It has been years in the making and it may not be all that it was cracked up to be but Crackdown 3 is still a solid sandbox game.
I haven't played a Crackdown game in years yet I have fond memories of the original games for Xbox 360. That being said, Crackdown 3 feels like a very familiar game which is both good and bad. On the plus side, its gameplay reminded me of sandbox games from yesteryear and playing it is intuitive and satisfying in a nostalgic way. However, this also means that it simply comes across as dated when you compare it to its genre contemporaries. Whereas games like Marvel's Spider-Man and Assassin's Creed Odyssey are pushing the boundaries of open-world games, Crackdown 3 instead feels like comfort food. Again, this isn't necessarily a bad thing but it certainly doesn't feel like a must-play game in 2019 as you can easily get as much enjoyment from revisiting some classic sandbox games for Xbox 360.
Crackdown 3 has you play as an agent within the world of New Providence in order to stop a large-scale criminal organisation. You do so by traversing the rather large map while picking up collectibles, mastering missions, and claiming supply points which act as checkpoints. Controlling your character of choice (I picked Jaxon because Terry Crews is awesome) is simple as you run and jump around as well as aim and shoot whenever confronting enemy forces. Complementary controls such as double-jumping, air dashes, and throwing grenades add some variety to the gameplay and it is fun driving around in different vehicles, too.
In addition to the basic yet satisfying gameplay, there are tons of objectives scattered all over the map that are rewarding to complete and levelling up your agent's agility, firearms, strength, explosives, and driving abilities to learn new skills is great fun. However, the most enjoyable part of its world is the fact that there are 9 criminals (referred to as targets) to take down. As you play and complete objectives, you gather intel on each individual and as soon as you have enough, they become vulnerable so you can then hunt them down and kill them once and for all. I thoroughly enjoyed this system and it made the boss fights much more gratifying.
When it comes to graphics and sound, Crackdown 3 unfortunately comes across as if it's a last gen game. For starters, the environments are mostly forgettable and generic and the cel-shaded character models don't do much to stand out from ones in similar decades-old games. Also, the music is rather droney and the sound effects are incredibly generic with guns making goofy "pew pew" noises. However, the low frequency explosions thankfully add a great deal of satisfaction to blowing stuff up.
On top of the campaign that can either be played solo or cooperatively, Crackdown 3 features a separate multiplayer game known as Wrecking Zone. In it, two teams of 5 players can challenge each other to Agent Hunter and Territories matches. The former has you kill opponents then confirm the kill to earn points and the latter has teams try to capture zones. Wrecking Zone has a heavy emphasis on destruction and it looks great after you topple a massive structure. All of that being said, I found multiplayer to get repetitive after a few rounds but it is an extra mode and still offers a unique experience from the main campaign so I can't complain much.
As I've mentioned already, Crackdown 3 doesn't really do anything fresh or exciting. On top of this, its controls can be quite frustrating. For example, I found scaling the sides of buildings to be very touch-and-go as it's difficult to tell what you can latch onto. Considering you can perish from falling from too high up, climbing walls became a constant source of annoyance as I played. Besides that, the controls are fairly stiff and I found trying to perform aerial moves to be quite cumbersome, especially after unlocking a few of them.
Crackdown 3 is far from a bad game but it also isn't necessary in this day and age. That being said, if you want to feel nostalgic for sandbox games from a decade or so ago then it's definitely worth checking out.
- + Simple yet satisfying sandbox gameplay
- + Lots of objectives to master and awesome targets to track down and kill
- + Wrecking Zone offers fun multiplayer
- - Subpar visuals for a current gen game
- - Gameplay doesn't do anything fresh
- - Controls are frequently frustrating