Crookz Needs To Take The Big Heist Back To The Drawing Board
By Gwendolyn L. Spelvin
Let’s be clear here. Kalypso Media should be commended for creating a cast of non-stereotypical multicultural characters for a tactical strategy bank heist title that takes place in an era where such characters would be exploited. Keeping true with the period piece nuances from the funky music to fashion is also a nice articulate touch.
But it’s not enough by a longshot.
Underneath all the jive turkey and head bopping tunes is a disappointing attempting that fails on the most basic criteria that creates a stealth strategy entry into the robbery genre. Essentially, this is a stripped down Payday, sans high profiled Hollywood talent and licensing characters.
Crookz: The Big Heist deserves more than being a cheap knock-off to contemporary peers. All the dynamics of a great entry are there; story, soundtrack, and suspense alone makes the title go hard or go home. It’s just that a great idea was correctly formulated, but poorly executed.
For all intent and purpose, Crookz: The Heist is on indefinite lost in translation status.
A non-stop funky soundtrack is great but it is a distraction over dialogue, sound effects, and warnings. Keeping up with reading whatever little message pops up on the screen, keeping your characters out of enemy eyesight, and figuring out the complex button controls that go far beyond what a title of this caliber should have adds to the stress. Yes, you can turn the music off, but it’s still not enough to dissuade the configuration issues in story progression.
At least players can enjoy the confusion with a controller in their hands, right?
More often than not, there is far too much going on in the audio and visual department to have the right amount of concentration to remember everything that needs to be selected, activated, and in what order. For a turn based stealth strategy entry, there are far too many complications of thought happening, which also make you miss key planning motivations for successful completion.
Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem if the option of running and gunning enemies was available. However, when you have to have a menu to select ether, fight the controls to select it, then struggle with loading it for use, then have a waypoint plotted to the enemy, then plot to attack, BEFORE you can use your ether, it’s a hassle.
Some won’t be bothered by this; rather, they will be bothered by the lack of level difficulty advancing in missions. That is, if they adapt well enough to use the convoluted strategy system past the first two levels. Yes, the opportunity for level replays are present to get better perks, but who wants to be bothered with that when the controls fight you?
From the tutorial its quite obvious something went terribly wrong in the oversight department as far as going about making all ambitions on the table work. Yes, no specific playing time is wasted in the tutorial; it is rather refreshing to finally have a tutorial that serves as a backstory, optional warm up level, and a bit of a prequel to the drama to motivate your achievements.
However, those accolades are quickly diminished by poor schematics in controlling characters and their actions. There just isn’t enough time to master the controls effectively enough to enjoy what’s going down on the heists out of the sheer frustration of keeping up with the button functions. It comes down to literally needing a cheat sheet to remember the combination of button presses for progression.
In retrospect, memorizing chords on Guitar Hero are easier than this.
Character selection and subsequent item selection is a chore, as is plotting the path of destination. Players are spending more time tracing footsteps or cycling through crew that are constantly on standby until they get individual attention REGARDLESS if danger is approaching. It would have been nice to see AI take over and make them try to escape naturally without direct input.
It does Kalypso Media no favors either that runtime is severely increased simply off of the pause, plan, engage mechanism that may or may not function as smoothly as they should.
By this point, players probably won’t give a damn if the crew has their revenge on Murray, since the strategy system is a complete and immediate turn-off. It’s pretty difficult to care about the story when far too many actions are needed to perform the simplest of tasks.
After all, by the time enemies are abound your character is exposed and/or captured.
I just don’t understand how in 2016 Gangsters 2 still has the best control mechanisms for character control when dealing with this particular genre. Seriously, there is no denying that it does it better in terms of crew selection and item usage than any contemporary peer that has the advantage of more modern engines that what were available in its heyday.
It’s time to go back to the drawing board and study your elders, Kalypso Media. This heist is a wash.