February 22, 2007

 Navigation

   Home Page

 News & Features

   News

 Columns & Opinions

   Publisher's Note

   Boomers

   Pinings

   Longshots

   Techie

 Pop Culture

   Film

   TV

   Books
   Video Games
   CD Reviews

 Living

   Food

   Wine

   Beer
   Grazing Guide

 Music

   Articles

   Music Roundup

   Live Music/DJs

   MP3 & Podcasts

   Bandmates

 Arts

   Theater

   Art

 Find A Hippo

   Manchester

   Nashua

 Classifieds

   View Classified Ads

   Place a Classified Ad

 Advertising

   Advertising

   Rates

 Contact Us

   Hippo Staff

   How to Reach The Hippo

 Past Issues

   Browse by Cover


Crackdown, (360)
Realtime Worlds, 2007
By Glenn Given production@hippopress.com

If Grand Theft Auto was missing anything, it was the ability to super-heroically leap from rooftop to rooftop while chucking minivans at woefully unthreatening bad guys. Yay Crackdown!

Or should I say, yay Halo 3 beta invite? All of us who pre-ordered our Halo 3 demo might get a nice suprise when we realize that this nifty little super-hero sandbox called Crackdown got packaged with it. Huh? I wonder if that might artificially inflate the sales numbers of this slick, albeit buggy, game? Be that as it may, Crackdown is no slouch, what with its “hey is that cel-shading that I see” prettiness and the wooble of compact-car high beams through the night sky as you hurl a half-ton automobile into a pack of hoodlums.

See, the violence Crackdown so Hulk-tastically doles out is alright, PTAs of America, ’cause Crackdown puts the thuggery in the hands of the law enforcement. Granted there are no like-powered supervillians to battle here (except on two-player modes) but since that sense of fairness has never dampened our country’s military planing why should it hold sway here? Much like the patriotism-on-’roids-fueled antics of right-wingnut hero Jack Bauer, Crackdown poses no moral quandaries. Criminals are bad and they terrorize our city streets — so hit them with telephone poles until they are nice.

It’s not just the super strength, agility and leapiness that separate Crackdown from GTA and its clones. Unlike other supposedly free-form adventure titles, Crackdown encourages you to tackle its missions in whatever order you choose. The impact of success in some missions can be felt across the board as the presence of various factions and bosses alters the playstyle of others. Realtime Worlds also gets it right in the multiplayer department, simply letting players run rampant across the single-player world however they choose. Wow, what a concept, no wacky modes! Let people play with your shiny-shiny bits as they please alone or in pairs! Expect to see the next wave of sandboxers employ this Earth-shatteringly complicated idea.

That said, Crackdown is little more than its parts: a slightly buggy city full of shiny things that blow up when you throw them with your Jose Canseco-like muscles at hordes of nigh-undifferentiated criminals. Glee for certain, for a while, but lacking in staying power. But hey, lookie here, there’s a Halo 3 beta test invite included! B

— Glenn Given.