Xbox exclusive are sadly lacking this past few years, with the yearly release of Forza games, and other experimental titles like Sea Of Thieves and Cuphead, it was a weird time for Xbox fans to not be getting an Xbox staple for such a long time. No Halos, no Gears of Wars, had fans thinking Microsoft had abandon their treasured IPs. But one game stood above all, one franchise had to make a comeback, and that franchise is Crackdown.
Originally touted as a Grand Theft Auto killer, Crackdown was the open-world third-person shooter that elevated the Xbox 360 at its release. It offered a huge city to explore, skills that could upgraded as you played, and it had you playing someone on the good side of the law, instead of the gangster-centric exploits of the protagonists of GTA. The original game was released for the Xbox 360 in 2007, with Crackdown coming in 3 years after that. Crackdown 3 was slated for release in 2017, but encountered major delays which ended up pushing its release to 2019.
So has the wait been worth it? How much improvement has been made since the 9 years between Crackdown 2 and Crackdown 3? Well spoiler alert, not that much.
Crackdown 3 keeps all the hallmarks of the previous two games and polishes it up for the modern age. You still control a super powered Agent, who can increase 5 major skills throughout the game, you have a huge city where gangs have a hold on the city and it is your duty to put the crackdown on the multiple factions of the city. In Crackdown 3 you can choose from a number of Agents, with Commander Jaxon,who is played by Terry Crews, taking center stage. There are also other Agents who slightly more buffs and specialties, why would you not choose Terry Crews as your avatar? He has all the quips and charisma of the real Terry Crews, only this time you can use him to hurl objects, jump 20 feet into the air, and beat up bad guys.
While Crackdown 1 had you beat up a number of gangs and factions, and Crackdown 2 featured zombies of all things, Crackdown 3’s villains change it up a bit. Taking place in an island city known as New Providence, the shady megacorporation Terra Nova has been destroying major cities in the world with a virus, and taking in the refugees from these cities as prisoners in New Providence. As the Agent, you must put an end to the Terra Nova corporation and free the imprisoned citizens. With a plot like this, it’s more akin to something you’ll find in Just Cause and definitely breaks the mold for a Crackdown game. Visually the game is the best looking one yet, it tones down the cel-shaded aesthetic of the first two, but still keeps its Saturday morning, comic book styled aesthetic.
The original 2 games hasn’t aged quite well in terms of visual style, and the colour palette is also a little drab and muddy. Crackdown 3 doubles down on the neon and more tropical colour palettes, which really makes the game more visually distinct. The game runs smoothly enough, with no graphical fidelity compromised, especially if you play it on an Xbox One X. Your Agent can be upgraded in 5 ways, in terms of Agility, Firearms, Explosives, Driving and Strength. Like how you level up in an Elder Scrolls game, the more you use a skill, the more you level up in it. Except for Agility, which has scattered orbs in the city which encourages you to explore every nook and cranny to get better movement. The best part is the game’s buildings and obstacles are designed like a platforming game, so it’s definitely one of the best parts of the game. Once you level up, you can get whole new skills, going from a double jump, a mid-air dash, extra ammo, and a ground pound. All this makes you customize in the way you like to play, and make you better equipped for dispatching enemies.
In terms of story, the game really is lacking in that department. The Crackdown series is more of a sandbox experience, with the world being your oyster and you can tackle missions in any way you want. The game employs a Rivals chart, similar to Shadow of Mordor, where every time you defeat a commanding officer of the Terra Nova, different officers will take their place and replace the power vacuum. Defeating them all will bring you to the final boss of the game, the CEO and Founder of Terra Nova, Elizabeth Niemand. Defeating these officers and liberating is the gameplay loop of the game, and can get quite repetitive over time.
Overall, Crackdown 3 is more of the same, a modern return to form for the franchise. If you were a fan of the originals, then this is definitely the game for you. If you’re not looking for mindless fun and want something more substantial, it is best to avoid this one.
Simple and plain old fun, with a Terry Crews flavour.