I've been playing the Crackdown preview build since a few weeks now, and since I can't do any videos or screenshots (even if the game is already really polished) I had decided not to mention it here and get lots and lots of emails/private messages about sending a video just because you guys have been here a long time or something like that. Well it turns out I like the game so much I've been posting impressions regularly on another forum, and I thought that in the end it would make a decent preview for you guys. So enjoy this different kind of content, and please do not ask me for videos or images.
12-23-2006, 04:01 PM
Ok I've spend some quality time with the preview build, and I'm very happy with what I've just played. Gameplay is fine (fire with right trigger, you are free to lock on or not by using the left trigger), jumping around and going on top of the building is as fun as I was hoping it would be. My agent is just level 2 in agility and firearms so I can't go all crazy with the jumping, but it's still very amusing to just hop to the top and watch the awesome draw distance. Yes, it's as good as these screenshots.
I've had a some slowdowns, but it's a one month old build now and it was already very smooth most of the time. They mostly occured when something crazy was happening like a chain explosion making a dozen bodies and cars fly around.
12-25-2006, 04:55 PM
I hooked up the debug at 2PM because I wanted to check something in the game, and ended up playing for almost 3 hours, mostly goofing around the rooftops. I can't believe how much fun just jumping around and scaling building can be. I wanted to increase my agility so I went looking for some agility orbs. They are green "blobs" that get you some agility points. So with some you get very few of them, but with others quite a lot. Once you reach 100, you level up. I'm still just in the southern half of the first island (though I can go anywhere else if I want, but I won't have respawn points nearby) but I found 86 (500 in the whole world) of them already.
They are easy to notice for the most from the ground, but it can sometimes be a bit tricky to get to them. For example you may have to go up a nearby building, then jump to another, go to a higher point then jump down to that orb. Lots of fun :)
There are also hidden orbs, blue ones that are very well hidden, usually somewhere you won't notice it unless you actually hear it. They make a distinct sound you notice from about 20/30 meters, so once you hear it it's time to look around. These ones give nice boosts to all abilities. 300 of them in the world, found only 9 so far.
There are also races, either by car (didn't play much of these) or rooftop races where you have to go through a number of checkpoints on rooftops in a certain time to get a big skill bonus. I loved this, it takes a few tries just to get the way you have to time the jumps but it's fun, fun, fun :)
For a preview this build is already very solid. I've had very little slowdowns, and for such a huge world the pop-in is almost inexistant. And even from a very high point you still get to see what's going on on the ground. The black points in these screenshots are actually all animated and just look like they behave there.
I'm very very impressed by how much fun I'm having so far. I'm no fan of sandbox games, but the gameplay in Crackdown is so nice that I just want to play more.
12-25-2006, 11:17 PM
Played a bit more, killed my 4th bad guy and I guess I could already give a try to killing the first kingpin. But instead I keep goofing with the orbs. Found 171 of the agility ones, and 23 of the hidden blue ones. My agility level is now 3 stars, driving 1 star, strength too. Car morphing looks great, and with my first driving star the driving is much less float than before.
One annoying thing with the driving is that running over someone by accident will still make you a "bad guy" for the peacekeepers and it's almost impossible to complete a race without running over lots and lots of people. So by the end of the race you have to go hide somewhere until things calm down. It's not really that bad, but maybe disabling this during races would have been a better idea, I don't really know.
Some upper rooftop races are pretty crazy, like the one where you have to scale the Ferris wheel up and down in like less than one minute. I really love this type of challenges :)
I'm keeping myself from going to the 2 other islands so I still get the surprise, even though I can see some of their architecture from a distance already.
12-26-2006, 10:12 PM
Played "for 5 minutes tonight" and ended up playing for 1 hour and a half. Again.
This time I killed another general in a rather epic fight at a car racing track, and then I tried again to scale the biggest building in the game, the agency tower, and this time I actually managed to do it :)
I couldn't get on top of the last little metal spear because it requires 4 stars in agility, but I was still at the top of the highest tower. Got me an achievement, and the view was worth all the frights. Believe me, it really feels like you are high in the sky. Awesome view, I actually waited for a full ingame day so I could get to see all the hues on the whole city. And yes, you see everything of all the islands, even moving cars and all. The technology in this game is very impressive.
Whatever happens now in the next islands, I can already safely say that Dave Jones and his team nailed the whole exploration part perfectly. Now maybe the lack of a proper story will dock a few points of the final score, I guess it will depend on what the reviewer actually expects when he starts playing.
12-28-2006, 09:51 AM
I played some more yesterday night to show the game to a friend and killed the last general for the first island. I didn't try to kill the kingpin yet, but instead went to explore the second island a bit. It looked like a very industrial area with big buildings kinda more difficult to scale than on the first island. I arrived by chance right at the location of a general and got mowed down by guys with grenade launchers :D
12-29-2006, 08:39 AM
Finally killed the first Kingpin yesterday night. Since I had killed all his generals the fight was quite easy as he was far less well protected than he should have been. I also finally played with the sniper rifle and sniped my way through the first layer of henchmen by either killing them directly or using the exploding barels not far from them :)
I was a bit disappointed that the gang was still in action in action on the island even after their boss was killed. I was hoping that the island would be totally freed of them. Not that just the roaming baddies are a real problem to deal with (they are definitely not), but it just feels like doing all I did was a tad pointless. Not that big a deal thankfully.
I explored a bit more of the northern island, the buildings seemed much more difficult to scale, but I'll be up to the challenge!
I guess I'll stop my updates on the game there though, there aren't many things to spoil in the game besides the locales, so I won't mention where the generals and kingpins can be in the other islands.
I'll work on my driving skills now, I'm still at my first star in driving, and already have 3 stars in gunfight and agility.
12-29-2006, 09:20 PM
My precious debug 360 just died its 3 red lights death. No more Crackdown for me :(
01-04-2007, 10:18 PM
Got a new debug today, so I wanted to try it a bit. Of course as I expected I ended up playing Crackdown for one hour and a half. This time I wanted to check out the southern island since I never went there before. Frankly I was half expecting to be disappointed after the awesome first island, but the "level" design is still as good as before. I think there are even more suicidal jumps to do than before. Only for some reason some blue orbs were quite visible instead of being hidden. I've been having some fun with the sniper rifle, just jumping from one building to another, locking on a target and firing, killing him instantly. Fun times :D
Did I mention before how precise the whole jumping thing is? This would have killed the game if they hadn't nailed it, but nailed it they did. I almost never miss my target when I jump, even if it is a 50*50cm board somewhere. The littlest bump of the analog stick moves you exactly where you want to. There is also this timing between 2 jumps you have to really keep if you want to win the most difficult rooftop races.