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CrimeCraft: Shooting Up the Streets

Jim H. Moreno | 29 Oct 2009 21:56
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It's all happening so fast. Another MMORPG on the market, wanting your monthly dime. Bankrupt players, corrupt and hacked accounts, role-players, the lag: MMORPGs rule the gaming streets now, and if you don't join with one today, there will be another one tomorrow.

Okay, I'm mainly just poking fun at the genre. Many people have the impression that a new MMOG is released every month, and isn't much more than a mirror image of the last one released. However, a recent few new MMORPGs have been hinting at a change on the horizon. There is a subtle/obvious shift away from the predominant sword-and-sorcery fantasy genre to other styles. Many of these new styles may be renowned IPs, with previous computer and console games already on the market, but others are original - or at least incorporating a fresh insight into some old tried-and-true methods.

CrimeCraft is one such game, with its twist on mixing classic MMORPG elements (leveling, skills, and crafting, for example) with some more current gaming trends (achievements, free-to-play and premium account options). CrimeCraft then spices it all up with quick and easy modes of play, and a suitable number of storyline missions and satisfying twitch-play combat. If you can turn a somewhat blind eye to the real-world ads which proliferate throughout the game, then CrimeCraft is yours for the taking.

CrimeCraft is set in an alternate-reality America where ecological disasters and global catastrophes have devastated the U.S. economy, turning the nation into a hip-hop version of the Old West. Gangs are the primary means of survival within and without the protective walls of Sunrise City, your current home. Inside the wall, citizens attempt to eke out an incredibly meager existence however they can, and as the saying goes, there's safety in numbers. A weak alliance between six of the major gang leaders and what remains of a struggling City Municipality is the only thing that keeps some semblance of order within the city. These same organizations are the only ones that can hold off the crush of depravity encroaching upon the city, but even they need help. That's where you come in.

Upon creating your character from some very basic physical option, you enter Sunrise City and go about the usual MMORPG flair of learning the ropes. NPC shopkeepers and citizens give you missions, ATMs act as your character banks, pay phones allow you to choose from a host of jobs for earning rep with the various gang houses, sidewalk mailboxes are available for your delivery needs, and you may even read up current events by retrieving a newspaper from one of their stands. The majority of the shops are closed, yet enough remain in operation for you to ply your mercantile skills in one of the four crafting professions: engineer, chemist, gunsmith, or tailor. Gangs are CrimeCraft's version of guilds, and though you can play solo, creating or joining a gang is where your skills as a pimping criminal will pay off. For that, you'll have to hazard life outside the city wall and participate in combat matches.

Combat in CrimeCraft comes in both PvP and PvE modes, and is further divided into unique themed areas, each with their own set of game mechanic rules - Turf War, Snatch N' Grab, Robbery, Shootout, Riot, Safeguard, and Stockpile. Talking to the guards who man the secured entry points around Sunrise City can get you into these matches. Or you can join from the very easy to use user interface, where you can keep an eye on how many players are in each match. Or, and here's one of the beauty elements of CrimeCraft, you can simply hit the 'P' key, which triggers Quick Play, instantly dropping you in queue for a random match. Literally, within two minutes of starting the game, you can be in a match, and you can do this from anywhere in the city! Try doing that on World of Warcraft.

Combat Matches are where you will spend the better part of your time in the game, especially since that is where all the Jobs (achievements) and many Missions will send you. As mentioned earlier, using any of the pay phones scattered around the city's three subway-linked districts (Midtown, Downtown, and Oceanside) will connect you with the gang houses and tasks for earning rep with them. They mostly award XP and money, but also give out various crafting items. The game tracks the Jobs selected and completed for you, and does a good job of letting you know when you have a Job accomplished.

Missions are gathered from NPCs, and from the start seem more like helping you get the lay of the land, in that they send you on a lot of 'go see so-and-so here' quests. That's not a bad thing, though, as there are many NPCs you will need to know the location of, like the various craft and skill trainers, shopkeepers and item vendors, black market trader, and pawnbroker (CrimeCraft's version of the auction house). Speak to the Gang Manager to start your own gang, and when you and your gang have reached sufficient level, you can speak to a Gang House Manager to buy a gang hideout.

Vogster Entertainment is further setting CrimeCraft apart from the creeping mass of MMORPGs by billing it as a Persistent World Next-gen Shooter (PWNS). Whatever name they call it, it has many of the elements needed for solid and fun gameplay. Add to that their partnership with MMA World Champion Jens 'Lil Evil' Pulver (managed by Brian Butler of SuckerPunch Entertainment), who will soon be in game as an NPC, and possibly as a Boss in one of the matches. Also, the game recently added its first major update, which "included new subscription models, the addition of an unlimited free trial, and many other perks and features, including a special title of Original Gangster for those that purchased the game prior to the update."

The potential is here, with more incoming, for CrimeCraft to steal many hours of your MMORPG game time away, but only if you have the guts, and the guns. Because in CrimeCraft, you'll need both.

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