Gamespot: 5 (campaign only)
Leaping high through the air across rooftops and collecting orbs--which still feature one of the all-time great sound effects--is fun and rewarding, because that pursuit has a direct correlation to further improving your jump height. Lifting large objects and chucking them at foes is likewise an entertaining alternative to typical gunfights. Just like in its predecessors, these two superpowers are the primary source of what entertainment there is to be had in Crackdown 3. But it soon it becomes apparent that the campaign has little new to offer. It certainly delivers on letting you blow things up and jump around the city. However, a dozen years after the first Crackdown offered that same experience but failed to provide you with enough interesting content surrounding that, it's truly disappointing to see this latest iteration suffer from the very same problems.
More than anything, play is important in the jungle gym of New Providence. Through a barrage of bullets from soldiers with the persistence of an army of toddlers negotiating ice cream for breakfast, and a mission structure that repeats itself to the point of nausea, like a stale school lesson plan, Crackdown 3 maintains its level of fun. You’re a superhero with an arsenal of ludicrous weapons that are a delight to wield, in a world that dares you to break it at every turn. Sometimes, that’s enough.
On paper, Crackdown 3’s single-player campaign checks all the boxes that made the original an enjoyable game – but playing through it is about as exciting as running down a checklist and becomes downright repetitive after the first few hours. Its second-to-second combat is uninteresting outside of a couple of boss fights, and even though there’s a compulsive satisfaction to be had in crossing off its many itemized activities, it's never any more than that.
Crackdown 3 is a good Crackdown game, which, unfortunately, doesn't mean much anymore. Modern game design has surpassed the Crackdown model by leaps and bounds -- as high and far as an agent can jump. The most remarkable thing about Crackdown 3 is how unambitious it is. It's content to come off as dated, like a relic from a bygone era. That can be comforting in a way, but it's immeasurably more disappointing. Crackdown 3, just like its kin, is only a distraction and nothing more.
The new technology Microsoft has implemented - and the core focus behind the Wrecking Zone - is awesome. Buildings crumble in intense detail, you can explode floors to make enemies fall through, you truly do come in like a wrecking ball. But it would be so much better in a game like say, Battlefield. Using this technology in such a mundane multiplayer experience feels like an absolute waste. It feels like something that would have impressed at the start of this console generation, but fails to entice now. If you are going to pick up Crackdown 3, don’t waste your time with Wrecking Zone.
Despite how much I wanted to enjoy Crackdown 3, I can’t say that it’s anything but disappointing. If you’re a longtime fan like I am, you still might find some redemption in collecting orbs or the simple act of leveling up your abilities, but you’ll still just be left appreciating better modern open world games at the end of the day more than you’ll enjoy Crackdown 3. Likely the best part about Crackdown 3 is that the game is finally out and we can quit collectively asking questions about when it’ll arrive. Microsoft, in turn, can also just move forward and focus on future first-party titles rather than having to worry about this shell of a game any longer. Crackdown 3 should have been great, and I wanted it to be great, but now I just really don’t want to talk or hear about it anymore.
Crackdown 3 should never have been released. The campaign is barely mediocre and the multiplayer is a travesty compared to what was initially promised. The underlining tech may well be viable in the future but it should’ve stayed in a test lab somewhere, until it worked properly and could be used in a game that takes full advantage of it. It is possible to eek out some fun in the campaign’s co-op but for what was supposed to be one of the Xbox One’s most important exclusives this is a crashing disappointment.
With more and more looter shooters or expansive RPGs hitting the shelves, in a world where every FPS will soon have a Battle Royale mode attached, Crackdown 3 almost feels like a breath of fresh gunsmoke. It may at times feel like a magic mirror back to 2007, but its simplistic, unpretentious approach to good old-fashioned mayhem means it’s never less than a blast to play.Last edited by celador - on 15 February 2019