Crackdown 3 was recently delayed to Spring 2018, when it will be launching for Xbox One.
Crackdown 3 gameplay
Microsoft’s been harping on about Crackdown 3 for what feels like forever. But we’d seen woefully little actual gameplay from the futuristic open-world shooter – until now. At this year’s E3 Microsoft finally lifted the lid on Crackdown 3, giving me a chance to get my mitts on the game.
Let’s start with the fundamentals. Crackdown follows the same formula as previous entries into the series, putting you in the role of a futuristic super-policeman with a suit of powered armour and futuristic weapons that make you more powerful than most superheroes.
As a supercop you’re then expected to run around the open-world city, picking up missions and dealing with the various undesirable elements plaguing the city’s residents.
The basic format is a little old school and appears to follow the same “area” system as older games like Homefront the Revolution and Mafia 3, albeit with a less serious tone. Each of the colour-coded gangs controls specific areas of the city that are marked on your map. To clear the gang you have to go in with guns blazing and eliminate every enemy in each of their bases or hangouts.
Developer Sumo Digital claims it has added depth by integrating strong multiplayer elements that let you team up with other supercops online, and a reputation-based system where factions will alter their behaviour and attitude based on your actions.
Sadly I didn’t get to experience any of this during my hands-on. Instead I was allowed to rampage through what the Microsoft representative described as “a very small fraction of the game’s world map” for 10 minutes. The sandboxed area didn’t contain any missions, and instead was intended as a technical demo, which is a little bit disappointing considering how long this game has been making fans wait.
Normally I’d slam a company for this, but despite everything against it, I actually enjoyed my brief foray into Crackdown.
Starting as I mean tto continue by leaping off the top of a tall skyscraper, the action began before I hit the ground. Spying a group of enemies below, I hit the Melee button mid-fall and performed one of Crackdown’s iconic ground pound attacks. As well as sending the enemies flying in all directions, the attack caused a pleasing amount of collateral damage to the surrounding city and sent more than a couple of cars skywards.
Hijacking a car I then made a beeline to heavily fortified enemy base. Running in guns blazing with my starting shotgun/assault rifle combo I was quickly blasted to pieces and forced to perform a tactical retreat to the top of a skyscraper and rethink my strategy. With precious minutes left the rep tapped me on the shoulder and pointed me in the direction of a shiny marker in the distance marking the location of a super weapon.
After securing the weapon, but remaining unsure what it actually was, I then returned to a rooftop on the outskirts of the base and prepared to mount my second assault. Shooting the mystery gun I was pleased to see I had stumbled upon what I can only describe as a black hole launcher, that fired giant black orbs that sucked and disintegrated all nearby objects.
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Blasting willy nilly into the compound the gun was wonderfully satisfying to use and led to a domino effect of destruction where every generator in the compound shorted leading to the mother of all explosions. The fallout damage that followed my attack on the enemy base also revealed a small insight into Crackdown’s cause and effect system.
After catching one of the city’s highrise monorails in the blast and sending it flying straight down a busy street, the authorities and transport company apparently took notice and exception to my actions. Before I could fully soak in the gloriousness of my handiwork a team of laser turrets and automatic city defences had descended on me, eager to ensure I didn’t mount a repeat performance. Cue the credits and a cliffhanger to my brief excursion into the world of Crackdown 3.
The satisfying combat structure was further aided by the game’s graphics. Testing Crackdown in 4K on the Xbox One X the game’s stylised, comic book-like graphics looked great, textures were wonderfully detailed and particle effects are a cut above most competing titles.
Crackdown 3 has been a long time coming and there’s always a big risk it won’t deliver on Microsoft’s promise. But, from the brief 10 minutes I got, I can at least confirm the combat is fun and wreaking havoc across the futuristic city was a blast (pun obviously intended).
The big question, however, is if the combat will be enough to keep players engaged in what, at the moment, looks like a fairly old-school game that follows the same “go here and kill things” mission format that’s as old as the hills. Let’s hope it can bring something else to the table when the time comes.
Crackdown 3 trailers
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