Fans of the Crackdown series are a patient bunch. The third title in the series was announced at E3 in 2014 experienced multiple delays during its development. With a near ten-year time span between Crackdown titles, Xbox fans must be asking “was it worth the wait?”
Crackdown Three by Sumo Digital continues the high octane gameplay of its predecessors. The game is set ten years after the events of Crackdown 2. A task force called ‘The Agency’ tracks the origins of a mysterious terrorist attack to the small island of New Providence. Commander Jaxon (played by Terry Crews) and the rest of The Agency set out to take down the Islands ruling organisation Terra Nova.
Fans of the Action-Adventure genre will feel familiar with Crackdown 3’s core gameplay. The player is free to choose their own mission paths, traverse by foot or vehicle and reign down destruction wherever they please.
The familiar ‘Skills for Kills’ level up system returns, which requires the player to find various coloured orbs scattered throughout the city. These orbs upgrade the player’s core skills and unlock a set path of various upgrades and game mechanics.
Destruction is the primary objective of Crackdown 3. The majority of objectives based upon clearing an area of enemies or destroying the nearby surroundings. You’ll find yourself with a near superhero-like collection of abilities extremely quickly, which allows for some chaotic and gravity bending excursions.
Fans of Prototype and Saints Row IV will feel extremely familiar with this style of over the top, Superhero-esque game mechanics. Traversing the city with speed, fluidity and a small arsenal of high powered weaponry ensures a near non-stop level of action and destruction.
This sense of familiarity becomes Crackdown 3’s own demise, however. With a play area much smaller than other open world action-adventures, Crackdown 3 lacks the depth. This has become, unfortunately, an expectancy for a game released on the end cycle of this generation’s consoles. Interactions with non-player characters are near non-existent and the city itself feels extremely barren.
Terry Crews was a much welcome addition throughout Crackdown 3’s marketing campaign. However, it was disappointing to hear so little of him outside of the initial monologue. Even whilst using his character for the campaign, his dialogue is infrequent and seemingly random. The narrative is pushed forward via dialogue provided by additional Agency NPCs and static artwork is used as cutscenes.
The much-lauded multiplayer ‘Wrecking Zone’, whilst technically impressive, is also painfully thin on content. Each play mode pit teams against each other in a Tron-like multi-level battlefield, where structures can be destroyed entirely
You’ll find the destruction of the Wrecking Zone is never a threat, however. That’s because you’ll have full unlocked upgrade paths. Each player spends more time in the air traversing like Superman then they do hiding in buildings. The threat of your environment destroying around you becomes null and void when you can jump 200 meters upwards to safety.
The Wrecking Zone also lacks upgrade paths, customization, unlock-able weaponry or any real sense of progression or purpose. You’ll experience most of what is to offer within the first few games.
Xbox Exclusives feature Windows 10 ‘Play Anywhere’ which allowed us to review the game on a high-end gaming PC. With all graphics options maxed, gameplay at 1440p was smooth on our review PC using an Nvidia 1080ti and Intel i7-8700k.
Crackdown 3 is a fun game that is thin on content and delivery. Whilst it would be difficult to recommend purchasing outright, it is bundled with the Xbox Game Pass, a Microsoft exclusive that offers a near ludicrous value for money.