I think my brother put it best when he said “this is what I wanted from Crackdown 2”.
Here we are with Crackdown 3, the third title in a series that I have many fond memories of. Well, from the first one, anyway.
Crackdown 3 has been in the classic “development hell” scenario for over 5 years, and to be honest, it shows.
I’ve been having a really good, fun time here. But this is not a product of 5 years of solid work by a dedicated team. Microsoft Azure can’t save it from becoming what it is…..
Feels like Crackdown
Here’s the thing. Crackdown 3 feels exactly like Crackdown. An Xbox 360 game, released in 2007.
That sounds like a bad thing, and I guess in some ways, it absolutely is. But when you love something and have fond memories of it. Having a very similar experience, years later, is no bad thing.
Between the art direction, the floaty controls, the carnage and of course, the ever-taunting agility orbs. You find yourself in a Crackdown game. It’s familiar, it does it’s thing well enough and it’s fun.
Problem is, this is 2019, and it feels like I’m playing a game from 2007. Nostalgia and sound effects can only take me so far along the journey before I realise that Crackdown 3 is no better or “more” than Crackdown or Crackdown 2.
If you have expectations of just playing a superhero fantasy sandbox game. You’re golden.
I just hoped there would be a bit more to it.
Doom and gloom?
It isn’t all bad. It’s just about adjusting expectations, which is a strange thing to ask of your customers.
The promised “destructible world, using the power of the cloud” is a bit of a crock….. Sure, there’s the Wrecking Zone multiplayer, which hosts the destructible environments, but it’s a little limited. In fact, the whole mode is a separate install to the game.
Get past what you expected, remember what you love about the franchise, and just have fun with it. Suddenly it’s a great game and a fun way to sink a few hours into becoming super-human and blowing stuff up.
I will never not be satisfied by the classic agility orb noises. Seeing my agent (Terry Crews!) beef-up more and more as I progress is a lovely visible indication of my progress.
The car that transforms as your ability improves, is back. Although not quite the same as before. This time you have different “modes”. I really like all 3, but the spider-mode takes some practice!
Crackdown 3 isn’t a triple-A title that you should go and spend £40-£50 on. What it is, is a well-polished, fun sandbox that is best placed on Gamepass, and will be worth picking up for £15 in the near future.
I’ve paid £2 for 2 months of Gamepass, and I’ve had my money’s worth many times over. In fact, it’s made me realise just exactly how good value the service is.
Truth is, within those two months, I’ll have more than had my fill of Crackdown 3, and I’ll be looking for something else.
In the meantime, though. I’m have loads of fun, since changing my perspective and adjusting my expectations.
Crackdown 3 is another Crackdown. That’s it. It’s the only way to describe it. A double-edge sword, indeed, but I’d say it slants towards the positive.
I’ve nearly finished all of the bosses and the core “campaign”, then it’s collecting orbs and looking for 100% completion, which I’ll never do. Hopping back in for some chaos will always be fun, though.
All in all
Being honest, I don’t think I’ll do a full-on review. Crackdown 3 isn’t a game that’s breaking boundaries, or even taking the series to some kind of epic new height.
What it does do, is let you continue the fun we had in 2007. Bold and colourful, strong and powerful. There’s a lot of fun to be had, but in a limited quantity.
We’re not looking at 50+ hours of in-depth storytelling and well-defined characters. This is about pure fun and chaos. Blowing stuff up, jumping up buildings and punching things.
Anything it lacks in depth and nuance, it makes up for in just being a solid, polished sandbox.
Framerates don’t seem to dip particularly when the action gets a bit spicy, and it really heats up quite quickly! AI is a bit ropey. The poor agency car tends to find itself driving into rocks, cars, walls etc, when being delivered.
Fact is, if you liked the original Crackdown, and you want some more of that carefree fun. You’re golden.
By modern standards it isn’t a big game or a particularly exceptional game. But it does what a lot of games don’t. I just lets you get on with it and blow stuff up.
It’s not exceptional, but I definitely recommend it to anyone who likes fun. Maybe just make sure it’s less that £20 before you buy it?