Crackdown has always been considered one of those games that offers up sheer, unadulterated, stupid fun. It was one of the earlier “superhero” experiences that let you run wild in an open city and just go crazy. Well, sort of. While it certainly isn’t as deep as more recent titles like InFamous, Prototype, and Saints Row 4, it definitely laid some of the groundwork for crazy superpowers in games. Ultimately, Crackdown is just a lot of fun to play, warts and all.
Let’s take a look at those nasty warts, but let’s also celebrate the good in that wild 2007 release for the Xbox 360.
Up Up: You can jump really high
There’s something to be said about a game that puts so much emphasis on the simple act of jumping. That’s one of the main tropes of Crackdown, actually, and that’s due to just how freakin’ high you can jump. The verticality in this game is completely ridiculous, but it’s also loads of fun. Leaping into the air and jumping from a street to the top of a building is extremely cathartic, and collecting orbs that help you increase your jump height lets you look forward to jumping even higher and scaling taller buildings the more you play.
Down Down: Driving is almost pointless
Maybe it makes sense that an open world action-adventure game lets you get in cars and drive around, but in Crackdown, that gameplay feature is practically pointless. I never spent much time driving around because it was just so much more enjoyable to jump up buildings and leap across Pacific City. And yes, there are a lot of side missions that are pretty much just time trial races, but I was never bothered to play more than just a couple of those because the driving mechanics just weren’t as great as all the jumping.
Up Up: Superhero action is a riot
The first few hours you play of Crackdown are some of the most surprising. When you first kick a dude and send him flying, or, better still, when you first kick a car and send it flying, you get this immense feeling of satisfaction. If you’re anything like me, you also laugh pretty hard. Being able to pick cars up off the ground and, eventually, having the strength to hoist massive trucks is equal parts hilarious and badass.
Down Down: Overall, the game is kind of shallow
Unfortunately, while the pleasant little nuances of Crackdown provide a therapeutic and unique experience, the game never really evolves into much else. It gets to the point where you’re tossing around so many vehicles and taking down so many bad guys that you almost become desensitized to what starts off as great action. This makes the last few hours of the game particularly boring because it almost feels like the whole thing drags toward the end.
Up Up: Gunplay is a lot of fun
Despite the fact that you have the ability to hit bad guys and knock them around in comedic fashion, it should be noted that the shooting gameplay in Crackdown is pretty solid, too. I found it best to mix and match styles, using superpowers against some enemies while focusing on taking others down with assault rifles and shotguns. It’s not exactly smart or all that deep, but the gunplay on hand is still really entertaining.
Down Down: The open world is kind of a drag
Crackdown presents you with a wonderfully insane leaping ability and an open world to explore. Sadly, there’s not much reason to explore outside of collecting those orbs that help you jump even higher. Sure, you could participate in races, but as previously mentioned, those aren’t that great because they don’t take advantage of your crazy skills. It would’ve been much cooler if some decent side missions had been littered across Pacific City in addition to the 21 main bosses you’re tasked with defeating.
Left Right Left Right: Crackdown lacks depth, but it’s sure as hell fun
If you own an Xbox 360 and enjoy crazy action-adventure games, you’d do well to check out Crackdown, even six years after its release. Sure, it lacks the depth and personality that later games like Saints Row 4 and InFamous would deliver, but it’s still a whole lot of fun. You may tire of the experience toward the end, but there’s no denying that those first two-thirds are a total blast. If you play Crackdown, don’t take it too seriously, and just have some good, ludicrous fun with it.
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