even get it when I saw videos. Even that beta didn’t sell me on it since I’d already won a place. It was the demo that did it for me. Sit down to play the game and you just get it.

As of today I probably played 100 hours of Crackdown. The game was, ostensibly, very short; you could burn through all the bosses in a handful of hours. But it was the first sandbox game that got me into the whole sandbox idea. There were multiple difficulties and the chance to do it in a sitting with a friend. Orb hunting (oh, god, the orb hunting) and the best achievements in any game yet. And then they followed it with the genius cheat mode in the downloadable content pack, letting you push the already loose rules to the point of almost breaking the engine. I never found myself short of something to do, even when I’d finished the basic game several times.

There are dedicated platforming games where I haven’t felt as in tune with the abilities of my avatar as I do when I play Crackdown. For all the emphasis on shooting and driving it’s the climbing that’s really masterfully done. When the bosses were vanquished and I was left to search for orbs it was my favourite part of the game. There was just something beautiful about the way that it faded out the background noise and brought up some subtle music when you got to a certain height, and I wasn’t the only one to say that it was the first game to really give a sense of vertigo. Heights don’t worry me, but I found my head spinning a bit when I got to the top of the Agency Tower and dared to look down.

A fantastic game, and as one that’s heavily discounted in the New Year’s sales, one that’s inexcusable not to pick up.

Orb Huntin’

Free Runner

By now I’ve put countless hours into Crackdown and have been very nearly driven utterly mad by the search for agility orbs. I managed to find 499 of the 500 with very little problem, and then spent literally hours every day combing the city for that last one, the Moby-Dick to my Ahab, which continued to elude me.

But then, when all hope had faded, I saw a green glow in the distance. That turned out to be a neon sign. This happened many, many times. At this point I was ready to snap the disc in half and use it to make a shiny hat while I dribble down myself.

Altogether, I reckon I’ve put in at least eight hours since “finishing” the game, spent searching for the last couple of agility orbs and grabbing any hidden ones that I found along the way. I had very little problem up until the last one, with even the 499th not posing too much of a problem. The last one, though? Ugh…

Until now!

Sod’s law prevails, and it turned out to be on a bowling alley sign around the corner from the starting point on La Mugre. You could literally hit it with a grenade from the bit where you emerge from the agency tunnel into a firefight between the police and Los Muertos. Now I can sleep without dreaming about the fucking things which, sadly, is not a joke. Here ends what is both the most satisfying and most excruciating achievement ever, uh, achieved.

My 500th agility orb, as George (Bean05) looks on

Best. Game. Ever.

Anyone in the UK remember what they were doing ten years ago today?

Crackdown: So Many Orbs…

Xbox Live’s achievements can vary in quality of implementation, from the most perfunctory bookmarks of progress (King Kong), to the outrageous (finishing Smash TV without dying; 10,000 online kills in Gears), with very few doing what I think is the best thing these can do, in rewarding you for doing those unessential little quests that you take up as a personal challenge.

Climbing the tallest building in the game with your bare hands qualifies – think of the people who managed to scale the temple in Shadow of the Colossus – and this probably qualifies as my favourite achievement yet:

King of the world!

It’s a long climb that takes a bit of planning and lateral thinking, and the reward (10 points aside) is an absolutely spectacular showpiece of the strength of this engine. It’s seriously impressive; a huge draw distance and solid framerate, without the usual caveat of obviously decreased detail. Then, to top it off, there’s another achievement for jumping from the roof and landing in a small pool at the base of the tower. Brilliant stuff. I hope other devs are taking notes.

That sums up what I think of Crackdown so far. I played about seven hours yesterday, running through the first gang on my own and then again in online co-op (every game should have this after Crackdown and Gears), and just messing around with piles of cars and a grenade launcher. Oh, and spending an inordinate amount of time hunting for those agility orbs (250-odd so far, and about 55 hidden ones). God, the orbs! So many! Argh!

The game has been criticised for length, and it did only take me about three hours to finish off the Los Muertos kingpin and all six generals. A third of the main campaign, basically. And that includes several digressions in order to relieve nearby rooftops of their agility orbs. This isn’t a long game, to be sure, but the point isn’t simply to finish it, just as it was with GTA. Those who I’ve spoken to who are as into it as I am spend far more time fucking around, and I’ve enjoyed it for the lack of structure rather than in spite of it.

After the hundreds of free-roaming crime-infested cities that we’ve played around in since Liberty City in 2001, all either po-faced and taking themselves far too seriously or failing to capture the wit of Rockstar’s games, Crackdown is a breath of fresh air. I want to say that GTA IV has a lot to live up to, but that’s going to do its own thing and do it well, as it has over the last few years. Spider-Man 3, however, is going to need to be really special.