If you’re looking to play something that looks and feels like the original Crackdown game, for better or for worse, then this is your game. You’re still basically a superhero cop that quickly gains the ability to jump the height of buildings via collecting loads of hidden orbs in what is basically a 3D platformer with a dash of open world car theft, only with less personality. It’s still fun, I guess, but it does absolutely nothing I’d call new or interesting, and looks embarrassing both visually and gameplay wise when compared to any other AAA open world game released this generation. And it’s map doesn’t feel like it’s larger than those found in battle royale games, let anywhere close the size of most open world games.
Flat out, Crackdown 3 is straight up ugly. Imagine the first game’s art, only at a higher resolution with added neon lighting. In fact, I’ve pulled up side-by-side screenshots of this game and the 12-year-old original and it’s hard to tell them apart, and that isn’t a compliment to the original game. I realize this game has been in development for some time, but I’ve played plenty of games on the Unreal engine that look leaps and bounds better than this. In fact, I’d even say the original game at times has better textures than this, especially for the cars that mostly look like they’ve been spray painted and without a finish. Really, the overall game looks far too flat. Truly an embarrassment when compared to equally priced titles Red Dead Redemption 2 and Sony’s Spiderman.
While graphically things look a bit sharper on the Xbox One X version of the game, it only runs 30 frames per second. Meanwhile, I was easily able to run the game with no problem on ultra settings on my beastly gaming computer at over 150 frames per second. One weird quirk is that if you play co-op with someone on an Xbox, then your game’s framerate will be capped at 30 FPS on your PC.
If you don’t mind playing an ugly as sin game, you may find some short-lived entertainment here. Jumping super high and air dodging while collecting orbs that up your abilities is still a blast and practically the most fun I had in the game. Driving (which feels pretty good) is almost pointless as it felt quicker to me to travel on foot due to being able to quickly jump over buildings. The gunplay is still quick scoping with lock-on targeting where you can unlock the ability to air at different body parts of enemies, but it feels stiff, clunky, and dated. As Crackdown 3 likes to throw tons of enemies at you at a time it seems the game really wants you to almost exclusively use explosives, which can be satisfying at first before it blends into the monotony.
As far as the story goes it isn’t all that interesting, deep, or really barely even there. Basically, you’re out to take down the corrupt leader of the city whom you can only fight once you take down most of her henchpeople. If you’re hoping for lots of cutscenes or any real use of Terry Crews other than his likeness, you’re in for a disappointment. Sure, the short into has Terry giving a pep talk, and when you play as his he shouts a few things, but otherwise is mostly an afterthought; so much, in fact, you can play as other agents who act as little more than bland and generic skins whose only differences are the types of bonus experience points they grant.
If you just want to see the credits, you’re looking at around 8 to 9 hours of playtime, which means you’ll be taking down at least 2 of the 3 factions’ bosses to be able to fight the final boss, at least in my playthrough. It took me around 11-12 hours to complete every gameplay objective in Crackdown 3 at which point I stopped playing, having not found every orb or hit every trick jump with cars. At that point, there were practically no more enemies spawning in the world and it just felt utterly lifeless, though thankfully zombies don’t make a return from the game’s sequel. That said, there’s little actual life in this game, as many buildings and streets are practically empty of human activity besides simply walking or driving. I’m not one to need every single game I get to have an extensive end game, but Crackdown 3 gives you absolutely no reason or joy to keep playing other than mopping up achievements, which to me is old hat at this point.
Remember how the game was shown to have cool building destruction? Yeah, that was way overstated, as it’s now been regulated to the game’s multiplayer mode, which in and of itself is seemingly an afterthought. So much, in fact, that it’s launching without party support and full code wasn’t available to us at time of writing, leaving us to only get a taste of during the game’s public technical test. I can say even knowing what I played wasn’t the 100 percent complete version of multiplayer, it was enough to know that I didn’t want to play more. It has the same lock-on auto-aim that single player has, the destruction’s physics is less than impressive, and what I played just wasn’t fun at all.
I will say that I do appreciate that there really isn’t such a thing as ‘side missions’ in the game so much since nearly everything you might consider to be a side mission in most similar open world games is a requirement to advance in the story here. Open world games are repetitive by nature, so it’s nice for a game to give you a reason to complete these activities other than earning money, experience, or achievements. However, most of the missions are too similar and equate to ‘kill all the enemies at this spot while pressing buttons or shooting targets’. Also, there are towers to climb, which are cliche in the genre at this point, yet somehow remain fun here.
If you’re wanting to play something that feels and looks like more of the original Crackdown for around 10 hours, this is your game. If you are hoping for something that feels like what you’d expect for an open world AAA game released in 2019 for a current generation console by a first party, this is objectively not it.