After 9 years and multiple delays, the world is finally able to play Crackdown 3. Now, I’m no stranger to these sandbox games; As a young impressionable teenager, I played Grand Theft Auto 3 and fell in love with the open world formula. Fast Forward a few years and I would play Saints Row. I will just apologise now as I am certain I will mention Saints Row 4 a few times in this review, and those of you that have played Saints Row 4 will understand my references immediately! So does the game live up to the Crackdown legacy, or is Crackdown 3 too little too late?
I was excited to jump into the game as I have never played any of the previous Crackdown titles. All I’ve heard is positive comments (in regards to the originals) and so, with a newly acquired Xbox One X and Gamepass, I was ready to experience the third game at it’s very best. What’s there not to love when you have a game in which the fantastic Terry Crews is the main character?! So, upon starting the game, I was presented with choosing which Agent I want to play as, this is an absolute no-brainer, Commander Jaxon is my guy. After the opening video, I was finally released into the world of Crackdown 3.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room, the graphics. They are, no doubt, dated. For being a game that is released towards the end of this current generation, they are not great. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I feel like the game looks like an upscaled Xbox 360 game (like the original Crackdown running on the Xbox One X). However, I didn’t think that the cinematic segments were that bad, as they looked visually appealing.
I will include the overall visuals as a Con to the game, but to some extent, I didn’t hate the look of it. I would say that it’s purely an artistic choice instead of shooting for hyper-realism, but it’s not the most technically advanced game we’ve seen this generation.
Another issue I felt the game suffers from is the overall sound. You have Terry Crews in your studio and you drown him out with everything else?! Of course, thankfully you can adjust all the individual sound levels, but to come out of the gate with literally every other noise drowning out your own character’s voice seems pretty silly.
What I love about these sandbox titles is the freedom the games give you, and Crackdown 3 does not disappoint in this department. You start off with a mission that is nice and simple as it plays as your tutorial to the game, but after that, you have complete freedom to go about the city. There’s no “Main Story” quest line, or at least not that I ever felt. From the get-go, you know who the bosses are and how to get to them. You can take them on in any order you want. I personally like this kind of freedom as you will want to explore the city in search of the agility orbs anyways and if there happens to be an activity that will help identify a boss, you can just do it! The only downside is that the game is heavily repetitive after awhile.
Something that really stuck out to me was the levelling system. Depending on how you take down the enemies the experience points you get will account for different things. Did you punch them to death?? You will get points towards your Strength Level. Did you run them over? You will get points towards your driving. Did you defeat them by shooting them from afar and then punch them? You will get points to your shooting and strength! I’ve never seen anything like that in a game this generation and I really thought that was unique.
Outside of the fun intro, I personally didn’t find the game very engaging as far as the story is concerned. Don’t expect a narrative that will knock your socks off, because it simply never comes. The game knows that its main focus is big gun battles and explosions. Much like Saints Row 4, you are basically a superhero with abilities that can take down a mob quickly. Unlike Saints Row though, thankfully you have to work for a while to have your full arsenal of abilities. By staying active with fighting and finding the hidden orbs in the game, you are able to level up, and both are provided in heavy amounts, so it doesn’t take much effort to get to the point of being overpowered.
Depending on how much time you want to spend, the game can be rather short. I’ve seen people say they were to complete the game in under 10 hours, but I have to imagine that is with doing very little of the side missions as well as not collecting all the hidden orbs within the game. I will be honest, there are almost too many of this little buggers! I felt that way about the orbs in Saints Row, and in this case, there are significantly more. I know that it is optional to find them all, but when there are 1000 of them, I feel like the game doesn’t respect the players time. The agility orbs are not marked on the map either, so you have to keep an eye out for them.
I could see the game easily stretching into 50-60 hours if you are shooting for 100% completion without a guide.
I don’t hate Crackdown 3. There are certain design flaws in the game and it is clear that perhaps the end product is still not exactly what people were wanting to see. Graphically it is heavily underwhelming, but the gameplay itself is very fluid and the game offers a lot of stuff for you to do, almost too much.
This is a game that Crackdown fans will enjoy, but I would say it’s best to either wait for a sale or utilise Gamepass to get the game for at least a month.
**This review only covers the single player portion of Crackdown 3. We’ll have an impression of the Multiplayer and the PC build towards the end of the wee as Rob, an avid Crackdown fan who’s played the previous two games to death, will be taking a look at it via the Windows 10 Store**