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This is my Crackdown review. I wrote it kind of quickly (I'm not getting paid for this ya know!!), but it's still readable for sure. So what do you guys think? Agree? Disagree?
You know, Crackdown has been touting its great use of memory and lack of pop-in as one of the major strengths of the game, so I decided to do some testing tonight and came away with some disappointing results. My first test was to sit at an intersection and pile up the cars so I could make them explode.
This simple task revealed two problems. The first is that cars do indeed disappear by looking away from them. After stacking about 3 to 4 cars, I went to get another one and when I turned around 1 had disappeared. You could eventually stack a decent number, but the disappearing got worse so it made it a much tougher task than it should have been.
The second problem was that there is a noticeable pop-in with cars and pedestrians, and I found some evidence the draw distance may not be real. I ended up deciding to do the car stacking thing in the middle of the road at night. So I sat their waiting for cars...nothing came. I thought maybe it was just because it was night and there were less cars, but even then the problems started cropping up. I would look one way, and cars almost always came from where I wasn't looking, even if there had been no cars there when I was looking 3 seconds ago. Also, I would see headlights in the distance that would move towards me, but never get to me. They would either disappear, or just get stuck in one place. This may be because they aren't actual interactable cars, but just a moving background leading you to believe there is a good draw distance.
The last test I tried was one the develpers had talked about a few times, which was to fill a dumpster with dead bodies and either throw it off a building or cause it to explode. However, I couldn't get that far. After putting about about 8-10 bodies in the dumpster, which was barely enough to cover the bottom, the problems started. The problems were bodies either going right through the dumpster and never going in, or the bodies hitting an invisible wall and never actually able to enter the dumpster. So I don't know if the devs had some sort of trick, but I just couldn't get a reasonable amount of bodies in the dumpster.
So I don't hate Crackdown, I actually think it's a pretty fun game. I'm just pointing out some things that really disappoint me about the game, and are areas where I feel I was mislead by the devs. In fact, given a few scale-backs, I could easily see this as an Xbox 1 game. Does that make it a bad game, no, but certainly not one I'm going to spend $60 on.
Too much time on my hands today I know:
10) Bioshock - This seems like a pretty low spot on the list for such a high profile game, but I was one of the few that thought the gameplay trailer was just OK. The AI seems interesting, but not unpredictable, and the combat looks pretty standard. I can't wait to see how it turns out though, and I hope it proves me wrong.
9) Spiderman 3 - I LOVE superhero games, and especially so now that they have been given GTA style treatment. There is just something about having a sandbox experience with your favorite superhero that appeals to me more than most games. The problem here is we know next to nothing about this game, except it will have a much better looking character model, and they have spent A LOT of money making sure you can play it no matter what gaming system you own. Hopefully, we'll see great graphics and a huge open environment, but most of all I hope they find a way to really put a next-gen stamp on the swinging mechanic.
8 ) NBA 2k8 - I have no idea how they plan to 1-up themselves after the fantastic NBA 2k7 offering, but I have faith in them and will be waiting anxiously to see what they come up with.
7) Halo 3 - Not a big fan of the Halo series, but it's almost impossible to not be excited about this game in some form or another. It is Microsofts big gun right now, and being the last traditional Halo game in the series, here's hoping Bungie is pulling out all the stops.
6) Brothers in Arms Hells Highway - Absolutely FANTASTIC gameplay trailer at E3. This game is looking fantastic, promising great physics, dynamic animations, open-city environments, and the same strategy based gameplay we have all come to know and love. I actually see potential game of the year for this one, and in 2007 that's saying a lot!
5) Alone in the Dark - This game is all hype right now, but there are few games I'm this excited to see how they turn out. It's structured like a TV show in videogame form, with episodes that each have a beginning and an end, but that also fit into a larger storyline and leave cliffhangers leading into the next episode. Still, there are a variety of unknowns, such as how long will each episode be and are they going to be distributed via Xbox Live? If so, how often? Are we going to have to wait three or four months to deal with every cliffhanger? How much will they cost? I realize this game could very well be one of the worst of 2007, but if somehow they manage to live up to the promises, it could be one of the defining games of this generation, an example of true innovation.
4) Indiana Jones - In terms of technology, this could turn out to be the most next-gen game of 2007. Powered by the new Digital Molecular Matter engine, which gives objects in the game real world characteristics, it may end up having the best physics and destructability put on the 360 to date. If it was just DMM and that fact that it was an Indiana Jones game, that may be enough, but it is also sporting a new technology called Euphoria. This engine eliminates mo-capped animations altogether, and instead implements an AI system complex and deep enough to determine animations on the fly to adapt to any situation. The early video of Indiana Jones throwing a thug against a car and seeing all the different reactions from something so simple is more than enough to convince me.
3) GTA IV - Nuff said.
2) Mass Effect - In an epic battle for the #1, Mass Effect was just barely edged out by Assassins Creed. We all know this game will have a great dialogue system and story, but I'm still not convinced on the combat and technology. Bioware is trying to cram an awful lot into one game, but since KOTOR is probably my favorite game of all time, I will still trust this game is going to be as good as they say it is. Still, if I see KOTOR-style load times again, I will be extremely disappointed.
1) Assassins Creed - Crowd gameplay, hundreds and hundreds of animaitons, completely scalable buildings, environmental destructability, realistic sword gameplay, the ability to choose how you want to play missions, a complex storyline, absolutely fantastic graphics, open world environment....when does this game come out again?
What are yours?
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