Monday, October 27, 2008

I Am The Law (You Won't Fuck Around No More)

The title is a lyric from the Anthrax song I Am The Law, referring to Judge Dredd, but it is also a nice fit for Crackdown. Check the lyrics:
Fifteen years in the academy,
He was like no cadet they'd ever seen.
A man so hard, his veins bleed ice,
And when he speaks he never says if twice.
They call him Judge, his last name is Dredd,
So break the law, and you wind up dead.
Truth and justice are what he's fighting for,
Judge Dredd the man, he is the law.

With gun and bike he rules the streets,
And every perp he meets will taste defeat.
Not even Death can overcome his might,
Cause Dredd and Anderson, they won the fight.
When the Sov's started the Apocalypse war,
Mega-City was bombed to the floor.
Dredd resisted, and the judges fought back,
Crushed the Sov's with their counter-attack.

Respect the badge - he earned it with his blood.
Fear the gun - your sentence may be death because...
And you won't fuck around no more - I AM THE LAW!
I judge the rich, I judge the poor - I AM THE LAW!
Commit a crime I'll lock the door - I AM THE LAW!
Because in Mega-City... I AM THE LAW!

In the cursed earth where mutants dwell,
There is no law, just a living hell.
Anarchy and chaos as the blood runs red,
But this would change if it was up to Dredd.
The book of law is the bible to him,
And any crime committed is a sin.
He keeps the peace with his law-giver,
Judge, jury, and executioner.


CRIME - The ultimate sin,
Your iso-Cube is waiting when he brings you in.
LAW - It's what he stands for,
Crime's his only enemy and he's going to war!

CRIME - The ultimate sin,
Your iso-Cube is waiting when he brings you in.
LAW - It's what he stands for,
Crime's his only enemy and he's going to war!

Apparently Drokk is a curse word in Mega-City, according to Urban Dictionary.

But yeah, this pretty much sums up a lot of what Crackdown is about: busting heads for great justice, due process be damned. And it's AWESOME. I can't remember the last time I had this much fun in one of these open-world sandbox games. The entire GTA series (yeah, including IV) feels like a run-up to a game like this in terms of sheer playability. Crackdown doesn't have the razor wit or characters you half give a shit about that GTA does, but it more than makes up for it with it's car-throwing, building-leaping, orb-finding superhero cop gameplay.

There's no bullshit here. No cutscenes, only the barest attempt at a plot, no annoying mission structure requiring you to do A, B, and C before D, and hence no annoying re-starting long-ass driving missions and skipping through the cutscenes just to get to the one staged chase that you keep getting fucked up on by street traffic. Death isn't a huge setback; in fact when you die you get to choose which spawn point in the city you want to start back at, and since they double as supply points, you get to reselect your weapons loadout, too. You have assassination targets that you are free to tackle in any order you wish, but taking down sub-bosses before each gang's leader helps by knocking out the gang's access to better cars, weapons, training, and the like. You aren't even limited to one part of the city at the start; you can go everywhere, but the 'more advanced' districts have tougher gangs. It's eminently playable.

One of the things that make it so much fun is the skill growth. You have 5 main skills: agility, driving, strength, and explosives. They go up by use, basically, but also by doing cool things using them, like finding orbs around the city hidden in little cubby holes or on top of tall buildings, or completing races or just by blowing stuff up. Agility is the most fun, because for each level it goes up, you can jump 5 feet higher. I spend as much time on the roofs in this game as I did in Assassin's Creed. Strength is also cool because you get to where you can pick up big concrete pipes or thugs' cars and hurl them across the city from on top of the nearest big building. Explosive skill widens the area of effect of grenades, rockets, barrels, and such.

Doesn't that sound incredible? I sat down with it the first night at 8 or 9 and I was up until 4 the next morning. Then I got up the next day and I had to tear myself away from the game so we could go run some errands. It's got that same 'just-one-more-little-thing' hook that I talked about with Assassin's Creed, but I think this is even better. Guns and explosions are more fun than swords and knives, but also the amazing mobility of your agent 1-up's Altair's parkour and climbing skills. Also like AC (and again, better), are the scavenger hunt items. Flags in AC didn't amount to shit aside from achivement points. The orbs in Crackdown up your skills little by little as you find them, meaning that you can then reach higher ones, and higher, etc. AC has a better plot, and better style, not to mention amazing graphics, but like with GTA, Crackdown just has more fun per cubic inch of the world. Check it out.


Greg said...

Lol, old Anthrax. I had that album...

I almost bought Crackdown a couple of times but have abstained since I've never really been an open world gamer.

Count Elmdor said...

I can't play too many of them because it's easy to get burnt out on the free form, lack of direction thing. I was blown away (like everyone) by GTA III, and I really liked Vice City, and completed both of those. San Andreas was just too long and sprawling, and I had to give it up. GTA IV is good, but I dropped it when I got stuck at some mission around 30% in. I'll probably go back and play more later sometime.

I was reading last night that the guy who founded the developer who made Crackdown is actually the guy that created GTA, David Jones. It's strange because they don't seem to have a lot in common aside from the open world nature. The skill system is kinda-sorta like the one in San Andreas, too, I guess. Stylistically, though, they're pretty different (now). GTA IV sort of got all realistic looking, but Crackdown ran with the more cartoonish look of the PS2 GTA games.

Anyway; you didn't like Oblivion? Assassin's Creed? I saw that you played them, but only got one or two achievements. What about Fallout 3?

I'm a big fan of Oblivion... 70 some hours on my save and nowhere near done with it. I think I'll go back and 'finish' it sometime before I get Fallout.

Necovia said...

Hey dude,

Yeah, Realtime Worlds was founded by the guy that started DMA design (Later Rockstar North). They also created Lemmings, Body Harvest, and Space Station Silicon Valley, if I recall.

Hey man, Maruan wants to play Rock Band, and I'm working on getting all the instruments.

If you can find a 30 dollar or less copy of the Rock Band 1 for the 360, would you mind bringing that with you, too? If it's any trouble, forget it.



Greg said...

I like Oblivion but it is so massive that I keep putting off playing it!! I think I only played it long enough to get that first achievement.

Ass Creed (as you call it) seemed cool. I bought it when the price dropped and popped it into my machine just to give it whirl.

I intend to go back to those games someday. For now I'll keep getting my ass handed to me trying to complete levels on veteran difficulty in Call of Duty 2.

Count Elmdor said...

Cool, should be able to find RB1 for about $30ish, no prob. Great game.

I wanted to play some more Crackdown tonight, but I got a disc with 4 eps of the Wire season 4 I had to knock out and send back to Netflix. I'm trying to polish off all 5 before flying out to Japan.

Necovia said...

Yeah, dude, the Wire is an amazing, amazing show. It goes beyond television. It's literary genius. And half the cast is British!