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  • Jesper Ingemansson

Review: Crackdown 3


The moment is here. Crackdown 3 is among us, finally! It sure took its time, but that also did result in the better. As you all know, the folks over at Microsoft are very nice people, so they sent over a code for me to gain early access to the game, and I've now played the game enough for me to have a honest & final opinion about my experience, as well as the game. The game has been through a lot, delays and changes, but that's not stopping the game from delivering on the hype that it has surrounded itself in since being announced in 2014 at E3. 

Platform: Xbox One S. Introduction The Crackdown games haven't had the story at its front before, which isn't the case with the third installment either, but it does seem like we get more out of the story in Crackdown 3. The game features a simple menu, and choosing what difficulty I want to play in is needed first to start the game. 

There's four options, and I chose the most normal difficulty. Shorly after, I am introduced to Jaxon and his team of agents, in the form of a cut-scene. In this scene, Jaxon gives the team a briefing for their new mission, also known as the mission to gain back control of New Providence. It's a scene that's filled with a serious tone, but it's also not trying to be too serious, as it's clear right away that Terry Crew's character, Jaxon, is pretty much Terry but in a game. 

He's also the main character (or, at least the character that most people use), even though there's different characters to choose from. The scene doesn't end good, however, as Jaxon and his team are attacked, sadly ending in only Jaxon surviving. This introduces a new character called Echo, she and Jaxon is the Agency's last hope of claiming back New Providence. Right after this is where the game truly kicks off, and I am free to choose what character I want to use. I chose Jaxon, and due to the attack before, he's not as strong as anymore, which is where collecting orbs comes in. 

The first part of the game mainly consists of getting to know the game and how it works, with a boss fight to end it all before being allowed inside the city. I thought it was a great start, not too long, and it had a perfect amount of tutorial elements. Right from the start, it was immedietly clear that this game was going to offer a lot of fun gameplay! Visuals/performance The Crackdown games use cel shading rendering for their graphics/overall look, and while it might not be for everyone, Crackdown 3 is the one game that uses the technique that sticks out the most, as the game is by far the best looking game using it. Visually, it's very beautiful and stylish. The textures look to be of high definition, and the lightning in most places looks great. 

Compared to the older Crackdown games, it's by far the best looking one, with the third game showing evidence of there being a huge step-up in terms of the way it looks. Even though the games haven't been about their looks, Crackdown 3 shows that even games that use cel shading, can look amazing (I'm not saying that Crackdown 3 is the only game that looks amazing out of the all the games that use it, though). It's safe to say that it meets today's standards. 

I love the art style of the game so I never had any doubts regarding its visuals. Collecting orbs have never looked better! I'm not sure what resolution the game uses, but it should be 1080p on the Xbox One S, at least around 1000p. Overall, the game just looks great, and even better with the high resolution. I've never seen a game use its cel shading as good as in this, it's almost at times like it's not using the technique at all, the colors are vibrant and stunningly good looking, too. 

Moving over to framerate, the fun doesn't stop there as it's actually very stable despite being put through one hell of a fight at some extreme times. I'm having a hard time remembering if I ever did notice any significant drops, but I'm pretty sure I didn't. With that said, the framerate is as solid as a rock throughout the entire game, and even scenes with gigantic explosions, as well as a lot of action, won't tear the 30fps framerate down. 

There's nothing wrong with the audio design either, I'm pretty impressed by it, to be honest! I was expecting generic weapon and explosion sounds, but it managed to exceed my expectations, delivering a great sounding game overall. Weapons sound awesome and even somewhat realistic, and explosions are sounding, pardon my French, completely badass, as they should in a Crackdown game. Not only that, the explosions look spectacular! 

As soon as I found out that Terry Crews was going to starr in the game, and do his own voice acting, I knew that the dialogue was going to be awesome. Which it is! Sure, his in-game character, Jaxon, doesn't speak that that much (the scene at the start of the game does see him speak a lot, though), but when he does, he uses the one-liners that you'd expect to hear. In today's time of gaming, most games launch with bugs and performance issues, but that's where Crackdown 3 prove everyone wrong, games can still launch perfectly fine. 

I've yet to see any real bugs or glitches in the game, and as I mentioned earlier, the performance is top notch. It surprised me but I'm so glad that they spent some extra time on polishing it. The lightning is one best examples of it being done just right, as well, especially the neon lights at night time. Not only that, the music in the game is so awesome, it's mainly techno, and it's such a great fit to the game. I love listening to it while demolishing Terranova! Gameplay I'd say that the Crackdown games are in a genre of their own, not only because of their HUGE amount of fun to be had, but also because of their one of a kind gameplay that only Crackdown can master. Of course, there's contenders right next to it, like: Agents of Mayhem, the Just Cause games, Saints Row, and more, but the sheer totally crazy concept of the Crackdown games always places them in their own genre. Let's call it the Crackdown genre, simply put. 

The gameplay itself is not advanced, your main task is to tear down Terranova's current reign of New Providence, by mostly completing objectives in the form of, for instance: killing/eliminating a specific amount of enemies at a location, taking over propaganda towers, and destroying vehicles located in lockups. The thing is, however, I was obviously not able to complete them in any order. The Crackdown games all have one thing in common, something that will never be taken away from them, their core gameplay feature. I'm of course talking about orbs. They're back in the third game, and they're more addictive than ever. 

Nearly everything I do in the game rewards me with orbs that, once the current level's limit within that skill has been reached, evolves my agent into an even deadlier one. There's 5 skills in total: agility, firearms, strength, explosives & driving. Each has its own unique color, and they're all important to gaining back control over New Providence. They're what makes the games as fun as they are, especially hunting for the agility orbs as they're the only ones (excluding the super orbs) that are scattered throughout the city. 

There's a TON of them, too. Each time I leveled up a skill, my agent got better. For example, leveling up the firearms skill unlocks upgrades like the agency ammo field, or the deadeye targeting system, and leveling up the agility skill makes the agent more agile, faster, able to jump higher/further, unlock upgrades for the thrusters, as well as more. It has always been a huge part of the games, and it's kind of what separates them from similar games. 

The open world of New Providence is gigantic, around twice as big as the earlier cities, and there's a lot more to keep the player busy with. It's filled to the brim with activities and missions, so there's never really any moment without anything to do. Since this game let's you drive vehicles, and even upgrade your driving skill, there's of course time trial races, as well as agility time trials, that rewards the player with, well, orbs, obviously! They're very fun to take part in, and for me serves as a way to do something else in case all the killing becomes too much. 

All in all, the gameplay is simple, but that's what Crackdown is about, just simple joy and fun by roaming around a huge city as, basically, a orb-collecting superhero that is trying to save, practically, in this case since we don't explore anything else than what the game contains, the world. All I mostly did was to shoot enemies, and blow stuff up, which I loved doing cause of how fun it was. I really liked combining fightning with fists, throwing objects, and shooting, it felt very fluid. The driving is what I expected it to be like, sort of like the way they handle in Saints Row. Mostly, I roamed the city by running and jumping, but sometimes I felt like driving, too. 

While the driving isn't as advanced as in the Forza games, that's not what it is supposed to be like, either. After all, it's a Crackdown game. It's there, and I appreciate it for being there. I was hoping there would be more cars, though, as I saw many of the same cars driving around. With gameplay like this, some might think that it could become repetitive after a while, which is the case, BUT the amount of fun more than enough makes up for it. 

I completed pretty much the same missions throughout the game all the time, but then there's the boss missions that helps filling it out a bit. It's played in third-person like the older games, and the auto-aim reticle gameplay is back, as it should be. The amount of weapons to be used is just right, with there being around at least 10 of them. They're all different in size, abilities, and design. Some of them focus on creating complete havoc, and some focus on just quickly disposing of an enemy. 

There's rocket launchers, assault rifles, sniper rifles, pistols, shotguns, and more. I was allowed to hold three weapons at a time, and I loved using a rocket launcher, assault rifle, and a shotgun. There's also a great amount of different agents to use. I liked using Jaxon the most, though! I love the fact that they decided to put a deceased former employee of Microsoft/Xbox into the game as an agent, too! Story Despite the games not being much about the story, the third game does offer more of it than the other two. Set several years after the previous games, the agency is once again needed to save a city from a criminal empire. An attack on Jaxon and his team ends up in him only being the surviving member. 

Not only does it bring a familar face (though not literally, the right word is voice) back to the game but it also introduces us to a new face, Echo. That voice is of course no other than the one that's always been featured: Goodwin! The deep and awesome voice of Goodwin is back! A Crackdown game isn't complete without him. Echo is new to the franchise and I don't know exactly who she is, but she ends up saving Jaxon, despite not being a part of the agency at all. 

The corporation known as Terranova, run by Elizabeth Niemand, has taken over New Providence, and is spread out all over the city by having criminal bosses linked to the corporation assigned to different parts of the city. Just like in the previous games, the player is tasked with eliminating these bosses, with each one's elimination resulting in the empire being crippled piece by piece. As I complete objectives, and tear down their facilities, I get closer to eliminating bosses. After a specific amount of damage has been done, I am more easily able to kill a boss. 

I'm always free to try and take down one right away, too, but it'll be a lot harder to achieve without first breaking some barriers. Throughout the course of the game, and the course of the player wrecking Terranova, Elizabeth Niemand sends a small army of enemies to your current location, from time to time. While it's not hard to overcome this, I did think it was a great way to change it up a bit by her sending enemies to me instead of me hunting for them. 

There's not much of a story, and I never got to know much about any of the agents, or even Echo, but the cut-scenes/art sequences that plays after completing an objective, look downright gorgeous! I enjoyed watching them, a lot, even though they show up very often. There's really a big step-up in terms of quality with the third game compared to the older games, it feels a lot more like a AAA Crackdown game. Multiplayer The big selling point of Crackdown 3 once revealed was its new groundbreaking technology being powered by the cloud for multiplayer that promised 100% destruction. Any wall, any inch of material, everything. 

It was first supposed to be an entire city, or so it looked like, at least, but was later changed to a smaller playground, but still allowing for 100% destruction. Now, in 2019, Crackdown 3 is finally here, and its multiplayer portion really is something extraordinary. There has been other games that have tried similar approaches but none of them have executed it as well as in Crackdown 3. Any destruction made in a match is completely handled by the cloud (Azure), so the framerate never takes a hit, which is simply amazing. There's two modes (Agent Hunter & Territories), and a few maps. 

That might not be that much content, but hopefully, Microsoft will release some additional maps and modes later down the line. The destruction really is groundbreaking, and I really was able to fully demolish the map. It all looked insanely cool, too, especially dropping parts of a bulding onto another bulding, and watch them together fall down to the ground. It all really is beautiful to spectate, sometimes I just took a few minutes to dedicate my time destroying buildings instead of actually doing my part in the match. 

There's 10 agents in a match (5 VS 5), and I was also able to change what agent I wanted to play as. I think Microsoft has delivered regarding the hyped multiplayer, even though the playable area has gotten smaller. I love the multiplayer and its awesome destruction gameplay. Currently, the ability to play with friends isn't featured yet, but is coming as part of a patch soon. The gameplay is very fast paced, and seeing explosion everywhere that are destroying everything, is so cool. The gameplay is pretty dynamic, too. 

If I can't get a lock-on on an enemy, I'll just destroy what's stopping me from locking-on, and if there's an enemy above me, I can just destroy what the agent is standing on, watching him/her fall to the ground. Overall, it's all a LOT of fun! PVP isn't the only way you're able to play with friends, however, there's also co-op for the campaign. 

Me and my brother played together in New Providence, creating total mayhem, and collecting orbs. It was such a good time, it felt great being able to play co-op in a Crackdown game, and it all ran very well, too. I never experienced any issues or bugs, I only experience a lot of fun gameplay. If I ever feel like playing alone gets lonely, I can just invite a friend and gain control over the city accompanied by an additional player! All in all Receiving its popularity mainly from the Halo 3 beta, but managing to stand on its own after, the Crackdown franchise remains as one of the most fun open world experiences to be had in gaming. Some might say that the second game is not as good as the first, and if that's case with who ever is reading this, don't worry: Crackdown 3 is the ultimate Crackdown game, peaking in every aspect possible, and delivering one hell of a hectic, colorful, fun, fast paced, beautiful experience. While it might get repetitive at times with its objectives and activities, the core gameplay of the game and its tendency to make you feel like you're a superhero, all makes up for it. The multiplayer portion is just as awesome as I thought it would be, and the promise of 100% destruction is definitely a part of the game. It's super fun, full of explosions, as well as buildings being demolished, and I've had nothing but enjoyment from it. I fully recommend Crackdown 3 to every fan of the franchise. On top of it all, the game is such a good looking one, even to the point of it being the best looking game that uses cel shading graphics. It offers well over 20 hours of gameplay, and that's not counting the Wrecking Zone. Crackdown 3 is miles ahead of every other Crackdown game in terms of every aspect, and is definitely the best one yet, by far. 

Crackdown 3 is available both digitally & physically, with a price tag of $60. If you're a subscriber to Xbox Game Pass, the game is available to play at no additional cost. Interested in buying the game? That can be done here: Crackdown 3 - Microsoft Store. A review copy was provided by Xbox/Microsoft for review purposes. This review is written by Jesper Ingemansson, and is based on his honest opinion about the game.


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