CrimeCraft(ing) and Social Features
I was somewhat taken aback when I was asked if I enjoyed tailoring after doing the game’s prologue content, which featured unsavory characters using some harsh languages and a number of mature themes. It just didn’t seem to “fit” given the fact I’m supposedly some hard-ass gangster type, but nonetheless, CrimeCraft features crafting. Players can train one of four crafting professions, including Tailor (creating clothes), Gunsmith (creating guns and augs), Engineer (creating ammo and attachments), and Chemist (creating boosts and medicine). Only one of the aforementioned professions may be trained at one time by a player, and each profession splits out into two trees later on.
Crafting itself is fairly straightforward; you assemble materials and click craft, that’s really about it. Materials can be found while playing through CrimeCraft’s various game modes and there are a number of abilities and tools that allow one to increase the rate with which they find specific types of components.
Gangs (the game’s equivalent of guilds) can also choose a profession focus, and this ties into the next aspect of CrimeCraft I wanted to talk about: the game’s social features. At a certain level, and with enough members, Gangs can acquire their own hideout, which can be further customized both visually and functionally. Hideouts can be customized with a production hall (which lets the Gang focus on a specific area of crafting), vendors, a vault to store items in, and more. All in all hideouts make for a great social space to hang out and they offer solid incentive to visit for gameplay purposes.
Gangs can also choose their own logo, and even level up, acquiring a number of gang-wide buffs and perks along the way. The Gang feature is fairly robust and it is clear that Vogster put significant emphasis on the ability for players to get together and make their own mark.
If you aren’t part of a Gang, you can still visit a variety of nightclubs where players may gather (though these don’t seem to get much play). Nightclubs are replete with strobing lights, loud music, a bartender who will sell you cash item XP boosts, and even a chem dealer to sell you some meds and boosts.
One of the craziest things I experienced in CrimeCraft though was the nightclub VIP lounge (newly added with Bleedout), which allows you to enter a private room with a stripper (who you get to customize to your liking) for a number of Gold Bars (the game’s item shop currency). Naturally, I just had to find out what this was all about. It started innocently enough, as it was initially no more provocative than a strip dance in any of the Grand Theft Auto games. However, at specific intervals you are asked to shell out additional Gold Bars to continue the dance, and that’s when it really got crazy. The stripper went completely topless and well, started having fun with herself pretty vigorously. The whole thing was both quite shocking and hilarious at the same time. I’m not sure why anyone would care to spend real money on something as ridiculous as this, but for you completionists out there, she DOES offer you a quest if you pay through the whole thing.
Graphics & UI
CrimeCraft was developed on Epic Games’ ubiquitous Unreal 3 engine, but still only manages to look fairly average. The game’s art style works well enough to create a believably gritty world, character animations are fluid, and the game runs at a decent clip, but again, the game doesn’t really do much to “wow” you.
On the other hand, I found the UI to be fairly intuitive and well thought out. Most of the time it is out of the way, as it should be, but you can bring up a fairly robust UI menu by pressing Tab. The various menus are laid out well and clearly explained, but if you find yourself confused for any reason you can simply click the question mark in the upper right corner for a breakdown of the current screen’s various elements.
Music, Sound, and Controls
CrimeCraft’s soundtrack and sound effects leave much to be desired. There are few music tracks in the game outside of the game’s nightclubs and none of them are particularly remarkable, however, they also aren’t annoying, which is a good thing. I certainly prefer less music to an incessantly annoying soundtrack. Sound effects really lack oomph though, especially with weapons and explosions. The guns simply sound weak; you won’t find any punch or find yourself startled by the crack of a sniper shot in a PvP match.
The game’s controls were perfectly functional. As I noted earlier, the game is definitely lacking for its inability to jump, and this is certainly curious in a shooter game. Otherwise you’ll find the standard WASD setup, smooth targeting, and the ability to rebind most of your keys.
Ultimately, CrimeCraft is a free-to-play shooter/RPG hybrid with a low barrier to entry. If you are looking for a decent amount of RPG in your competitive shooter, you can’t really go wrong giving CrimeCraft a shot (pardon the pun). Just keep in mind that you will likely have to spend some real cash to get the most out of the experience, and that the PvE content will almost certainly drive you crazy unless you are playing in a group. Otherwise, you’re left with a fairly solid shooter with interesting RPG mechanics, but whether or not the game has lasting appeal will depend largely on how invested you are with the game’s competitive features, especially gangs.
At this point the game is fairly polished (though there are some spelling mistakes in places), runs well, and has a decent amount of things to do. While CrimeCraft is overall an average game, the fact you can put it down and pick it up again whenever you feel like it is definitely a plus for the budget conscious gamer.