At Microsoft’s showcase event during E3 I went hands-on with Crackdown 3, which was running on a Windows 10 PC in 4K HDR, and not an Xbox One X, and quite frankly it felt very familiar. First up though, I have to mention just how crisp and colorful this game looks in 4K, which seems to be made to display the cel shaded art style that the Crackdown franchise employs. The neon tones and vibrant hues all popped with crystal clarity, and really brought the world to life, not that it needs it, because the map is littered with items and people to blow up, as well as bad guys to kill and orbs to hunt down.
If those ingredients seem overly familiar to you, then you already know what Crackdown 3 plays like. From the sample I played it didn’t feel new, nor did it feel off, but nothing about it felt fresh. I was tasked with taking out random groups of bad guys, which for my Super Agent was an easy task considering his super human powers and skill with things that go boom. I found the controls to be very similar to the previous Crackdown games, so your character will feel a bit floaty in mid-air, while also feeling light on their toes.
The gunplay was very similar as well. You can equip two weapons and a heavy, and you also get regenerating grenades. Fire fights are as frenetic as you’d imagine, and can get very challenging if you pick a fight with a large group of baddies. These little symphonies of destruction become a mix of melee kills and tosses interspersed between gun fire and grenade blasts, so there are no dull moments. While all this is happening you feel like you have fast forward on, or the speed ramped up a few notches, because you can whip around the map like Wonder Woman thanks to your ability to make gravity your bitch.
During these moments of pure carnage my character leveled up a few times, so there is motivation to get in as much shit as possible to level up your agent’s skills and ultimately turn them into super heroes who don’t quite act like heroes. I was on a 10-minute clock, so I didn’t have a ton of time to explore the rest of the map, but it looked sizable from what I could see. I did however run into a few collectible orbs, which if you had a thing for achievements, you will be very familiar with them and the gaming bragging rights finding them all can bring.
Crackdown 3 looks like a gem, and plays very well, but when I really thought about what I played I could’t help but feel like it was just more of the same old Crackdown. That’s not a bad thing per se, but I was hoping to discover some sort of new element to make this sequel stand out. I did play a demo after all, so I’m sure there is much more to Crackdown 3 than what could be shown off in short bursts, so I’m keeping my hopes up for the final release. I can say without question that if you enjoyed the previous Crackdown games and aren’t looking for much variation on their formulas, then you’ll love what Crackdown 3 has to offer.
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