Wanted for breaking the law: Vogster's CrimeCraft


***NOTICE TO ALL GAMERS***

FROM: The Joystiq Office of Law Enforcement
RE: Vogster's CrimeCraft, a "persistent world next-gen shooter" due out August 25th.

Attention: CrimeCraft is to be considered armed and dangerous, and should not be approached in a video game store. Stay away at all costs.

Last seen location: E3 2009, in the Vogster booth.


Wanted for:
  • Breaking the laws of game design. CrimeCraft's controls are floaty and difficult to use (an especially heinous crime in a shooter), and the interface is confusing (one of the four "Skills" tables -- where you can spend points to increase your character's ability with things like "Firearms" and "Explosives" -- is named "Skills"). In fact, it seems the developers have spent more time worrying about how to deliver ads in the game than the actual interface itself: all of the various billboards in the cities can contain real ads, and Marc Ecko has made a big deal to offer both ads and licensed in-game items, while Best Buy has made a deal to sell the game exclusively at retail, and gotten their customers "discounts" on ingame items.
  • Extremely poor AI. The PvE content is hard to find (even the person demoing the game to us had to ask someone else exactly which icon to click on -- "I think it's a shield. Wait, what about the briefcases?" -- and if they can't find it, how can players?), and when you do finally get in there, the AI bots mindlessly run back and forth in front of you. In fact, they'd be easy to kill -- if they didn't respawn in the strangest places. They pop into places you've just cleared out, and will even spawn into being right in front of you.
  • For spoiling a good idea. PvP is actually kind of fun -- the game plays like a pretty generic shooter, and there are a few different maps and gametypes to choose from, including standard deathmatch, capture the points, and robbery, where there are two safes at either end of the battlefield full of cash that both teams have to try to steal from each other. But in the game we played, there was no matchmaking to speak of (the game put a level 10 and a 36 up against a level 3 and a 5), and even if the shooter played well, the rest of the game didn't offer nearly enough to prop it up. Why play a marginally good shooter in CrimeCraft's PvP mode when you can play any number of great shooters on consoles or PC?
Other infractions: There is no overarching story or drive to play PvE or PvP matches. Loot is strangely not rewarded until the end of a match -- in bot play, you can pick up loot (the loot system is a very poor ripoff of that other "Craft" game), but even then, you have to wait until the end of the match to open up the crates you've picked up and see what you've won. While the version we played was still in beta, it's doubtful they'll have time to fix half of the issues we saw before August. And since we're racking up the violations, there's no cover system. That last one's forgivable, but how do you release a third-person shooter in 2009 without a cover system? It's a crime, if you ask us.

If encountered: Avoid at all costs. Patient gamers can wait for APB, Global Agenda, The Agency, or any other upcoming cross-genre action/shooter MMO-style games. CrimeCraft needs to be cuffed, put in the squad car, and driven away.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.