In an effort to create hype for the release of their upcoming game Crackdown 3, Microsoft decided to give away free copies of the first Crackdown just a couple of days before the official release. And I, being someone who had never actually gotten around to playing the Crackdown games back when they originally came out, decided to give it a go. And while I can’t claim that I loved it, or in fact even really liked it all that much, I did understand why fans held it in such high regard. Had I picked it up back in 2007, I might have felt the same way about it.
And after playing through It, I decided not to jump into Crackdown 3 too quickly simply because I felt that playing something so similar so soon might cloud my judgment for this review somewhat. So I waited patiently until Crackdown was completely out of my mind, and then I jumped right into Crackdown 3, making sure to avoid any and all reviews of the game. The wait was terrible, the game even more so.
Let’s just get one of the only few positive things I have to say about this game out of the way first. The movement is great, and jumping around the city and collecting agility and hidden orbs to level up skills was something I enjoyed in the original, and what we see in Crackdown 3 is basically a much more refined version of the same traversal system. I’ve spent more time than I care to admit just dashing between buildings and collecting these, especially when my abilities were leveled up a bit.
But everything that surrounds movement is an utter flop. Combat is incredibly repetitive, and basically just boils down to using the game’s auto-aim system to lock onto enemies and just keep firing until they die. Enemy variety, which isn’t a lot, doesn’t count for much since the most major difference between each of them is just how much punishment they can take before they drop dead. Difficulty is also not much of an issue on the default setting because of your constantly generating health, and the only real challenge comes when you get absolutely swarmed with a horde of enemies.
There is a decent selection of weapons that players can choose from for variety, but even then most of them are more flash than substance. You’ll find a loadout that works for you, and you’ll stick with it for the rest of the game. I did the same thing, and one of the weapons in my loadout was one that I got about 15 minutes into the game. You might have seen people using it in videos online, It’s called the Pulse Beam and I never unequipped it.
It also doesn’t help that the vast majority of activities on the map boil down to the whole ‘Go to X and shoot Y until it blows up’ formula. I’d like to tell you that some of the main objectives in the game like the boss battles are more unique, but they’re really not all that much. Some of them introduce new challenges that players have to adapt to on the fly to be able to beat them, but nothing was so mold-breaking that I have to brag about it.
The story itself is also pretty boring, and deals with the Agency as they travel to New Providence in an effort to overthrow the tyrannical leader of the organization known as Terra Nova. It’s all very cliché, and Terry Crews, who was both involved in marketing the game and has a playable role in it, has been used to very poor effect.
The opening cutscene of the game does a very entertaining job of using him to create an illusion of a personality for Crackdown 3 as a whole, but none of it is actually present in the game after that. You can unlock other agents to play as by collecting their DNA in the world, but why would you want to? None of them offer any incentives to play as them apart from very insignificant boosts to the different types of experience gained.
And speaking of things that aren’t present in the game, let’s talk about textures and game physics. All of those flashy demos we saw in previous years that demonstrated the power of cloud processing to create unbridled physics based destruction were basically just that, tech demos. None of that is present in the campaign, and one has to question why such a hyped feature was promised to players to begin with if the development team could not deliver on it.
New Providence itself is a fairly well structured and vertical Sci-Fi world with futuristic architecture and a very appealing and bright color palette, but there’s a surprising lack of textures in it. Which would make sense if there were some destruction physics present in it and the developers wanted to cut down on computing power, but there aren’t. I encountered a lot of areas that were populated with no more than a few NPCs, and those that were present were designed very poorly. It’s a very lifeless world that wasn’t fun to explore on land. You can unlock vehicles to travel as well, but it’s just more fun to jump across buildings.
The destruction physics are present in the multiplayer, which for some reason is a completely separate download on the Xbox One, but this mode itself isn’t very good. There’s almost no customization options available to players to create their own unique agent, and there exists no sense of progression since all weapons are unlocked from the very start.
The destruction is impressive knowing that anything in the map can be eradicated to create cool physics based carnage, but even that becomes uninteresting after a while. There is no map variety and the two game modes at our disposal are really bland. The Auto-Aim is also incredibly annoying, and because of it combat devolves into just who can stay locked on long enough to kill the other player.
I’m not going to sugarcoat this: Crackdown 3 is not a good game. It’s repetitive, uninspired and overpromised on things it could not deliver on. It’s basically what we saw in Crackdown 1, but without any of the innovations and ideas that it bought to the table. Nothing about it is new or unique and everything about its design is so outdated that had it come out a decade ago, most of my complaints would still stand.
Crackdown 3 is out now on the Xbox One and the PC. It was developed by Sumo Digital and published by Microsoft Studios This review covers the Xbox One version of the game.
Crackdown 3 Review
Crackdown 3 is repetitive and uninspired, and It’s basically what we saw in the original Crackdown but without any of the innovations and ideas that it bought to the table.