In Crackdown 3, the not so nice organisation Terra Nova has taken over New Providence, and the Agency is tasked with stopping them by sending in their agents to claim power back for the people.
The storyline is as simple as the gameplay, which is kind of refreshing. It seems that all games these days worry so much about backstories and character development that you spend most of the time trying to remember how it all fits together. Crackdown 3 takes me back to a simpler time, where bad guys were doing bad things, so a good guy was hired to stop them. Its storyline reflects the depth of an 80’s action TV show, and is brought to life with colourful explosions and fantastic lighting.
While I haven’t played much of the earlier titles in the series (Crackdown 2 was wayyy back in 2010) I was excited to play Crackdown 3. So, it was a real disappointment when I realised things weren’t going to change much after the first 2 hours of campaign. The intro scenes were awesome, and I had high expectations given the inclusion of the amazing Terry Crews who lent his voice and likeness to the game; if you haven’t watched Brooklyn 99, then go do it now! The repetitive nature of the combat combined with the ease of simply locking on to targets left me wanting something more, but it never quite arrived.
So, is it any good? You would think after the start of this review that it’s a fail, but it’s strangely addictive and highly entertaining so long as you keep charging hard at the bad guys. The gun skills level up by using guns. You get better at lifting and throwing things by lifting and throwing things. Better vehicles are available when you spend time driving around doing stunts, etc. Keep the killing rampage going and you will level up quicker and recover faster. This is not a game for fans of stealth or covert operations; this is guns blazing fast- paced mayhem. You start out with simple weapons and low agility.
As you progress you collect agility orbs that are needed to increase your ability to jump, climb and run around. There are about a thousand agility orbs around the city of New Providence, which in itself can see you spending hours climbing and jumping in search of them. As you collect more you’ll improve to where you have an almost god like ability to run and jump. I think I had as much fun finding these as I had shooting at bad guys.
The battles in between bosses are generally easy, with auto aim that locks on to targets so you can just keep firing. Boss fights provide some challenge and are an improvement over the regular bad guys as you need to employ some strategy. However, when all is said and done, I can guarantee a fast moving and fast shooting approach will still do the trick. There is still some sense of satisfaction locking on to a target and running while firing at fast pace with such accuracy. It’s gratifying enough for me, but you may want to up the difficulty from the default setting for more of a challenge.
Colourful and smooth, the game looks great without any graphical sorcery or photo realism which is a world away from the latest AAA titles that strive to blur the lines between reality and animation. It reminds me a lot of Sunset Overdrive with the bright colours and fast paced action. The driving physics are appallingly bad from a driving game perspective, but it plays a small part in the overall storyline so shouldn’t cause too many concerns. Who would play this expecting a great driving sim experience? Just be aware that the driving experience is really awful.
I did find myself getting bored grinding my way through the story but I’m sure there are plenty of people out there that enjoy this type of repetitive run and gun combat. Sadly, the code provided for this review only gave me access to the campaign so I can’t comment on the multiplayer, aptly titled “Wrecking Zone”, but based on what I’ve seen I am sure it would be a whole lot of fun with a couple of friends online.
Destructible environments and fast paced chaos? Sounds good to me.
Fans of the franchise earlier iterations will surely find some enjoyment here, and for those new to the franchise I think there is still some fun to be had. However, the hype and extremely long wait for this title has set a level of expectation that was always going to be hard to meet, and I think it comes up short. The most redeeming feature of Crackdown 3 is its inclusion in Xbox Gamepass, so if you’ve subscribed you won’t have to shell out on the game unless you really want to.
Good luck agent.