A brand-new game in the Crackdown series was first announced at E3 2014. It wasn’t until a year later at Gamescom, that it was officially titled Crackdown 3. Cloud computing was promised to take the series to new heights with improved physics modeling and rendering and a fully destructible city.
Since then, the game has had its fair shares of ups and downs including two delays that had many gamers including myself wondering how the game would turnout. Now, almost five years after being announced, Crackdown 3 is finally here.
The big question on gamer’s minds is, was it worth the wait? Well, that all depends in what you were expecting from Crackdown 3.
Platform: Xbox One
Developer: Sumo Digital / Elbow Rocket
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
A new ruthless criminal empire threatens the world
Crackdown 3 takes place approximately nine years after Crackdown 2, where a terrorist attack has caused a world-wide blackout. The Agency is resurrected and has traced the attack to New Providence—an island controlled by the mysterious Terra Nova organization and CEO Elizabeth Niemand. After the first wave of attacks by The Agency were unsuccessful, super-powered agents are deployed to take out Terra Nova.
Having played both games in the series previously, I am happy to say that Crackdown 3 all but ignores the happenings of Crackdown 2. Compared to the first game, Crackdown 2 tried to take the series in a new direction, which wasn’t well received by fans. The voice of The Agency, Charles Goodwin returns to help tell Crackdown 3‘s story and guide you along the way.
One of the new characters introduced in Crackdown 3 is Commander Jaxon, a.k.a. Terry Crews. He’s been the face of the game every since he was introduced back in July of 2017. Unfortunately, other than the opening cinematics, Jaxon doesn’t play much of a role story wise in the game. I was disappointed that other than a handful of sayings, Jaxon is pretty much interchangeable with any of the other agents. While I didn’t really expect Crackdown 3‘s story to have much more than a basic premise, it would have been nice to see character development.
Skills for Thrills
For the most part, Crackdown 3‘s gameplay is exactly what I remembered Crackdown to be—this is both good and bad. You start out with the option to chose from one of nine agents to play as, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. In all there are over 20 agents that you can unlock by collecting their DNA around New Providence and regenerating them.
Additionally, there is a nice selection of weapons and devices to discover and choose from. These range from a rocket launcher, to a gun that shoots out homing missiles, to the ability to generate a health regenerative field. By collecting orbs, there are 750 of them, scattered around the city, you can boost your agent’s stats. This will allow you to jump higher, unlock certain weapons, and pick up items to use as projectiles, just to name a few. Essentially, you play as a super hero whose powers become stronger as you play.
I had a lot of fun playing through the game’s 15-hour campaign. However, I couldn’t help but notice there was little to no change in Crackdown 3‘s gameplay over the first game. And, while for my personal tastes that was perfectly fine, those looking for innovation will be disappointed.
Throw down the boom
Elizabeth Niemand, the CEO of Terra Nova is the game’s last boss who is tucked away high above the city. The map is filled with various missions that after completed will allow you to take on one of the bosses. Each one of these bosses have a defense and role to play in the Terra Nova tower’s defense. So, when you defeat a boss it weakens the tower’s defenses.
Missions generally require you to take out the “bad guys” at a particular installation and gain control over it. On the other hand, some require you to destroy machinery and then blow up the whole plant. Additionally, there are optional side missions such as freeing rebel forces and taking out Propaganda Towers that will help you in your fight. In all, I collected about half of the 750 orbs while playing and on the default difficulty settings I didn’t have too much trouble with the bosses. It was really only the last two bosses that put up a fight and required some trial and error to defeat them.
Making your way around the city can be done by running, jumping, boosting with your jet pack, or riding a vehicle. Making my way up the game’s massive towering buildings was a delight. The sense of height is unreal and figuring where you will have to jump next to go higher was a fun challenge. Disabling and taking over the game’s many Propaganda Towers requires a good level of platforming. Though, if you fall, you can start back at a checkpoint that is most of the time half way up the tower.
Just like in the previous Crackdown games, you can pinpoint certain areas on your enemies’ body to shoot at. Though to be honest, I rarely did this. Most of the time I locked on to my enemies and unloaded. New to Crackdown 3 is co-op campaign play. It allows you to invite a friend to join you on your mission to take out Terra Nova. I had fun making my way across the island and taking out the hordes of enemies. I never really had any issues and the whole experience was quite smooth.
Bright colourful cel-shaded graphics
Crackdown 3 uses cel-shaded graphics that are powered by the Unreal Engine 4. As a result, this provides some very colourful and pretty environments. The use of neon colours really shines at night and lights up the city. Looking out high atop over the city is a view to behold. In the heat of a battle, things can get pretty intense. Playing on my Xbox One X the game never skipped a beat, regardless of what was going on.
However, there are certain points in the game where things look a bit sparse. And, by this mean plain. I remember making my way up one of the game’s towers and looking out over the water on the edge of the island, only to see a very plain and basic view of a distant piece of land.
Overall, Crackdown 3‘s visuals stay inline with the look and feel the series has been known for.
Multiplayer mayhem with the Wrecking Zone
A feature that I’ve always though has been missing in Crackdown games is a multiplayer mode. Crackdown 3 features a multiplayer mode called Wrecking Zone. While Sumo Digital developed Crackdown 3‘s campaign mode, Elbow Rocket developed its multiplayer mode. This mode features an all-out 5v5 battle in a fully destructible environment.
There were only two play sessions for reviewers to play in before the game launched and unfortunately, I wasn’t able to participate. Now that the game is fully available, I’ll be spending sometime this weekend with Wrecking Zone and come back to update this section with my thoughts and opinions on it.
Crackdown 3 is a fun game to play that is good but not great
Crackdown 3 gives fans of the first game everything that made the first game fun to play with a few more additions to gameplay. If you were hoping for a massive evolution in gameplay or a story that is deep and rich, you will be disappointed. At the end of the day, if you liked the first game then you will enjoy playing Crackdown 3.
I really enjoyed my time with Crackdown 3‘s campaign. I liked the game’s simplistic and not overly complicated skill tree, which allows you to boost your agents’ stats. Playing co-op campaign mode with a friend is fun and adds even more enjoyment to the game.
When all is said and done, Crackdown 3 isn’t an award-winning AAA game. Neither is it a bad game. And, it’s not going to be a game that sells systems. However it’s a good game that offers a solid experience and hours of fun, which I recommend.
+ Bright neon colours light up the city for a beautiful view
+ Not overly complicated gameplay
+ Fun to play by yourself or with a friend
+ Everything that made the first game fun to play is here
– Gameplay sticks to its roots with very little innovation
– Agents do not play an important role in the game’s story
– Everything that was first promised didn’t make it to the game
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF CRACKDOWN 3
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 3.5/5