Crackdown 3 is a game that came out many years too late, but for what it lacks, it does offer a short and sweet adventure filled with colourful orbs and massive explosions.
In the modern day where open world games allow the player to traverse an immersive, expansive world that offers hours upon hours of exciting content to engage in, Crackdown 3 fails to keep up with the competition. That’s not to say I didn’t have fun exploring the futuristic city of New Providence as my agent. Buttery smooth mobility let me the collectivist in me freely travel throughout the city to hunt for those elusive orbs, and there are certainly more than enough of them to keep a you playing for quite a while. Crackdown 3 is truly a sequel to its predecessors, but perhaps it should’ve been more.
The Finest Junk Food Around
The six to eight hour story of Crackdown 3 is nothing to write home about. New Providence is stuck in a stranglehold under the rule of the mysterious organization known as Terra Nova. This beast has eight heads, each of which are in control of a particular sector and specialty. One’s a mad scientist manufacturing the dangerous chemical known as Chimera, a woman that commanded the skies in her gunships, and the head of security. All these thugs are led by Niemand, the mastermind behind the organization. Beyond cheesy one-liners, these characters are melodramatic cardboard cutouts that belong on a saturday morning cartoon. Perhaps that works to this games advantage, however because this game is anything but serious. You can choose to play as Terry Crews or a number of agents that you are given at the beginning, a list that can expand as you collect Agent DNA around the city. The voice-acting is over-the-top and comical, never once taking itself seriously. The game sets the kind of mood that lets you sit back, unwind, and blow up mechs with your rocket launcher and ground-pounding goons into submission. The story is sorely neglected, as evidenced by the lack of much visual storytelling. Two cinematics that look decent, and the rest are either colourful still-picture vignettes, or in-game cutscenes that bring a closer look into this game’s visual style that is best seen from afar.
The game is not a sight for sore eyes. Standing atop monumental skyscrapers, I was able to fully take in the colourful, semi-cell shaded art style of Crackdown 3. It’s like a comic book come to life. Vibrant, saturated colours that pop off the screen. The colourful orbs you collect only enhance that effect. Reflections off the ground are surprisingly well done. The multitude of explosions I created throughout the playthrough had me believing I was right in the middle of a Michael Bay blockbuster. “Dull” is not the word I’d use to describe this game. The limited destruction built into the game’s campaign was disappointing. Debris was clunky, and didn’t have the right feel. Throwing a boulder three times my size should be powerfully satisfying, but it was like tossing a paper mache model.
New Providence is Your Oyster
The Crackdown series can at least proudly proclaim it excels at one thing, and that’s the movement. You start off being able to do one measly jump, but by sticking through for an hour or so, and you begin to unlock the secret of what makes this game more enjoyable. Collecting green orbs lets you slowly unlock several abilities that literally opens up the world so much more. Double jumps, triple jumps, mid-air dashes. I rarely felt a ledge was out of my reach. Kill gangster through any means available, whether that be your trusty shotgun, omni-rifle, or a plethora of grenades, and you unlock new explosives. Or if you get tired of shooting, solve your problems with your fists. By the end, it’s quite amusing to see Terry Crews become an unstoppable Superman. The lock-on gunplay takes away most of the challenge of combat, though it does make the hectic nature of the game easier to follow. Overall, the fights were either challenging or laughably easy. Enemies shoot at you from afar and their deaths heal you. Boss fights, even the final one, were rarely more than modified bullet sponges. The challenge in the boss fights came from the platforming which had you climbing up the tower they resided in and fighting the gauntlet that came with it. The driving felt like it was ripped straight out of the early 2000s. Outdated controls and awkward physics ruin that aspect of the game. At least while I was jumping around the city and shooting bad guys, I was bumping to a killer EDM soundtrack that wouldn’t feel out of place on my workout playlist.
If Crackdown 3 was released half a decade ago, perhaps then it’d stand out more as a fun, junk-food sort of game. Sadly, in today’s age where consumers have to be more selective about how they spend their 80 dollars, this game falls by the wayside. Still, I have to give credit where it’s. In moderation, I enjoyed what this game had to offer. Good, mindless action that kept me entertained, and addictive collectibles that offered tangible bonuses kept me in. By the end game, I felt like a powerful god smashing through my enemies with ease. Crackdown 3 is no home-run, but it does what it does best which, for many, is just enough.