Developers: Sumo Digital
Publishers: Microsoft Studios
You know when you hear about a game way back when and you wait so long for it, only for it to turn out ‘sort of’ what it was advertised, and not what it looked like it should have been, you can see why that would be disappointing? I mean that’s setting the tone really for Crackdown 3 pretty strong, I know, but that doesn’t make it a bad game, just that it could have been a lot better – Let me explain.
You’re back in the suit, you’re an agent again, you’re a surviving gang member metropolis in Crackdown, as well as fighting off bioengineered agents in Crackdown 2. Now, it’s against a powerful terrorist organisation and disguised as a corporate machine that controls an entire city. You’re with a group of other agents when you get attacked by a way of unknown power wave of energetic; it’s similar to an EMP blast; except it vaporizes you and the rest of the agents on board, including Terry Crews, or as he’s known as Commander Jaxon. Miraculously, you survive and are dumped in a vat by a resistance militia leader who tells you that the corporation on the island called Terra Nova, and they are responsible for the attack as well as multiple acts of deceit and malicious acts for their own gains.
I mean, I get it, but it just doesn’t seem original enough for me. We’ve seen plenty of games already pull the ‘corporation done bad things, please help’ card, what makes this story stand out from the others? What’s more is that this was set 10 years after Crackdown 2, which poses the question, how could they have not known about this?! I mean Crackdown 2 wasn’t as good as the first one, I’ll admit. At least its story was a little more interesting and original, what they’ve got right now doesn’t even seem to tie in with their marketing campaign, which I will get onto later.
Skills for Kills
If you’ve played the previous games in the series, then the controls and the general feel of the game will feel natural, as not much has changed. Your agent is levelled up by a system knows as ‘Skills for Kills’.
The more enemies you defeat using a different method; such as throwing objects or cars at people, to shooting them with an array of weaponry will earn you skill orbs for that particular skill group. Each group has 5 levels, each level giving the agent another ability they can perform, or equipment available to them, like extra ammunition or being able to throw heavier objects.
Some skills are not always combat based; the driving skill allows you to improve your speed and handling across all vehicles, as well as adding additional variants to the agency mobile. There is also the agility skills which is a great skill to have, which increases your running speed and allows you to jump and leap to crazy heights, allowing you to be nigh on super human. It’s an original system from the first game, and it’s good that it’s stated that way. It still performs the way it should do and it’s unique to Crackdown. No problems there.
What is an issue is how they’ve tried to spice up the gameplay by making it more futuristic. Yes, it’s a different city, yes, it’s set 20 years after the first game. There’s a wide selection of weapons to use, from normal ballistics, to pulse and laser weapons, all the way to giant explosive death launchers. But they’ve also gone a step further by adding in elements too; fire, electricity, acid and frost damage types are present throughout the various weaponry. The effects against enemies is pretty good, but I feel like it’s too much. They could have just stuck with the weapons being more updated and in the future without having to add elements in.
Speaking of being in a new city, we’ve moved away from Pacific City and entered a new location, called New Providence. Although a new location is welcome, it seems to look and feel a lot smaller than Pacific City. With the way it’s laid out, it’s as if they just created this circular island and thrown in a whole bunch of buildings and textures, with a few features like quarries and shanty towns. It’s a bit of a mess.
Driving used to be a really good crafted feature; it used to have the perfect balance of precision and crazy all rolled into one mechanic. But the balance is very much gone in Crackdown 3, driving – is a total nightmare, whenever there was an opportunity not to drive, I took it.
It’s why I levelled up my agility so much, the balance is all wrong, especially when it came to handling. You would approach a corner and as soon as you turned, it would be very slow to start, followed suddenly by a crazy amount of oversteer. What’s even stranger is this mechanic of using the handbrake, that someone makes you go around the corner faster. First time I tried this I killed 5 gang members purely because of how bad it was. I tried to get along with it, believe me, but there’s no need to change the physics of driving.
Agency vehicles don’t feel as fun to use either. Crackdown used to have Agency vehicles which transformed the look and feel of the vehicle when you upgraded your driving skill level. Crackdown 2 saw the removal of this but instead had a larger array of vehicles, both agency and enemy ones, each with their own stats and sometimes equipment they carried. Crackdown 3 saw the return of the agency vehicle, which although it did change its feel and look with every driving skill upgrade, they didn’t feel as special as they should have.
They were just upgraded variants from the first game, but in an attempt to make them look more futuristic, they do look a bit ugly. They could have had different abilities as well, I mean 2 of them had the same abilities as the ones from the first game, if you’ve changed so much in the game already, why keep the same vehicle abilities?
Finally, we get to combat itself. Combat being one of the highest selling points of this game, obviously. Not much has changed, which again isn’t a bad thing, it’s still quick, fast paced action with a variety of play styles to switch between during combat. To stay alive, agents must fight constantly and quickly; every defeated enemy recharges your health and shields a little bit, so it pays to be aggressive and hit targets hard right from the get go. Use of objects like square panels and shields will help defend you from small arms fire in a pinch, before you strong arm through it right to the face of the poor sod shooting you. It’s satisfying and fun.
With the speed your fighting at, there is something that lets it down in a big way, the targeting and locking on system. Usually, there’s an option to switch from one target to another, Crackdown 3 lacks this. It’s also very jarring to use, meaning you won’t always target an enemy you want, it might ping off to something else closer to your reticule. This usually is annoying, but for a game at this pace of combat, where you are constantly moving in all directions, that’s detrimental.
Crackdown 3 also features its first PvP mode, called Wrecking Zone. It features just two game modes; Territories which spawns multiple zones you must capture and hold to earn points for your team which also respawn every so often, and there’s Agent Hunter, Team Deathmatch with the added objective of picking up Agency Tabs when they drop from fallen players, basically Kill Confirmed from the COD series – not a great deal of variety in game modes, but still I was optimistic.
Then I got to the gameplay. Most modes are quite badly one sided, due to the balance most likely from selectable loadouts before jumping into a match. But it’s basically a game of who fires first; you lock onto a player and pull the trigger, that’s it, the only real skill is trying to be as high as possible. If your being locked onto, the best way to avoid taking damage is just run out of their line of sight. The locking mechanic literally tracks the player, so you could lock on, fire away and practically play the rest of the match with one hand.
The loadouts I mentioned earlier, you get to choose your own weapons, and it literally varies from a sub machine to a minigun, this is bonkers in my eyes. I mean if it was picking a less powerful weapon to start, with weapon pickups scattered across the map, that would have provided a better more interesting style of gameplay. What they have at the moment is broken and somewhat disjointed, I’d even go as far as rushed in the making.
This is where this destructible environment comes into play, when we first heard about it, a lot of us was like “okay sweet! This should definitely spice up the gameplay a bit!”. But when it turned out it was only in this rushed multiplayer mode? Seems like a cheap move. It’s a novelty in the end, I mean it’s fun for a while to shoulder barge your way through a few walls at first, but it’s never going to keep you entertained throughout. Even if the destruction was maybe half as effective and in the main story, like we all thought it would be, then it would be twice the game it is currently.
Visuals and Audio
The look of the general game is okay, I have no real gripes with the look of the game, other than I believe the previous games had better visuals, even running off an Xbox 360. Especially with the map being smaller you would think they could have beefed the graphics up a little, along with the effects they look a little too simple for the platform they are performing off. There’re a few tweaks here and there, like harder black borders around objects and textures but nothing really significant.
The graphics isn’t the problem, but the audio, though? My god. Not with the sound effects or the dubstep that kicks in now and then, or even the sounds that play to notify you when your low on health, that’s all fine. But the constant, talking every 30 seconds, of just useless dialog filler. “Kick ass agent!”, “Keep climbing higher Agent!”, “Way to shut it down…” it’s infuriating, repetitive and just constant.
Previous Crackdowns handled them in small doses, and I actually liked the voice actor who played as the agency director, but I felt like somewhere in the recording booth he looked at the script, pondered and just though ‘what the hell am I doing with my life?’, because some of the shit he comes out with is so cringeworthy, I could have ripped my top teeth out of my mouth.
Let’s just say this, this is the worst Crackdown game out of the series. I’d rather have welcomed a remake of one of the other two games, followed by a dose of cyanide delivered via a swift kick to the groin from a modified stiletto. It’s a shame they dragged Terry Crews’ into the game, because he didn’t deserve this.
Crackdown 3 is a bleak, broken, and boring game. Only held up by the appearance of Terry Crews. This is the worst game in the series.
- Skills for kills
- On foot Is better than driving
- Terry Crews
- Targeting lets down combat
- Multiplayer is garbage
- Driving is atrocious - don’t do it