What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this video game is laden with inappropriate content for kids. It earns a "Mature" rating for its intense violence, blood, and gore, and the ability to shoot or drive over whomever you like or throw them off ledges. Some may be offended by the stereotypical rival gangs -- there are Latino, Eastern European, and Asian organizations. Swearing includes "s--t," spewed by pedestrians you almost run over, and some displays of the middle finger. Characters use drugs, and the streets are full of prostitutes. The game offers online play.
What's it about?
Because of its explosive weapons, superhero-like powers and enormous 3-D city, CRACKDOWN can best be described as Grand Theft Auto (GTA) on steroids -- except now you're a genetically enhanced agent instead of a criminal. Sure, you can still carjack vehicles, shoot down gang members, and take on dozens of non-linear missions -- but you're discouraged from abusing your power, such as driving over innocent pedestrians. After you select from one of the available agents at the beginning of the game, and then choose your first vehicle in the Agency garage, you're introduced to the story surrounding three rival gangs who have turned Pacific City into an urban battleground. You also learn about the game's role-playing level-up feature that lets your character upgrade skills in five categories: agility, driving, explosives, strength, and weapons.
Is it any good?
Played from a third-person perspective, the game resembles a colorful graphic novel with its "cel-shaded" visual style. And more so than in GTA games, the Pacific City in Crackdown is quite vertical, so you will be able to climb, hang from, and scale walls, ledges, and boulders in order to best explore this huge city and perform the various missions. More than 100 licensed songs and surround-sound add to the overall immersion factor.
Have a friend on the Xbox Live network? Gamers can play online in an optional cooperative mode, allowing two agents on the scene at the same time.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about why these kinds of open-ended "sandbox" games are so appealing and how this game differs from the Grand Theft Auto titles. Do you like that you are an agent instead of a criminal? Do your agent's superpowers make the world he works in seem less real?