This is a review of the singlplayer mission only.
Crackdown3…why all the hate? Is it because you got us all excited for your release, only to be delayed 3 times. Is it because you promised us the world, a fully destructible world, and gave us the opposite? Or, just maybe it is because most gamers don’t want to give you a chance because they can’t let go of the for mentioned points. With all the issues during production and the amount of negative video coverage before and after launch, it was hard for gamers not to be critical. I’m guilty of that myself and really was delaying playing Crackdown3. But I realized that if I want to give my honest opinion on games and have the community value my input, I would need to dump all perceived notions about a game and dive into it like it was an Apex Legends reveal. It was easier said than done…but I’m glad I did. Crackdown3 will not win any awards by any means, but I honestly think it is better than most are giving it credit for.
The story is not the most riveting thing you will find in video games today. But it is easy to follow. Basically, you are an Agent (kind of played by Terry Crews, but more on that in a second) that gets turned to ash within the first 5 minutes of the game. Somehow you are found and reconstructed as Commander Issiah Jaxon (once again, kind of). Your savior scooped up the ashes and goop that was left over after the crash/disintegration of your aircraft and used salvage Agency tech to build you even stronger than before…Kind of like The Six Million Dollar Man and Tony Stark had a love child. She convinces you that along with her you can take down the suspicious corporate monster Terra Nova, led by Elizbeth Niemand. You are quickly reunited with Director Charles Goodwin (Michael McConnohie), who you will hear constantly throughout the game by means of telecommunication. You will gather information on all the main NPC of the Terra Nova Corporation. This system is set up a lot like the mechanics of Shadow of Mordor. As you gain intel your chances against the head of that branch weaken. The more their info structure breaks down the more access you gain to them.
The story is nothing new or original but it can stand on its own. The Crackdown franchise, in my own opinion, has always been on the side of a classic B-Movie Sci-Fi action game and this falls perfectly in line with that. The delivery of the story is where I think Sumo Digital and Microsoft Studios fell short. The use of still cutscenes was done well with what I truly feel was great artwork. But, what happened to Terry Crews? If you have this large of a star promoting all of your hype videos and staring at what is being billed as your main charcter…he needs to have a presence in the game to help convey the story. Besides the opening scene and a few background quotes thrown in during combat, you couldn’t be blamed for forgetting he is a part of this game. I have a theory that possibly Sumo went this direction because the motion captured video might break immersion because of the ability to switch to other agents who you have recovered DNA of. This mechanic allows players to switch between characters to receive small bonuses in certain areas. The increase in abilities was not even that drastic in my opinion. I would have traded in this content filler in a heartbeat to have Terry Crews do his over the top acting in the cut scenes to help move the story along and help build a connection between myself and the main story. I reached out to both Sumo Digital and Microsoft Studios to see if my theory holds water…I am still waiting for a response.
New Providence looks like any other busy futuristic metropolis you would find video games. Except this one is special…it is fully destructible…nevermind. Sorry, I had to get it out-of-the-way. It also needs to be discussed. I understand why it was dropped. The concept seemed cool and I truly believe that Microsoft Studios has the clout to pull it off, but in my opinion, it would break the game. Crackdown3 is a narrative based experience and not just a battle royal experience. There are plot points involved and you are the savior of this city. And to be very honest, in the first 10 minutes of gameplay I would have leveled the first couple blocks of the game just because I could. Devs would have to redesign placement of agility orbs or challenges across the map. Part of me wonders if this is the roadblock that caused three delays of its launch. Was this maybe a Lion Head Studios move where someone gets really excited and tells their dreams of a game, but they come across as actually promises of the game? We might not ever know. I am fine with this aspect of the world being left out and think that it helped in its absence.
As beautiful as the environment is, it felt empty. Sure there would be citizens walking around in sparse areas. But they don’t even talk. You can get a canned scream or something like that here and there, but that’s a step back from Crackdown2. All the windows are easily confused for exterior walls. In Crackdown2 when looking into a window, a shader was used on the 2D image of an interior. This gave a slight look of both depth perception change as the player navigated by the windows or peered in. With the power of Unreal Engine, this seems like it would have been very easy and simple to implement without straining the budget. In my opinion, this would have added a slight hint of depth to break up the naturally flat aesthetics of a cel-shaded look. And a bit of depth is always appreciated in games that lean platformer heavy.
That platform heavy environment was my favorite part of the game. The world designers did an amazing job laying out this sprawling city but they truly shined in taking that sprawling city vertically. You can get just about anywhere in the city from the rooftops. This makes you feel like a superhero dropping in from the sky on a routine detention facility liberation mission. You get the element of surprise and just adds to the excitement. Plus it is so much better than dealing with the spider webs of roads and mundane driving experience.
As I stated above, the driving experience did not impress me. I will admit that once you level up your driving skills and unlock the tank mod for the Agency Car, that it finally get a little entertaining. But, soaring through the sky and jumping from the rooftop was just more fun to me. The use of the new unlocks, in the form of abilities and gadgets, from leveling up your agility made the game feel like it was progressing with you as you were getting more powerful. Leveling up driving felt like you were just getting another vehicle that didn’t handle well and was the last stat I cared to level.
There are five stats that you can level up by using them and I really like how it is implemented. As I mentioned earlier you can unlock other Agents and when used they provide an XP buff to certain stats. Below are the 5 stats along with who gives the best XP boost for that stat. Sounds cool but feels like filler to me and not worth the trade-off of having more Crews.
- Agility: Roux
- Firearms: Marshal
- Strength: Jaxon
- Explosives: Forgey
- Driving: Zaya
Combat defiantly is a fun area for this game and it should be. At first, I was not really sure how I felt about the auto lock-on mechanic. It might have been a pride thing so I did what most gamers probably did. I tried to use my skill and show them I didn’t need any hand holding…I could not hit a thing I was aiming at either. I was a little put off by this but pushed on. And I’m glad I did. I realized that the almost mandatory use of the auto lock-on mechanic was built with the agility mechanics in mind. This mechanic allowed for easy target acquisition and tracking while boost jumping around the conflict area and feeling like I was War Machine. I admit that it takes the skill out of combat but allows you to focus more on the approach of the combat and just plain having fun. When you add the selection of weapons available to this, you get even more stupid fun.
You will be using weapons, grenades, and gadgets to unleash your city saving furry on Tarra Nova. You will unlock some threw story progression, but most are hidden throughout New Providence. There is by count roughly 24 items to be unlocked. The devs did a good job of coming up with different weapons, from normal projectile based to even a singularity based weapons. They all have their benefits but I found myself sticking to the same three for most of the game. I was using Forgey for the base Explosive perks plus I felt that explosives worked better on just about all targets. This really led to me checking out the new weapon when I got a chance if it was not explosive based. I don’t think this is a negative or do I think this is the fault of the developers. It was just my chosen playstyle. And I appreciated that the developers set it up like this so one could play the way they wanted. Before leaving the safe house I could equip my own personal firework show and set out to do some missions.
The missions of Crackdown3 are ok. They have a ton of them and they are spread out across the world, but they all start to feel the same. Go release these prisoners, kill the Station Master, and throw rocks in the harvesting wells are all things you will get very familiar with. The boss fights don’t really add too much to the equation either. This is however where my rare deaths did come into play. The bosses would normally have a pattern and once you figured it out it was back to your normal hold the fire button and jump around. The studios needed filler content so we get the normal foot races and driving challenges are thrown in. I really didn’t care for these so I mostly skipped them. I did, however, enjoy the propaganda tower mini-missions. These are missions where you need to platform your way up a tower or towers to hack the feed and replace with your own propaganda. I felt like these side missions gave me the perfect break from just fun senseless explosive spamming.
My final Thoughts
Like I stated earlier. I’m glad that I gave the game a chance. As I played more and more I found my self enjoying it. I was able to get right back into it after not playing for a while and if I needed to go do something else I could put it down and walk away. This game isn’t for everybody and I’m not claiming it will be a game of the year contender either. But it is some mindless fun that is nice every now and again. I don’t like to give number ratings, mainly cause I have no idea on how to formulate them and don’t want to just throughout meaningless numbers that I try to assign a value to. So I will put it like this…I personally would not buy this game for full price and probably would not even justify it at $35 either. But I would tell you to rent it and see what you think because this is just my opinion. My strongest recommendation would be to get it on Game Pass where it is free for now. It will let you play it and see if you like it enough to buy it when it cycles out of Game Pass. I asked the community on Twitter what their thoughts were and they seemed to line up with mine. Out of 197 votes, 79% said to get free with Game Pass and just 6% said just stay away.
Thank you for reading this far. Please feel free to comment or share this review on social media. Below is an amazingly done review by Colteastwood. Please take a look at his review and follow him on Twitter. he does amazing artwork also. It is important for gamers to reach out for information before deciding on purchasing a game. And as much as appreciate your time in reading this review, it is just one person’s opinion. Continue gathering information until you feel confident in your decision.
“That is all, game on!”