Step up your BOOM!
Well, it’s finally here! Crackdown 3 has finally been released! After all the delays and constant changing of release dates, it’s finally available. Thanks to Microsoft, we here at The Technovore managed to land a review code for the game. Since Sal was busy with covering the event at Marina Bay Sands (Ugh, outside world), I got charged with reviewing the game! Without further ado, let’s dig in!
What is Crackdown 3?
Crackdown 3 is an open world action-adventure video game that is all about the gameplay and destruction you can cause in it. I’m not even kidding about the destruction part, you’ll be very busy blowing things up as you progress and destroying your enemies at every turn.
The game itself looks beautiful and its visuals look something that came right out from a comic book. It reminds me a lot of Borderlands’ celshaded comic visual style and that’s actually a good thing.
If you’ve played games like Saints Row and GTA then you’ll have a fair idea on what to expect. As for those who haven’t (Why not?!), firstly throw logic out of the window and then accept that you’re a badass Agent of the Law (Destruction, more likely) in a world that’s trying to kill you and your job is to basically kill them all and progress the story.
Cracking it Down!
The game places you in the shoes of an Agent working for the shadowy Agency. Although the choices are limited in the beginning, you can use Terry Crews’ Commander Jaxon right off the bat! Don’t worry, you’ll be able to free change agents in-game, even to the locked ones (once you find their DNA) so you’re never stuck with playing as one you don’t like.
My suggestion is to play the game as Jaxon first because of the awesome dialogues you’ll get to hear from Terry Crews as you kill stuff in the game. After a short introduction, you’re thrown into the game and the action begins right away.
The gist of the story is that your job is to take down the leader of a corrupt corporation but before you can reach the big bad, you’ll have to dismantle their network of operations. As you play you’ll notice that the story doesn’t take itself too seriously and it’s just there for progression purposes. However, that’s okay because it’s all about the gameplay in this game and it’s addictingly fun with an adrenaline rush. I honestly had trouble stopping myself from playing it in one go.
The game is broken down into three main divisions that you have to take out: Security, Logistics and Industry. Each division is governed by a boss and two lieutenants. In order to reach the boss, you’ll have to take out their two lieutenants and each lieutenant has a set of unique side objectives that need to be cleared in order to reach them.
For example, you’ll have to destroy a number of manufacturing plants to reach an Industry lieutenant, taking over AI controlled subway stations to reach a Logistics lieutenant and just blowing up enemy outposts to reach a Security lieutenant.
There isn’t much variety between these objectives as it just boils down to blowing things up in the end and thus making it feel quite repetitive down the line, though Crackdown 3’s short length doesn’t make them overstay their welcome.
Bringing the Pain!
Yet somehow Crackdown 3 makes it quite enjoyable to just do that and it’s because of its ability system. In most games, the common way is to allow the player to upgrade their character by gaining experience points. In this game, you’ll have to git gud instead of your standard levelling process.
Don’t worry it’s not Dark Souls’ version of the git gud but it’s more of your character growing in skills as you play longer in a certain with an ability path.
There are five core ability paths in the game: Strength, Explosives, Firearm, Agility and Driving. For example, if you’re constantly blowing things up with explosives and rockets then your Explosive ability path grows. The same process applies to the rest as well, like the Firearms ability path grows as you shoot more and unlocks skills for your character such as allowing critical hits on enemies and to carry more ammunition.
This ability path system works perfectly with the difficulty of the game as you progress deeper. The enemies become faster, stronger, largely populated and some are massive. You’ll be overwhelmed in an instant if you don’t keep moving while taking cover as you clear your objectives.
And if you don’t focus on training your abilities early then you’ll be in for a rude awakening (like I was) when you meet the bosses of the game.
The real issue is never the bosses themselves but instead of their never-ending swarm of minions trying to kill you as you try to avoid their gunfire and the gunfire of the boss while trying to kill it. So get to training that Strength ability as early as you can to improve your defences and health bar because the enemies will fight back painfully!
Abilities are only part of the solution. The second part is all about the large array of weapons at your disposal. You’ll start off with your basic pistol and as you kill enemies you can start picking up their weapons which then unlocks in your arsenal.
For the most part of the game, using a submachine gun (though Sal swears by the heavy pistol) and rifle is viable but as you progress further you’ll realize that you’ll need something more with a whole lot of a kick to take out the enemies.
That’s when you’ll understand the BOOM aspect of the game because your loadout is going to contain at least two different types of explosive weaponry most of the time and for good reason.
One of the issues that really bugged me about the game is definitely jumping. Yes, you read that right, jumping. Crackdown 3 actually requires you to jump and grab on to ledges to progress to higher areas in some parts of the games and it can be quite a pain. The whole process is difficult to accomplish because it feels odd to control and weirdly slow as you climb up ledges.
The platforming aspect is taken to the extreme when need to overwrite propaganda towers. These are optional, but require extremely tricky jumping. They’re fun, but frustrating as well, due to the iffy jumping mechanics.
There’s also a largely useless driving stat, which upgrades your agency vehicle. But why use a vehicle when you’re a one man army on foot? The cars you get blow up waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too easily, so it’s really not to your benefit to use them.
To BOOM or Not to BOOM?
If you’re looking for a game to pass the time and just have some fun then this is a game I’d definitely recommend. You don’t need to do much to enjoy the game except play it and on some days that’s all we need, to have some fun and blow things up excessively after a long day.
Sure, there are some issues with pacing and repetition but those are easily ignored if you don’t force yourself to go through the game all at once. Crackdown 3 is a game meant to be played at your own leisurely pace, despite the urgency of the mission.
Good luck Agents and remember to bring on the BOOM!
– Celshaded visuals
– Fun gameplay
– Weird jumping mechanics