Who else remembers the hype around Halo 3 and the chance to play the beta of a new game called Crackdown? Like many other Xboxers, I hustled down to my local Gamestop and made the purchase to get access. The strength of the beta would then push to another purchase, this zany, somewhat addictive new Xbox franchise as solid as any. Twelve years later, however, Crackdown 3 — starring Terry Crews! — is not that game. Despite an attempt to recapture the same thrills, Crackdown 3 is an average sci-shooter that fails to add anything fresh or innovative to the original.
CD3 also takes inspiration from many titles you’re familiar with: an open box like Grand Theft, a blow-anything-up like Red Fraction, and even the superheroesque combat of Sunset Overdrive (yes, O.G. Crackdown was released first, but this one takes metahuman powers to a whole new level). Crackdown 3 combines all of these genres unsuccessfully — the feeling of a game lost in translation.
The storyline leaves you feeling lost, as if you just finished Skryim’s chief narrative and now have nothing but random side missions left. Crackdown 3 is a non-linear open world, with a main story that involves a ton of independent missions that lead to sub-bosses. You complete all of these and you have an end boss. The main issue with this format is that the game doesn’t keep up with story progression. There are times that characters or radio stations will talk about missions that you need to compete, despite the fact you already finished them.
CD3 also suffers through quite a few bugs, many that will leave you scratching your head and some that will force you to reload a save point or two. The first bug deals with the agility score, as it’s still very easy to over-jump ledges even at full level. And this is a game based on agility and jumping… While roaming through the world you will come across enemies that just stand there as you pick them off from a distance, so don’t expect much from the AI. The biggest bug found? If you get bombed while scaling towers and blasted to a previous floor, you may get stuck with elevators that don’t work. This is due to elevators that turn off once you pass certain points, even though you can get blasted back to them. Cue multiple reload saves.
The multiplayer does save this game a bit, but that’s only due to the level of destruction you can raise. This is not Red Fraction: Guerrilla though, where you can bring down buildings and leave mass destruction — as originally promised at an E3 a few years ago (via the cloud, yadda yadda). Crackdown 3’s multiplayer allows you to blast holes in walls for easier kills, something the storyline mode doesn’t. As of this review, there are still only two modes: King-of-the-Hill and Deathmatch. You also can’t team up with friends, since everything online is random matchmaking.
In the end, Crackdown 3 goes down as another major Xbox exclusive disappointment, a hopeful end to an era that Phil Spencer surely wants to moved past. And, hey, if you’re a longtime fan of the franchise or a wee bit curious anyway, at least you can play it on Game Pass for only a buck. 2.5/5 Bibles.