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Crackdown
Crackdown-cover
Developer(s) Realtime Worlds
Publisher(s) Microsoft Game Studios
Release date(s) February 20, 2007
Platform(s) Xbox 360
Genre(s) Action-adventure game
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Crackdown (titled Riot Act in Japan) is an open world, third-person shooter video game for the Xbox 360 game console. It was released in North America on February 20, 2007, and worldwide by February 23, 2007. Crackdown was developed by Realtime Worlds, and distributed by Microsoft Game Studios. It was conceived by Realtime Worlds' founder, David Jones, who also created Grand Theft Auto and Lemmings.

Set in the fictional Pacific City, the player controls a cybernetically-enhanced Agent, tasked with defeating three crime lords and their organized crime syndicates. The Agent's abilities improve by defeating both crime lords and their supporters, as well as by completing optional activities, such as street races and scavenger hunts. The gameplay is nonlinear: instead of following a rigid mission sequence, players are free to select the approach to completing their missions and activities. The game features a two-player cooperative play mode via Xbox Live.

Crackdown, initially planned for release on the original Xbox console, was envisioned as a vast world in which players could experiment and explore freely. Even though this concept was implemented for the Xbox 360 version, play-testers were largely critical of the game, leading Microsoft Game Studios to fear that it would not be well received. To boost sales, Microsoft Game Studios bundled Crackdown with an access code to the multiplayer test version of the much-anticipated Halo 3. At least partially as a result, the game sold 1.5 million copies in its first six months of release. Despite initial concerns, Crackdown received positive reviews and has garnered several awards for its innovative gameplay.


Plot

Crackdown takes place in the fictional metropolis of Pacific City, whose several districts and areas are divided among four islands. The city is controlled by three crime organizations: Los Muertos, of Central American origin; the Eastern European gang, Volk; Shai-Gen, a megacorporation from East Asia. Normally, a police-like organization called the Peacekeepers kept the city under control; their forces, however, were overwhelmed by the sudden rise in crime. The city, therefore, sought additional help from "The Agency", an organization that operated cybernetic soldiers, and is located in the central part of the city. One of these cyborgs, the "Agent", is controlled by the player; he works for The Agency, and is tasked with systematically bringing down all three organized gangs, while keeping both the populace and Peacekeepers safe. The Agent's actions are continuously monitored by The Agency, and its Director (voiced by Michael McConnohie) provides continuous reports to him of his progress.

Upon completing the main game goals, the player succeeds in defeating all three gangs and their Kingpins. In the closing cutscene of the game, The Agency Director reveals to the Agent that there was an ulterior motive for The Agency's actions: The Agency had empowered the three gangs to instill fear in the residents, thus creating a need for The Agency to control the city. The Agency Director's comments suggest that The Agency will replicate this plan in other cities to create a New World Order. The player's Agent then fires one round at the camera, and the game ends.

Gameplay

Crackdown is a third-person shooter set in a sandbox environment,akin to Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction.After selecting one of the predefined Agent characters, the player is assigned to defeat the Kingpin of each gang, though there is no precise approach to do this, leaving players to select their preferred method.While the player may face the Kingpin and his bodyguards at any time, they can improve their chances of taking out the Kingpin by facing and defeating the various Generals responsible for certain aspects of the Kingpin's offense and defense, removing them from play.For example, by eliminating a gang's weapon dealer, gang members will no longer be as heavily armed or will fire fewer shots to conserve ammunition; assassinating the gang recruitment officer similarly reduces the size of the Kingpin's protective force. It is at the player's discretion whether to kill the Generals or skip them entirely before facing the Kingpin.However, the gangs cannot be completely eradicated from the city without tracking down and killing all Generals and Kingpins.

Much like other sandbox games, the player mainly uses melee attacks, guns, and explosives to fight the opposing forces, and can run, climb buildings, jump across rooftops, or use vehicles to navigate the city. Crackdown features a series of character-based skills that can be upgraded to increase specific traits that can be used in combat, driving, or on-foot agility. These skills include: "Agility", which increases the Agent's ability to jump and run; "Driving", affecting how well he can handle a vehicle; "Explosives", which affects the power of explosive weapons; "Strength" that increases the Agent's strength, namely by increasing his ability to lift and throw, as well as how hard he can strike an opponent; and "Firearms", which improves the character's aptitude with weapons. Crackdown's skills make few concessions to realism: character abilities are similar to those of comic book superheroes or cartoon characters. This concept is further highlighted by the comic book-like graphics.

Skills are generally improved gaining experience spheres, which are released from defeated enemies. The type of Orb released varies, depending on how the player sent the enemy; for example, kill an enemy with a gun will earn balls firearms, while their performance on a vehicle earns driving balls. More powerful enemies release more experience spheres. However, spheres of ability are assigned differently: can be earned by both climbing buildings and tries them on rooftops, or killing an enemy from high altitude. The player can also compete in "races" roof -a race through a series of waypoints on the roofs of Pacific City-or racing to get the agility and spheres, respectively. Few special balls, well hidden, increase all character abilities when found. One last way to collect balls is first gaining successes of Xbox Live, which rewards the player with balls of each skill category. Each skill has five levels, -Start with zero stars, and ends with four-with a numeric indicator on the display to indicate how close the player is to the next level. If the character dies, or injure civilians or agency peacekeepers, their experience increase will be slowed, making it temporarily more difficult to improve the traits of the character.

The set of Pacific City can be explored from the beginning of the game, allowing the player to find the hiding of each General and Kingpin, which can be made easier by accessing the delivery points scattered around the city. Once a supply point is unlocked, the player has the opportunity to return there to travel to any other point of supply, supply weapons and ammunition, or go down the newly acquired weapons, to add them permanently to their selection of weapons. If the player dies, they can respawn in any open power point. During the exploration, the player is likely to run into enemy resistance, with aggression based on how bad the player has damaged that particular recently bandwidth, similar to the "desired level" system for police use in Grand Theft Auto 3. If the player is too aggressive against non-resident band of Pacific City, including peacekeeping forces, they are labeled as rogue, and the agency hit teams are dispatched to bring them down.

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