The first thing I want to do when hearing about a game's poor quality is try it myself. I've found that unless the complaints specify performance issues, the real problem is that the gameplay just didn't mesh well with the person issuing the complaint. Often, those folks talk in general specifics like "Everyone hates the skillsets" or "No one liked that last patch." Gamers are great at declaring what "everyone" likes or dislikes, as though they have access to information that not even the developers themselves have. A good rule of thumb is that the more a player mentions "everyone," the more he is probably wrong.
CrimeCraft is one of these games, but for different reasons. As I asked around about the game, most people I heard from simply complained about its resemblance to the original All Points Bulletin. And since APB had issues, surely CrimeCraft must as well. Players also commented on how they heard it was busted or that didn't play well at all or that it was just a really bad game.
So I had to dig in. What did I find? Click past the cut and I'll tell you.
First of all, the game is as much like APB as any shooter is. Quite frankly, in the world of shooters, the only real differences are the planet the game is set on and what version of shotguns are available. Shooters are about as varied as RTS games are. Yes, there are a few wonderful examples like Global Agenda that attempt to do something a bit different and fun, but overall, the world of shooters does not impress me.
So how do we explain the phenonomal success of FPS games? Well, pointing a gun and shooting at something, often resulting in spectacular explosions or blood splatter, is something primitively satisfying to a lot of people. No, I do not believe that playing FPS games results in a more violent gamer. It's more likely that playing FPS games results in marathon sessions of playing them, spurring on various related health issues for marathon gamers. FPS gamers can zone out and shoot each other for hours and hours on end, sort of like raiding with a gun, endlessly repeating the same content until their kills outweigh their deaths.
CrimeCraft seems to follow this same formula of rinse-and-repeat, but it does offer enough variety between the scenarios to keep a player entertained. You start out in a typical session of "shoot the enemies" and learn how to play the game, then you're moved into a second newbie tutorial area that you cannot leave until you complete every single mission.
This is where the game starts to fail. Yes, I appreciate the fact that the game wants me to go out into the "real world" with the knowledge and materials I need to survive, but having my escape hinge on completing every mission -- especially when some missions are poorly tunes -- is just a mistake. I played and enjoyed most of the instanced mission-matches, and I did pretty well. In typical FPS style, I would be gunned-down just to wake up seconds later, but I found the challenges to be mostly entertaining. Once I got to what I thought was the last mission of the second newbie tutorial area, though, I was stuck.
I was sent into a museum setting and told to destroy six different caches of information. Sure, the first through fourth pieces were hard to get to, but the last were frustratingly hard to get to. It was obvious that the mission was meant for several players to tackle together. While the game's automatic grouping mechanic worked well most of the time, there were simply not enough people on to form an adequate group, or worse, players would just drop out before the mission ended.
So at the time of this writing I am still stuck in the newbie area. I've attempted to play the last mission about six times now, and each time it's resulted in my being killed before I can burn all of the evidence. Is the game fun enough to make me want to defeat the mission and move on? Sort of, and I've yet to just try to form a group myself to take it on.
Graphically, the game is beautiful and runs great. Of course, it's not like we haven't seen blown out buildings and thugs with baseball caps in FPS games before. Does it look like APB? Yes, as much as APB looked like every other gritty, crime-based shooter. We've seen it all before. Customization is limited at first but does seem to open up later in the game as you can buy clothes and materials. The character models look good, but we've seen all of this before, too. All of the guys are thuggish-looking snarlers, and there's plenty of stereotypical gangsta chatter going on between all of them. There's talk about "respect" and lots of cheesy heavy metal -- you know, typical FPS fare. And yes, you too can play a female character who literally hangs her rear out of her miniskirt or parades around in a biniki while shooting things in the face. Design like this is not even offensive anymore... it's just tired.
Still, the free-to-play nature of the game is worth noting. The combat is fun and works well, with guns that recoil and not too much of the insane, over-the-top blood splatter popular in other games trying to prove their street cred. It's fun to jump in and shoot things for a while, and I bet it's even more fun while out in the "real world," but in the short time I played the game, I just could not get there. I'll probably try some more, simply because I want to see how open the "real world" is, but overall, I'd say pick up Global Agenda or wait for APB to be re-released if you are in need of some MMO-flavored shooting action.
Next week we will be looking at an older, and possibly abandoned, game called Minions of Mirth. I wanted to give it one last shot before finally marking it off my list, so join me in game.
Each week, Rise and Shiny asks you to download and try a different free-to-play, indie or unusual game, chosen by me, Beau Hindman. I welcome any suggestions for games -- drop me a note in the comments or email! You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Raptr!