Dan says that Crackdown isn't an unmitigated disaster—I disagree. For a game that received crazy amounts of hype prior to release and was even granted the coveted honor of being host to the Halo 3 beta, it's an embarrassing, incomplete, and hopelessly botched attempt by a developer that either has no idea what they're doing, or lacked the time, talent, and/or resources to bring their concept to fruition.
In my review of Mercenaries, I wondered if it wasn't time to drop the plots entirely from open-concept action games. Let the player run around with a gun, going nuts. I'll be the first to admit that it was a terrible idea. In my defense, though, it was meant as an ironic comment about the poor quality of videogame stories, not an honest call for their removal. Realtime Worlds seems to have run with the concept, though, and the result, while entertaining for a little while, is for the most part an awkward, incomplete mess.
Game Description:Crackdown pushes the action-driving hybrid genre into the next generation with the first ever truly 3D playground. Gamers will enforce justice by any means necessary in Pacific City, a crime-ridden urban center built to encourage the exploration of the full width, depth and height of the city. Coupled with highly innovative co-op gameplay—a genre first—and an interactive world where nearly anything can be used as a weapon, gamers will be able to create a volatile cocktail of judicial oppression as they clean up the streets.
The successful balance between exciting innovation and comfortable familiarity is a delicate one. It's true that large doses of creativity can sometimes lead an otherwise solid project wildly awry, but on the other hand, there's little value in rehashing ideas and not going far enough. In the case of Just Cause, the developers have innovated with one shining addition, but otherwise let the scales weigh heavily with well-trodden material.
Game Description: In Just Cause, you take on the role of the flamboyant Rico Rodriguez—a specialist in regime change. The island of San Esperito is suspected of stockpiling WMDs and it's your job to negate the threat to world peace. This little tropical paradise is about to implode as various factions vie for power. Play the island's factions off against one another; incite a rebellion among the masses; or build alliances with rebel forces and drug cartels. Explore over 250,000 acres of mountains, jungles, beaches, cities, and villages. The island can be explored by land, sea, and air—at your disposal is one of the most varied and exciting array of vehicles ever seen in a video game. Wealth of missions side-missions, bonus missions, and many more—plenty of action throughout the islands Your support team, Sheldon and Kane, provide you with reconnaissance info, extraction and vehicle drops.
On a September 2004 episode of X-Play on the G4 Tech TV cable network, Way of the Samurai 2 was reviewed and given the negative rating of two out of five stars. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, what I found particularly disturbing was this comment: "The open ended gameplay is similar to Grand Theft Auto 3 (GTA3), but at times feels too loose." Why did X-Play decide the two were similar in gameplay?
After reading Scott's main review for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, I wondered what I could possibly add. Scott's writing is always a tough act to follow, and he covered it all— gameplay, story, sociological aspects, role-playing elements, and even the optional cornrows. I agreed with everything he touched on, so I sat down looking for words I could say that he didn't. It was tough, but eventually I did come up with something—"ten."
That funeral scene, along with a touching moment when a grieving son walks into his now empty childhood home and looks at his dead mother's photograph, are surprisingly emotional moments, moments that had me checking the disc to make sure that I'd loaded up the right game. Has GTA gone all Dr. Phil on me?
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