They say ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, which is just as well, because if I didn’t know the Crackdown series was all about the fun, I probably wouldn’t have given it a second look.
It’s fair to say Crackdown 3 looks pretty rubbish. It reminds me of Disney Infinity in a way, with its half empty worlds and quite basic looking graphics. I’m not sure if this is anything to do with the delays the game has suffered, and of course the change of developers. It’s hard to tell, but it seems like the graphics have suffered as a result. If I didn’t know better I’d swear the original game looked better on Xbox 360, but maybe I’m just blinded by my sheer nostalgia for that particular title, which still to this day holds a place in my gaming hall of fame.
Being a fan of the original (the less said about Crackdown 2 the better), I was willing to look past the obvious presentation flaws and give Crackdown 3 a chance and to be honest I’m glad I did because underneath this rough diamond is a game which can’t help but make you smile.
One of the best things about the original Crackdown was the chaos of it all, the new discoveries you would make by just exploring the world, and it’s the same here. You’ll constantly find new bad guys to blow to smithereens, some often tougher than the last. Of course, there’s plenty of weapons and vehicles to unlock too, all of which make up the loadout you can carry into missions, chosen as they are at weapon supply points which you will unlock throughout the impressively sized map.
Taking a step back for a second. The story of Crackdown 3 is set 10 years after the events of Crackdown 2, a terrorist attack kills all power to the world and you and your agents are sent into the city of New Providence, controlled by an agency called Terra Nova, to set things right. Unfortunately, things don’t go to plan at first, setting your super-powered heroes, lead by Commander Jaxon back to square one, however, once you are up to speed it doesn’t take too long until you are kicking butt once again.
New Providence is a pretty dull looking place, most likely because the power has been switched off, however, once you start to take control of territories and free anyone who is captured, things around the city begin to brighten up a bit, making for a more pleasing to the eye game.
There are many ways you can begin to take control back from the Terra Nova, which generally involves causing as much chaos as you can in each zone on the map. For instance, you can stop its mining corporation, by destroying the huge machinery, cause disruption to the chemical plants or you can take over the subway stations, allowing the citizens to roam free once again. There are also propaganda towers to shut down and militia to free from prison – in fact, there are so many objectives to complete, you’ll often just come across them while roaming around.
Each district on the island has a leader, so as you take down the objectives relating to each of them, you’ll get more information as to their whereabouts, however, the problem is, the more you chaos you cause in their district, the more you’ll annoy them, seeing these leaders retaliate by sending in their armed forces. This makes for some pretty crazy scenes as if you escape to a different zone, they’ll still come after you, meaning you could technically have two different leaders armies chasing you down.
To make matters worse, if you attract the attention of the King Pin, who of course is the leader you are really after, then you’ll have her army to deal with too, which is obviously a lot more powerful than those of the sub-leaders. Suddenly, the Disney-Infinity-barebone levels aren’t so barebones anymore, with explosions, gunfire and all-out madness unfolding before your eyes. Sadly, being me, I opted to piss off the King Pin practically at the beginning of the game, seeing her small army hunt me down, still, at least it made for a good challenge.
I love the way you can approach Crackdown 3 in any way you like. There’s no set way to play, you can tackle zones in any order or you can just explore, growing your characters strength and agility by slowing taking out the enemy a step at a time.
Anyone who has played Crackdown before will know all about the collectables, which is one of the most fun parts of the game. Hidden throughout each zone are agility orbs. Find these and your character will slowly grow from someone who can hardly move at all to an all-out super-powered agent. Eventually, you’ll be flying through the air with one jump, which is just as satisfying as web-slinging through the streets of Manhattan with Spider-Man.
Your agent will grow in strength in other ways too. For instance, if you blow up the enemies with explosives then you’ll eventually become a master – the way you kill grows that skill. There are other hidden orbs too, which will grow all of your skills – there are lots to find, so make sure to have a good look around.
There are so many different enemy types in Crackdown 3 that you’ll constantly be surprised. One minute you are facing up against small robots, thinking to yourself, “this is quite easy,” then the next you are staring in the face of mechs, enemies with shields and all manner of weapons you’ll not yet have laid eyes on. Luckily, as you find these enemies and kill them, you’ll unlock their weapons, affording you the same firepower. As briefly mentioned earlier, throughout each zone are Supply Points which you’ll need to unlock, however, once you do, it’s here that you can change your loadout, and gain access to any weapons you have unlocked – meaning you can really set about kicking enemy butt.
There’s not just Supply Points, as you can also find Vehicle points spread throughout the game too, allowing you to unlock any vehicles you may acquire. The driving in Crackdown 3 is a little odd at first but its also a great way to get around. Much like in other games of this type, there are also special objectives just for vehicles, so you can take part in stunt and race events, and at the same time improve your driving skills – this is well worth doing, as it means you’ll unlock agency cars, which in all honesty are pretty special.
Of course, you can also take part in on-foot objectives too, such as rooftop racing, which will help grow your character’s agility even quicker.
My review of Crackdown 3 started with a negative, however much like the game, the further you get into it, the more you’ll begin to understand the point. Crackdown 3 may not be the prettiest game in the world, but the longer I’ve spent with it, the more I’ve come to love it. Crackdown 3 for me, is all about the destruction, the chaos and the fun. Those who’ve never played a game in the series before most likely will never quite understand the appeal, but personally, I can’t get enough of it.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*