Of course I’m talking about Crackdown, which was a free game from Microsoft for Gold Members last month. And yes, I may or may not have promised to play this game co-op, but honestly, I just wasn’t feeling it. It was a me-day, filled with laundry, football and relaxing. I played some games I’ve been trying to finish, none of which I haven’t already written about or was ready to write about just yet. I looked through my catalog/library of games, across all consoles and platforms, and nothing was feeling right. That’s when Crackdown came across my mind.
I’ve known from the start that this wasn’t a game I wanted to play start to finish, or feel the need to accomplish anything in it. It’s an older Xbox 360 games (2007!) and there are so many other games that are requiring my attention and free time currently. I haven’t even really heard of this game until recently, so for me, it was nothing I was ever missing or clamoring to ever play. It kind of just fell into my lap, and for this year long project, I have to accept those kinds of gifts from the heavens. Free games, especially competent, well-received, critically acclaimed ones, need to be played without question.
Remember, “free” equals no moral self-obligation to finish and complete.
So I played Crackdown, with no real basis for what I was getting in to, other than collecting orbs was something of a big deal within the game. I like going into games not knowing what to expect, as it makes the experience unique and memorable, for better or for worse. Turns out, this game was a lot like Saints Row or Grand Theft Auto, although more sci-fi than those franchises. Same basic principles are in place, however. Run around a big city, power up your character and defeat your adversaries. Sure, not exactly the same blueprints for all three games, but similar in feeling.
Crackdown relies heavily on collecting, however. The orbs are easily the most interesting thing in the game, as the encounters with enemies feels bland and repetitive after a while. Running, jumping and traverse the big, open world for orbs is what the game is all about, and as an avid collector (in real life and digitally), I could see where this could be an addicting thing. If it was still 2007.
I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but sometimes, games are just old. Trust me, I have been a huge proponent of video game history, nostalgia and virtual consoles. Despite this game only being six years old, compared to all the amazing games I have played recently, it just didn’t capture my interest or sense of wonderment. Maybe it’s because I went into the game with low expectations and a cynical outlook before I even started it up, but I just wasn’t feeling what everyone else seemed to.
Of course, I didn’t play it six years ago, when the rest of the world seemed to, so I have no emotional attachment to it playing it now. I wonder if everyone who has been enamored with this game recently, who seemed to play it back in the day, truly likes the game now, or if it is just the nostalgia taking control of the emotional connection to Crackdown. Compared to Saints Row IV or Grand Theft Auto V, this game can’t hold a candle to them, and offers so much less gameplay-wise than any game in 2013.
Trust me, before you get all up in arms, I can see why people liked this game, as the graphical style is great for 2007, the collection of orbs is fun and challenging and online co-op was a big deal back then. For me, however, it just didn’t grab me the way I secretly hoped it would.
Also, I have to note that while I appreciate Microsoft trying to go the PS Plus route of giving out free games on a monthly basis, they are so far behind in this game I almost wonder why they bother trying. I mean, they aren’t even really trying, as giving away six year old games twice a month isn’t exactly putting their service on par with PS+. Sony is offering several games a month, split between PS3 and the Vita, and most are relatively recent – compared to what Microsoft is offering up. Sure, it took a few years for Sony to get to this point with the service, but they also had no competition for this type of service at the time. They were able to leisurely get here, figuring out what works and doesn’t work along the way. Microsoft already has Sony to look at for an example of what works, so why they aren’t actively trying to challenge them monthly by what they are offering is mind-blowing. Is it arrogance, fear or ignorance? Or do they just not even care one way or the other?
Either way, if Microsoft ever wants to tout this benefit of being a Gold Member, they have to step up their game immediately. Until then, as long as fans of much older games are content with what they are getting, then I guess they don’t have to change a thing. Especially fans of Crackdown.
Sorry, everybody, who was expecting me to gush and glow over this game. It just didn’t do it for me. Besides, I have plans of grandeur for this week. You’ll understand soon enough.