Welcome to the city jungle.
It’s going to feel a bit comfortable for many Crackdown veterans excited to get back into the improved world that is Crackdown 3. With its artistic style, insanely fun weapons and explosions, and fun characters, this is definitely a game for those who’ve been wanting leave the critically panned Crackdown 2 in the shadows, and remember the glory days of the original Crackdown. But don’t get too ahead of yourself, this E3 had the gameplay set on the story mode. So all of that massive city destruction you’ve seen in the past won’t be happening this time around. But the zany moves and set pieces are still as fun as ever before.
Crackdown 3 was a game showcased on this year’s Microsoft media briefing on a massive 4K screen. But getting into Crackdown 3, well, I wouldn’t necessarily consider it a “showpiece” title; but falls more in line for games with graphics along the lines of Xbox 360. It’s beautiful and colorful, sure, and brilliant on many fronts — but why did they hold back that Halo 5 level of quality to the quality of graphics? With graphics that sometimes look standard and other times look cel shaded, it was really hard to define what the team was going for. The draw distance and city scape show off an interesting backdrop far, far off in the distance. What else was interesting was when I asked what the game was running on, they were happy to inform me that it was currently running on a PC with unknown specs.
It’s hard to ignore the color design immediately upon launching into the third-person world of Crackdown 3. For a game bent on destruction, this sure is a colorful game. Centered around a city full of towering buildings and dark alleyways, Crackdown 3‘s color palette is intense for a game in the semi-serious action-adventure genre. This isn’t Splatoon colorful by any means, but my eyes never got exhausted by the same gray levels found in games such as Call of Duty.
"Being that this version of the game was in the single player story mode, what can of story is there that I can tell you about? Well, I really can’t. The game was previewed in story mode without any sort of context to any story elements. "
Gameplay mechanics in Crackdown 3 feel solid and really good. Jumping in the air, targeting enemies — or jumping in the air while targeting enemies feels amazing. Punching people, picking up vehicles and the overall control scheme of double jumping or jet pack are really cool. What doesn’t make any sense is the climbing of buildings. For a game based on momentum and fast-paced action and constant motion, climbing buildings feels archaic and underdeveloped. With only the ability to hang on and jump, hang on and jump, and repeat, the momentum slows down considerably and… it just doesn’t feel right for this type of game. Sub-targeting is a pretty cool feature as well; targeting an enemy’s head will, of course, hit them with a head shot; but also locking onto the enemy’s wrist can knock the weapon out of their hand for an added bonus of fun. Orbs are everywhere in the game, and once you collect one you’ll want to collect them all.
Unfortunately, Crackdown 3‘s showing at E3 2017 was essentially the story mode within the game. And as Sumo Digital have stated that the cloud based destructibility will only be in the online version of the game. So the game equates to two different versions when it launches later this year. There are, however, tons of things to destroy and blow up; and if you’d like to just blow up stuff, you’ll increase your explosive level — same thing goes for melee attacks and rifle/sidearms and anything else; using any skill will level the character up in many different ways, and very quickly. The speed at which the character gets stronger has been boosted over previous versions of the series. Destruction in the story mode is fantastic and feels awesome. It won’t be at the online-level, but it’s impressive nonetheless.
"Overall, Crackdown 3 seems to be an average (or possibly below average) looking game, based in a world of over-the-top gameplay — that’s also average to the feel. The sometimes clunky gameplay was a bit worrisome, and the muddy textures were all over the place."
The game was previewed in story mode without any sort of context to any story elements. I was designated to go around, blow things up and enjoy my time. But I never partook in any story briefing. That was a little disappointing because Sumo Digital purposely showcased the story mode — because Crackdown 3 had been previously only showing off its online multiplayer — to let us witness its progress in that department…without any story. It was pretty much an open world where I was able to go about, doing literally anything I wanted, and that’s it. It’s a shame because I would loved to have seen how a mission plays out.
Overall, Crackdown 3 seems to be an average (or possibly below average) looking game, based in a world of over-the-top gameplay — that’s also average to the feel. The sometimes clunky gameplay was a bit worrisome, and the muddy textures were all over the place. I’m not quite sure how I feel about the game; did I enjoy my time? Yes. Would I like to see a ton of more performance and graphics improvements in the final version? Yes. Were there bad parts? Most definitely. But it felt as though the developers really felt a passion for what they were designing. A passion to bring back that feel of the original Crackdown and to show the community that this franchise has a future.
This game was previewed on the PC.