| Decent RPG/shooter hybrid mechanics
Low barrier to entry
Solid competitive and social features
| Prologue is mind numbingly dull
Terrible PvE content (including Bleedout)
PvP (The Mostly Good News)
Fortunately, PvP in CrimeCraft is pretty fun and there are five PvP modes to partake in, including Turf War (control points), Snatch ‘n’ Grab (CTF), Robbery (similar to CTF, players secure money from the enemy’s safe and return it to the base, with the amount of money depending on how long you are at the enemy safe), Shootout (Team Deatmatch), and Riot (Free For All). CrimeCraft also features daily tournaments, leaderboards, and Gang Wars (Gang vs. Gang). While all the aforementioned modes take place on mainly the same maps you’ll be traipsing through as you complete PvE content, they are much more fun to play in against other players. The maps are fairly well designed and laid out for PvP with numerous choke points, flanks, etc. And these are all crucial when creating maps for PvP play in a shooter. While the map rotation is fairly limited, there are a healthy amount of game types, and if Counter-Strike’s de_dust2 is any indication, it’s definitely quality not quantity when it comes to shooter maps.
It’s also fairly easy to get matched up with players of even-ish skill level, especially since you can tell at a glance through the game’s queue interface how overall difficult the makeup of an on-going match may be for you, as the UI places a rank alongside the available matches you can join.
The one standout problem with PvP in CrimeCraft is that you really need to do a lot of PvE to level up and get into it. While the game does a decent job of allowing you to play with like skill levels, trying to jump into PvP at level 1 or level 5 is probably not the best idea due to your poor gear and skill availability at the lower levels. I found that getting to around level 20 or so before jumping into PvP was probably the best idea, and that is a whole lot of PvE, especially if you aren’t using XP boosts available in the item shop and if you are playing as a Free player (subscribers get a significant XP boost).
And Then There’s Bleedout
Bleedout is the first “expansion” to CrimeCraft, and it is being released in episodic form (10 episodes, 6 of which are now available) on a week-to-week basis. Bleedout content is entirely PvE based and features a cohesive storyline centered around the game’s background story, which focuses on Sunrise City, a city run by criminals, and you’ll become quite familiar with the ins and outs of all the game’s criminal factions as you progress through the campaign. The storyline is B-Movie gangster stuff and each episode is bookended by well voiced and gorgeous motion comics that introduce and tie up the story of that particular episode while also providing a tease of the next upcoming episode.
Unfortunately, the motion comics are probably the best part of the Bleedout content. The missions themselves are just as inconsistent in challenge as the “Original Gangster” content, though they are much more cohesive and you don’t have to wait for other players to queue up for the map to do them. Starting a Bleedout mission is fairly quick and most of the time you will be alone, though sometimes players may randomly join you. The maps are not associated with modes but instead focus strictly on the mission objectives that take place in them. This means that another player might be on the same map as you, but may be doing a different part of the Bleedout campaign as most maps contain numerous objectives that you will complete upon revisiting them later on.
This touches on another problem with Bleedout, there are only a few new maps added to the game, and so a large percentage of the content takes place in maps you’ve already played in before, and the objectives are only slightly more interesting at times, with many of them being just as simple as the Original Gangster content.
One Bleedout mission had me wanting to throw my PC out my window, as the task involved me kidnapping an NPC and leading them out to the exit. That would be a simple enough objective in any other game, however, couple this with the way and rate the game spawns enemies and the fact the escort target regularly tried to break off and run away (back through the mobs that have now respawned), and you have a recipe for disaster. The only way to get the NPC to stop running away was to shoot him, all the while the other AI are shooting you and so is he. Solo, this means you end up dying a lot, and that means fighting your way back through all the mobs again to retrieve him and give it another go. The only way I was able to get him out was due to the fact he pathed outside near the exit area after one of my many deaths instead of going back up through the staircase I led him down. This allowed me to shoot him out in the open while he was all alone once I respawned and I then only had to lead him a short few feet to complete the mission.
The release of the Bleedout campaign also includes a number of other changes to CrimeCraft, including twice daily tournaments (previously once daily), the new Belly Street map, a renovation of the game’s lobbies, balance tweaks, a Reputation system, and of course the requisite additional phat lewt for players to chase.