Crackdown 3 has had a bit of a tumultuous lifespan. First announced in 2014, the third entry of the franchise has had multiple release dates come and go. It was assumed that the pushed release dates were to give the team more time to develop and put together a great product for fans. After all, Crackdown was a surprise hit back in 2007. Many fans, such as myself, purchased the game to gain access to the Halo 3 beta. But I was pleasantly surprised by how fun the Crackdown gameplay was. Crackdown 3 has that same addicting gameplay, for better or for worse.
The beginning cutscene sets the stage for a story that, quite frankly, is very similar to the first game. Your team of agents was wiped out as you flew in to investigate the city of New Providence. After a regeneration that took away your vast abilities, your mission is to infiltrate New Providence and take out the big bad corporate leader, Elizabeth Niemand.
For me, Crackdown 3 feels like 2 separate games. The first half is exploring the open world city and taking down the Terra Nova corporation. You can drive, run, or jump to any part of the city at any time. Keep in mind that some areas are harder to conquer than others depending on your skill level. You could theoretically take out Nieman right from the start. Or, as I did, systematically take out her lieutenants and weak the organization before taking on the big boss. Each Lieutenant has holdings throughout the city. When you take them out, the lieutenant will appear and give you the opportunity to weaken Terra Nova for good.
The other half of Crackdown 3 is all about collectibles. The main collectible is the agility orb. Finding these will level up your agility, making you run faster, jump higher, and be an all-out war machine. Leveling up your other skills can be done by finding hidden orbs, or by doing the skill over and over. Personally, I enjoy punching enemies and throwing heavy objects at them, so my playthrough consisted of punching as many people as possible. I am not a fan of the driving in the game, so I focused on collecting orbs and jumping and dashing all over the place.
This is where Crackdown 3 can be very divisive. On one hand, I can see a lot of players becoming bored with this mechanic. You collect orbs, take out a stronghold, unlock a safe house, find weapons…lather, rinse, repeat. There is a ton of repetition. Lieutenant battles are unique and fun, but you have to grind a bit to get to those battles. But for me personally, I love hunting for orbs. I love making my agent strong and fast. I lost track of time hunting orbs and leveling up to be comic book-esque when it comes to power levels. To me, it is simple and pure fun, like the equivalent of a loud, action-packed summer blockbuster.
Now I had a blast in the campaign, but there are some technical aspects that gave me some pause. For the most part, the controls are very clean and very responsive. However, I found issues with the auto lock aim assist and climbing mechanics. Auto Lock aiming at your target is fine when you have a few enemies. But in big boss fights, when you are dealing with 15-20 and the boss, it can be cumbersome. I found my rockets going to other sources instead of my intended target. Also, the game is real picky when it comes to climbing ledges. I fell multiple times trying to get to orbs. Of course, this doesn’t matter if you have maxed out your agility skill, but it is rough at the beginning of the game.
While I enjoyed the collecting and action of the campaign, I can’t say the same for the multiplayer portion of Crackdown 3. In Wrecking Zone, you have 2 multiplayer options to
choose from. Agent Hunter is a like Kill Confirmed – take out the agent and collect their badge. Territories run like a King of the Hill type mode. To be honest, the modes are just not very inspiring, especially with the auto lock aiming. I found myself wanted to play co-op campaign instead of the tradition multiplayer offerings. It’s a shame because the use of the Azure cloud is very cool. It’s a blast to see pieces of buildings get blasted to smithereens.
I kept thinking about the possibilities for Crackdown’s multiplayer, and I came to one conclusion. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I want to see a Battle Royale mode. I want it to be located in New Providence and have orbs throughout the map. Yes, you will pick up guns and throwables as you go. But can you imagine picking up orbs and battling each other as super-powered Agents? It wouldn’t bring anything new to the table, but it would be an absolute blast.
Crackdown 3 is very similar to the original game, but with a fresh coat of paint. The game blends cartoon with some real nice textures, especially on Agent Jaxon’s face. The bosses still look pretty much like a cartoon (much like the first game). The sound quality is very nice, except I needed to change settings in order to hear the quips that Jaxon would say. I mean, come on. It’s Terry freakin’ Crews here. I expected his voice to be very loud and boisterous as you jump around New Providence. But I had to lower other settings just to hear him clearly. I’m glad I did though – his quips and jokes are very funny.
If I could review Crackdown 3 with a meme, I would use this one –
Crackdown 3 does not innovate the genre. It is extremely similar to the first game, which is a shame in some aspects. I was hoping the extra development time would give us some interesting twists to the franchise, but it didn’t besides destructible environments. Despite the similarities, it is still fun to play! It’s one of those games that I can pick up, play for a few hours, and leave with a smile on my face. And in the end, that is all that matters to me. If you enjoy it, great. If you don’t, it’s ok to let others enjoy it. If you have Xbox Game Pass, then it is definitely worth a try.
Note: GameOctane editor Ryan Welch reviewed Crackdown 3 with his Xbox Game Pass.
Check us out at Opencritic!
Some technical hiccups