Crackdown in Review

Crackdown has been a highly anticipated XBox 360 release since, sometime in December, it was noted that limited copies of the game would have an invitation to the Halo 3 beta test. Historically, that’s not really the mark of a high quality product, but with Crackdown, I think a lot of people are going to be surprised. It makes you wonder why Microsoft would bundle such a big name beta with a quality game. Though it won’t move systems, Crackdown is definitely more than people are expecting and will sell plenty of copies to Halo fans and anyone who just wants to punch some guys.

The Game

In Crackdown, you play as a super-soldier who has been released on the streets of a giant metropolitan city in order to combat the huge gangs that have emerged in the lack of quality policing. In order to bring order back to the city, you have to use whatever means necessary to destroy all of the generals and the don of each gang. Once those are toppled, that section of the city returns to normal. How you go about killing these guys is basically up to you, but one thing is for certain, no matter the method, it’s always loud and violent.

The actual play of the game is reminiscent of Grand Theft Auto in that it’s a definite sandbox game. You’re set loose upon the city to kill the bad guys, and the messier the better. As your character advances through the game he earns experience that increase one of the five skills (from agility to weapons) that make him better at the business of killing.

Sales Factors

As we’ve discussed before, Crackdown is a game that was destined to sell due to the inclusion of an invite to the Halo 3(Halo is Microsoft’s killer app for the XBox) beta. What doesn’t make sense, at least to me, is that it was actually included in a good game. Why in the world would you include a beta invite to a huge event in the package of something that’s already going to do well? There are two reasons that come to mind.

First, Crackdown is very short. Well, I shouldn’t say very short, but it’s not long at all. I easily beat the game in ten hours. However, the fact that it’s a sandbox game allows you to play around for as long as you like, but what’s the point after a while. Secondly, they might have included the beta to get people to notice the game. It can be hard to break in to the market if you’re a new company with no recognizable properties. This could have been Microsoft’s way of giving a sales boost to something that they think has future potential.

Either way, including an invite to the Halo 3 beta is going to drive up sales. However, once people hear that the game is actually entertaining, we may see sales to people who aren’t interested in Halo 3 (if there are such people). I personally expect Crackdown to do well, but not to the level of a Gears of War or even Lost Planet.

The Scores

Sales Potential: 8
Notes: I would give Crackdown a higher sales potential, but not everyone is interested in paying 60 dollars for a Halo 3 invite.

Franchise Factor: 7
Notes: Crackdown is the first in, what would seem like, a series of games. I can see it selling many copies in a second and maybe even third installment. However, none of them will sell as well as this one will.

Word of Mouth(Buzz): 8
Notes: Thanks to being the carrier of the Halo 3 beta invite, Crackdown has received enormous buzz.

Multiplayer Appeal: 5
Notes: Though multiplayer is functional and basically smooth, it needs some work. The interface is kind of bizarre and unlike other games, you have to start a new session to be joined by a friend.

Killer App: 3
Notes: It’s hard to give Crackdown a Killer App rating because it, alone, isn’t one, but it has that whole “Halo 3” thing going for it. Though this isn’t a game that’s going to sell systems, its bundle-in will.

True Value(out of $59.99): $40.oo
Notes: This is a category to describe the games actual value as compared to its sale price.

Overall: 7.5

Final Thoughts

Crackdown was a pleasant surprise from the gameplay perspective and ended up being a very solid game. Crackdown will sell quite a few copies due to having the beta of Halo 3, and when people realize that the game is a fairly good time, it might sell a bit more. In short, Realtime Worlds has a quick, clean game that will appeal to most XBox gamers. Expect to see more from them in the future.