Culture

Mutant Crackdown

It’s time to crackdown on the lowlife scum of Pacific City. And by that I mean watch the prequel web comic produced by Microsoft for Crackdown 2. If you’re unfamiliar with the original, it was a functional, if noticeably jerky, open world action game. It had a pretty laughable co-op mode which was just ripe for goofing off, but it’s mostly footnoted as being the carrier for the Halo 3 beta – a mass market success that saw Crackdown shot up the charts.

Crackdown 2 (from Ruffian Games, some of the guys who brought you the original) is out in Europe today. So what better way to celebrate this year’s most likely candidate for the ‘sequel that never should have been’ by reviewing its animated backstory?

Seems themed gangs aren’t outlandish enough these days. Introducing Pacific City as once again becoming a haven for crime and civil unrest, the Crackdown 2 web comic aims to make its implausible plot something to buy into. There are mutants in Crackdown 2. Yes, angry, drooling, deformed mutants. It’s total B-movie cheese. The five episodes (written by Ed Campbell) don’t follow a linear narrative, but rather summarise a brief history of events, treating you as a law abiding citizen and vigilant eye of the Agency. Catalina Thorne and the Sunburst project are introduced as two objectives that will be central to the game, but true character is thin on the ground.

I did find the art style (by Alex Ronald) to be quite striking for what they’re going for – although it’s more vivid than the game’s cartoony art direction. The slight shaky cam effect also helps set the tone for the rough, urban wasteland that is presented.

If these episodes appeared as a series of public announcements they could easily be watched out of sequence and still be understood. That’s a testament to the fact that the Crackdown 2 web comic makes some positive use of its medium. However, its lack of character means motion comics like Metal Gear Solid: Digital Graphic Novel and Uncharted: Eye of Indra have the edge in terms of engagement. Like the game it’s based on, repeat viewings of this web comic will unearth little you haven’t already seen in one sitting.

2 thoughts on “Mutant Crackdown”

  1. madtyger says:

    I'm starting to think why video games don't translate over to other mediums well is because it's a video game. After watching a few video game movies (even ones I like), reading books, pursuing comics, and spending the money to pick up some motion comics – I've found that they all lack the one key reason I love video games – interaction. The thing that makes video game stories so compelling is your direct involvement. It's not like a movie where you are just along for the ride, video games actively involve you by making decisions, forming character attachments, and most of all immersing you in the world. Like a well-executed play, once you enter the theater, the real world disappears – video games too have that quality of keeping you completely within its world and story.

    Unfortunately, when you translate that over to something like a movie or book (especially without the quality work), you lose much of what makes video games special. Books should stay books, plays should stay plays, and video games should just stay video games. Maybe that would solve some of the mediocre works we've been getting lately.

  2. DK33 says:

    Quality is the main reason for these other interpretations of video games failing I think. I don’t see any need for there to be an Uncharted film as I’ve already got a cinematic and interactive experience from the games. WildStorm are coming out with a Ratchet & Clank comic soon, so I’d be interested to see what you think of that. I will get around to showcasing some regular comics, and ones which are far better in quite, as soon as I’m able.

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