This "persistent world next-gen shooter" gets the shooting right but the "persistent world" part pretty wrong.
- Fun PVP multiplayer
- Lots of depth to the combat.
- Poor value for the money
- Little sense of immersion
- Poor PVE gameplay and questing
- In-your-face ads are prevalent.
When there's a single entity that dominates its niche as thoroughly as World of Warcraft dominates the massively multiplayer online game space, it's a daunting task to go head-to-head with it. Thus, a company that wants to get in on that massively multiplayer money needs to go to the margins and explore new gameplay styles and genres in order to interest players looking for something beyond the world of orcs versus humans. This has contributed to an exciting explosion of MMOGs for every taste and style. Vogster Entertainment was banking on this with CrimeCraft, an MMOG built around an enjoyable carnival of gunplay and mayhem. If CrimeCraft's world lived up to its aspirations, it might have become the "WoW alternative" one might expect from an MMOG with "Craft" in the title.
The basic premise is simple enough. A worldwide economic depression causes the collapse of civilization. The United States falls into anarchy with individual cities and regions controlled by warring corporations and the remnants of local municipal governments. The last remaining "free city" is Sunrise City. This former beach resort town, which resembles Miami, is run by an interlocking assembly of six rival gangs who keep the peace in the city center while defending it from the assaults of outsider gangs and other cities that constantly splash against the city walls. You play as a refugee from the wasteland looking to make a new life in Sunrise City and work your way up from the streets to the upper echelon of gang leadership.
Like Guild Wars, CrimeCraft is completely instanced; it's built around three city zones that act as game lobbies and social areas. These offer you the chance to load up with different weapons, weapon modifications, clothing, and accessories that give a variety of bonuses and special abilities. From these zones, you'll have access to a dozen or so maps that run the gamut from "industrial warehouse full of junk" and "dockyard full of junk" to "chemical plant full of junk." Once in these areas, you'll run and gun at other players wielding a variety of traditional shooter weapons. These range from pistols and shotguns to sniper rifles and rocket launchers. Given how much time you'll be spending in these areas, it's good that this player-versus-player portion of the game is its strongest attribute. While CrimeCraft is controlled from a third-person perspective and there's no jumping (bunny hopping is replaced with an equally effective roll maneuver), it shouldn't take long to get the hang of the game's slightly unusual skill requirements. You'll quickly be able to delve into the many nuances and strategic options that make the gameplay varied and quite interesting.
For example, crafting is built around four different professions (tailor, gunsmith, engineer, and chemist) that create upgrades, armor, boosts, and weapon mods that can significantly affect your killing power in combat. These items are created using crafting materials that drop in player-versus-environment instances and give even the hardest of hardcore PVPs a reason to occasionally get into a bot match. The game also offers variations on traditional shooter gameplay modes, including Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, and Assault and Defend on every map, which keeps the player base rotating through the different scenarios and the PVP from becoming stale. Even better, the PVP shooting is well balanced enough that despite the variety of weapons, boosts, and armor available, it's skill and teamwork much more than equipment and character level that separate the winners from the street meat. A level-20 character may not have an easy time against a level-40 character, but it's certainly possible for the 20 to take the 40 down, especially if the level-20 character works with a team.