Released on August 25, 2010, CrimeCraft has been advertised as a Persistent World Next-Generation Shooter, which is actually nothing more than a fancy way of saying Shooter MMORPG Game. It focuses on instanced battles between relatively small teams of players, so that pretty much covers the “Next-Generation” part. I wasn’t able to identify the features that make up the persistent world, but maybe the concept is somehow still open to debate. What I did find is a rich and interesting multiplayer game with a social hub, living under the false impression that it’s an MMORPG.
Wrapping your head around the game’s plot takes about two and a half seconds: in the near future we run out of oil and all the economic and social structures collapse, governments dissolve, and cities or whole regions are now ruled by crime syndicates or corporations. The world turns overnight into a harsh, unforgiving place, governed by one simple rule: survival of the fittest. You are a refugee, you came from the wastelands, you own nothing more than the clothes on your back and you are looking to make it big in Sunrise City. As you claw your way up the food chain of this gang ruled haven you inevitably leave a trail of dead bodies behind you, either those of other players or of NPCs.
Don’t expect to have this murderous rampage happening in an open world environment. CrimeCraft is so heavily instanced that at some point you end up wondering what’s so massive about its multiplayer. Every single PVE mission is an instanced scenario, every single PVP encounter is the same and all these tiny satellites revolve around one big happy peaceful hub which is Sunrise City. If that somehow fits the definition of an MMO then I guess Half Life Counterstrike was and still is one of the biggest Online MMORPG Games on the market. And if the relevant difference between them is the social hub, then I guess any game out there featuring an online multiplayer option is just one step away from achieving an MMO status. Or maybe it’s the PVE that makes the difference?
Player vs. environment in CrimeCraft is actually nothing more than a nuisance. Most of the encounters are randomized bot fights that give you no feeling of accomplishment or progression and boss fights are ridiculously non-challenging. Winning a PVE encounter is just a matter of superior firepower and doesn’t involve any kind of planning or strategic thinking. If you are coming to CrimeCraft from an MMORPG Game in which dungeons or instanced PVE encounters in general are about coordination and timing, and where bosses have stages and react differently depending on your actions, then you are in for a really unpleasant surprise. There is nothing remotely similar in CrimeCraft from this point of view and everything its PVE has to offer is a short burst of fun followed by dreadful, boring hours of grinding. Unfortunately you can’t simply ignore the PVE aspects of the game and that’s because most of the materials used for crafting come from the loot gathered from such encounters. There are four crafting roles you can choose from: tailor, gunsmith, engineer and chemist, and each allows you to create items ranging from weapons and armor to boosts and mods that significantly influence your character’s performance. So even if the only thing you’re interested in is player vs. player combat, you still need to focus a bit on PVE every once in a while.
CrimeCraft’s PVP is contrasting with the game’s other elements because this is where the game manages to shine and impress. It’s simple, addictive and fun. Also, the above comparison of CrimeCraft with HL CS was not random and that’s because for the first time in many years I felt again the importance of team play in a shooter game. It doesn’t matter if you are spectacularly skilled at pointing and clicking, if you have no team support chances are you’re going to fail. Sure, a player can dramatically influence the outcome of a PVP battle, but an organized team of players that coordinate with each other and rapidly adapt to different battle situations will always have the upper hand no matter how skilled the individuals in the opposing team are. Your character level is also important in such encounters, but again, it will only significantly matter in one vs. one. With a decent matchmaking system the PVP battlegrounds are almost immediately accessible, thus allowing every newcomer to instantly tap into the game fun resources. Later in the game you can join a gang or you can gather your friends and create your own, and this way you’ll be able to access gang battles in which teams of players fight for server supremacy.
Characters in CrimeCraft are not limited by classes and everyone can access the same skills. Some of them have level requirements, but at maximum level there is no skill that you can’t train. Having almost no limitations, the system allows you to transform your character into a killing machine perfectly matched to your own personal play style. It also allows you to approach the game in different ways just by playing around with your active skills. So in one match you can combine a sniper rifle with some proximity mines, in the second one you can go all out and blast your enemies to pieces with an RPG, and finally in the third you can stealth your way behind enemy lines and score some melee kills. And these are just a few examples of what can be achieved with CrimeCraft’s character development system – you can combine skills in much more creative ways than the ones described above and try to offer your enemies an unpleasant surprise as a result. It’s all up to you, just keep in mind that when it comes to grenades you don’t need to aim or think, you just need to spam them as much as possible and preferably get out of the blast radius (that’s how overpowered/realistic they are).
For such a serious and bloody game, CrimeCraft is surprisingly colorful, especially when it comes to character clothing, weapon effects and Sunrise City’ décor. Since many of the maps available are focused more on grays and browns, you’ll learn to appreciate the resulting high contrast between the backgrounds and your targets. In the animations department however, CrimeCraft isn’t that impressive. Many of them look rough and unrealistic, and tent to tread on your patience after a while.
Currently the game is almost entirely free to play, supported mainly by a micro-transaction system. There are certain parts of the game that you can’t access for free and you need to pay for them individually. CrimeCraft also comes with a subscription option that gives you automatic access to many of its “pay2play” features, but I suggest trying the game first before going for a monthly plan. For a regular game with a rich multiplayer option, CrimeCraft is a must have, but if you look at it as being an Online MMORPG Game, then I’m sorry to say, but it doesn’t even rise up to the basic level of the definition.
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