Developed in the United States by Realtime Worlds
Published by Microsoft
Released in 2007 for the Xbox 360
Crackdown is a sterling rebuttal of everything that has gone awry with open-world games as played out through the “sprawling metropolis” variant, a game that ditches the intense urge to hoard property and collectibles and opts for carnage, carnage, and more carnage. Where similar games reward your behavior with the ire of the law and superfluous rewards, Crackdown encourages you to kill every criminal in sight. It’s Grand Theft Auto III meets Halo: Combat Evolved, and even finds room for platforming lessons later demonstrated in Mirror’s Edge, where finding your way up, around, and over buildings is half the fun. In using that blueprint, Crackdown gives you a simple task: Kill very important people with your absurdly overpowered skills and abilities. It issues this objective repeatedly. Yet, it never gets old, because the game never tells you how to approach a hit. And even when the game uses the cliche collection mechanics synonymous with the game model, they’re subverted through hilariously out-of-touch narration, make full use of the entertaining movement mechanics, and provide tangible, interesting benefits for player progress. Don’t be fooled by the simple premise: Crackdown is one of the best games of the seventh generation, and a standard-bearer for the city sandbox blueprint.