Saturday, September 8, 2007

Listen up Agent!

Everyone's talking about Bioshock. They should be. Everyone but me that is. I'm making a conscious effort to avoid talking about it too much here just yet. I'm not sure there's any good reason for that, considering it's one of the best games I've played in years, but whatever.

What I'd like to talk about instead is a 7 month old game going by the name of Crackdown. Why? Because I'm still playing it. Frequently. This obviously speaks volumes about the quality of the game. I own better games than Crackdown. I've played other games more than Crackdown. I've beaten Half Life 2 at least 10 times, but this is different.

The funny thing about Crackdown, is that the game doesn't really present you with that much stuff to do. There is hardly any narrative to speak of, and what is there is just present as a canvas so the designers could paint a picture on something. The weird thing is that the game is as good as creative as you are. That was a weird sentence (I'm not even sure it qualifies for that word) but you get what I mean.

Crackdown gives you superhero like abilities, a bevy of large weapons, and then sets you loose. Want to gather 10 cars, pile them all on top of each other, then toss a grenade just to see how big the explosion would be? Do it. Maybe you should litter the pile with dead bodies, just to see how high you can get one to fly. Try to climb the largest tower in the city with the car that sticks to walls. Or just do what I do. Run around and cause as much mayhem as you possibly can. This, above all else, is where the experience shines.

The mayhem is just so satisfying. Explosions look great, sound great, feel great. It's fun to toss tow trucks, and semis at criminals, or to jump off a tall building to see if you can land on someones head.

I realize that it's strange that I'm essentially dedicating my first blog post to a fairly old new-gen game, and one that didn't make that much of a splash with the gaming community. Yes, it sold well. Quite well actually, but it didn't really add anything too groundbreaking to the burgeoning world of sandbox gaming. I think what surprises me most about the experience is that the games I most respect are the games that have a good story and tell them in mature ways. The Half Life's, the Deus Ex's, the System Shock's the Bioshock's The Neverwinter Nights'. These are the high art examples from the gaming world. Crackdown is a form of art, just not one that pushes the art world forward. But despite that, wow.

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