Bleedout is an episodic expansion to the CrimeCraft MMO, offering new content added gradually over a number of weeks, rather than in one fell swoop. Cleverly, the episodes will become available to the player at weekly intervals regardless of the release schedule, allowing them to enjoy additional content and an ever expanding storyline over the space of “10 weeks”. But before I discuss Bleedout, perhaps a little information about CrimeCraft for the un-initiated.
CrimeCraft is an online shooter with a healthy dose of MMO thrown into the mix. The game is based predominantly within Sunrise City, the last bastion of humanity within a world gone mad. The story is one of apocalyptic prophecy with oil reserves running out leading to all sorts of nastiness and the virtual collapse of civilisation, with the exception of Sunrise City which maintains its order through various Big Brother style tactics and plenty of guys with guns.
The player, as a refugee to the city, first has to go through an extensive prologueÂ episode in which they will learn everything that they need to know to at least stay alive. This is all done through the use of missions and instances. The missions are relatively simple, if a bit confusing at times, and generally revolve around going to certain people and talking with them, or collecting something. Sometimes a mission will require something more “active” and this is where the player will enter an instance and be transported to one of the available maps for some good old fashioned shooting action. These missions may involve taking down a boss, retrieving some lost items, defending a target or even trying out a new piece of weaponry. Players will find themselves coming to know the maps quite well, as there are only a limited number and they are revisited quite a few times. The player may also return to the maps, simply by talking with the character in charge of a given map, in order to gain experience or scavenge some goodies.
This is where the RPG element comes in, offering the player a choice of crafting profession with which to make some cool equipment and extra cash, and leveling up to learn new skills.
Once the “orientation” part of the game has been completed, which may take a while and find the player almost reaching double figures in regards to level, the player can then enter the main hub of Sunrise City. This hub is in fact one of three that make up the entire game world. From these three hubs the player can find vendors and trainers, visit auctions, use the telephone to get extra jobs, access all of the instances and pick up more missions.
And indeed, it is at this point that the player can begin the first episode of the new Bleedout expansion. There is no level limit to these new missions, just that the player must have finished with the “orientation” and be in Sunrise City. The first episode is offered to both the free and premium players, with additional episodes available on a weekly basis. Free players will be required to purchase the additional episodes, whilst premium players will be able to pick them up as an inclusion to their subscription.
The story behind Bleedout seems to build upon the games backstory, beginning with the player being summoned by a guy called Pilot who offers to teach you the ways of the city and fill you in on some of the background. Your first mission will be to protect what you assume to be an oil delivery.
Whilst the missions within the first episode do not appear to offer anything substantially different from the usual gather/protect missions, they are all tied together in an unfolding story that will reveal the story of the Bleedout. All of this is tied together with some impressive comic-style cut-scenesÂ that fill in the gaps in a very nice way.
Are these episodes worth shelling out for? Well, for the average free player, probably not. Whilst they offer a nice story, a bundle of extra missions and a new instance area, Belly Street, having to pay out for the following nine episodes will soon mount up to leave a chunky sized hole in the wallet and, to be honest, if you are not paying for a premium account then you are probably not that interested. For the fanatical player, who likely has a premium account, the episodes are all free anyway.
That being said, Bleedout does a damn good job of raising the bar in CrimeCraft and if anything were to turn a player from mildly interested to fanatical, this would be it. The first episode gives the game focus and a more polished feel. It is quite a cunning ploy to offer the first episode free to everyone, allowing the non-paying players to see what they are missing out on.
If you have yet to try CrimeCraft, then the game is definitely worth checking out if you fancy some online shooter action. Put in the time and work through the prologue, it takes a good few hours, before deciding if this is your cup of tea. Once that is done, make a start on Bleedout and see what it has to offer. Maybe you have what it takes to be the next “Big Cheese” in Sunrise City?