February 17, 2019

Crackdown 3 - Review

After many years of waiting, Crackdown 3 is finally in the hands of players, all eager to step into the boots of an Agency member and take the fight to whomever is the baddie this time around, however can it live up to the hype that the games has been building over the years?

Crackdown 3 will see you take on the roll of Terry Crews as Agent Jaxon, you can play the game as a host of agents, but be honest, you will play as Terry, or at least you should be. Cities around the world have been hit by a massive energy wave that has knocked out power, with no hope of it coming back online soon. The citizens of these cities have fled to New Providence, a city built on some small islands out in the middle of the ocean, by Terra Nova a company that aims to help the world get restarted again. But something is rotten in the state of Denmark, or more specifically on the island of New Providence and the Agency is heading in to find out what, but before they can land, a massive wave of energy comes and cause their ship to crash and everyone die, but thanks to a new ally, your character is resurrected and the fight to take back the island is on.

If that is more story than you were expecting, hold on to your butts, as it gets even more in depth, there is a hierarchy of enemies on the island, all under the watch of Terra Nova leader Elizabeth Niemand. Under her are the leaders like Nagata, and then under the four of them are the sub-leaders like Liv Sorenson, in order to make your assault on the final tower with Niemand is based, you will need to take them all out, which lowers the towers defences and makes things easier for you. Of course, clearing out the other bosses is not as easy as it sounds, some of them can be quite tricky and others even more so, but the plan of attack on getting them to show themselves is the same, no mater who you target first.

The games mission structure is very much a rinse and repeat way of gaming, you mark a location on your map, head there, shoot all the bad guys, hack a terminal or two and then leave, that is pretty much it. I have just described how you free prisoners, blow up chemical plants and more, the variety is very basic at the mission level, sure there are some propaganda towers that you can hack, or racers you can take part in, but those are only a few compared to the many guys to shoot. Each section boss focuses on one thing, for Djimon Keita it is all about chemicals, so when you fight him or the goons that work for him, you will experience a lot of chemical attacks, these can drain your health quite quickly, but also send your screen waving like a mad thing, giving you plenty of chances to experience an acid trip in digital form.

Fighting enemies is all well and good and the game does provide you with enough of an arsenal to do so with, but the best way to fight them, is to literally punch them, sending them flying. Of course, to do this against some of the stronger ones, you need to level up first, and apart from agility orbs, the only other way to do so, is to do the action. So, if you want to level up your ability to punch someone out in one hit, you need to punch a solid thousand people first, the same with driving, you need to complete racers, do stunts and basically drive like some kind of possessed racing demon, earning you some more of those sweet purple orbs. The agility orbs though, those are the ones you see floating all around the city, sitting on the corners of small shacks and floating around in the space between two buildings. No one explains why they are there, they just are and the more you collect the higher you will be able to jump, as well as running faster, getting your agility level up is crucial as it is the best way to get around the city.

Though, making it your only option is not advised as there are times when you will overshoot your targeted landing platform, thanks to the game having you hang in the air longer than a rejected high five. The Propaganda towers that I mentioned before are a prime example of this, in order to reach the top you need to jump from small platform to small platform, sometimes dodging laser death walls, that if you touch them, will send you crashing back down, the game even expect this as it lets you respawn up to the last check point you passed. One of the items you can equip is a launch pad, which does as its name suggests and launches you into the sky and using that in connection with the double jump and air dash, was the safest way I found of getting up these towers, which is funny. So jumping around is fine, but you will need to use a car at times, especially once you unlock the final form of the Agency car, but there is a problem with the cars.

I say that as the games driving mechanics are broken, the cars either have no grip, which sends you spinning out of control with the slightest touch of your stick or are so light and weak that a nudge of a curb and your car explodes. Things are a little different with the Agency car, given that it has multiple forms, but again, one is two speedy for its own good, one that can jump never manages to land on its wheels again and more, though you can launch yourself from it like Batman and then cause the car to ram into enemies and explode, which is always fun.  The other issue with the game comes down to the world, which is bland, not to say its not visually cool, as there are some nice touches, the holograms that indicate when you have taken control of a point or such, but the locations all tend to blend together because of them.

Echo, your local ally will explain locations when you first enter that new region, but there is nothing more to see when you re-enter them later, the game just lets you play on. There were times when I would think I was in one space, only to find myself near the middle point of another and this was because of how it all blends together. Other presentation issues are quite common too, thanks to some wonky animations or something, I got stuck on rocks, grates and more, so often I had to start remembering where the nearest supply point was, in case I had to fast travel out. As I said before cars are hard to drive, but even worse, they look horrible, the Agency’s car, in its first mode looks like something a kid might think of for their car of the future, it has a Tron like feel, but the cheapness of cardboard.

Audio wise is the worst, you hear two people over and over again, Echo and the voice of the Agency, still wonderfully voiced by Michael McConnohie, the problem is both characters never feel like that they have anything meaningful to say. Echo does provide you with intel on the areas that you have entered, but that is it, most of the time she just repeats things about the militia and the people, the voice of the agency does the same, the games music ramps up when the action does, but it has this annoying issue of sticking around long after everyone is dead. Finally, there is not enough Terry Crews in this game, as you take over Propaganda towers, you will hear messages being broadcast from them by Commander Jaxon, aka Terry Crews, but that is it. I heard a few one liners from time to time, but they are so rare that I honestly think I began to either imagine them or think they were from the towers.

Crackdown 3 does feature a multiplayer mode, but this reviewer did not get a chance to sample that. If you want a popcorn game, where you can turn your brain off and just enjoy things then Crackdown 3 is for you, it is full of explosions and lots of them, so stepping up your boom is something you can do a lot. The main mission is so recycled by the time you attack the final tower that it loses all its appeal and while collecting agility orbs is fun, there is just nothing too exciting about climbing all the way up to the top of a tower, to gain .01 of a point towards the end.

Review copy provided by Xbox Australia

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