I’m going to start this introduction with a brief history of my experience with Crackdown as a franchise and what it is in general, so here it goes:
Crackdown 1 released in 2007 in what most people billed as a game tagged onto the Halo 3 beta, which is effectively what it is. It was overlooked completely before it launched and people were going to buy it purely to sample Halo 3. It was a clever ploy by Microsoft because they could shift (in big numbers) a console exclusive (a new IP at that) regardless of how good/bad the game was. People were buying Crackdown just to get access to Halo 3 and from my experience, I didn’t see many people actually interested in Crackdown (myself included, from what I remember).
When it came to playing it though, what a fun game it was! I loved it, I loved the fun gameplay and I love those stupid orbs. Crackdown came out and we got a genuinely great game and everyone who I knew, who bought it for Halo 3 – was pleasantly surprised. At it’s core, it was a third person, free roam game that involved leveling your various skills up, taking back your city and it was a genuinely great game.
Now…Crackdown 3. Shown in 2014, shown again in 2015 and released in 2019 – that in itself should give you an idea into what kind of game you were going to get. This worried me a lot, it felt like the game would never see the light of day and honestly; maybe it shouldn’t have.
Microsoft started horribly with the Xbox One as a console, it hasn’t created (in my opinion) a good, new IP in a while and it looked like they had something on their hands with Scalebound…which ended up cancelled. I believe the only reason that Crackdown 3 wasn’t cancelled is because Microsoft wanted to save some face and not cancel another game.
When I started playing it, I had an overriding sense of nostalgia which I can admit did make me a little happy. Hearing the orb noise and seeing my first hidden orb gave me a small sense of satisfaction and I think that’s about where my happiness stopped. The game is not good, wrecking zone was shambolic and again, it feels like another Microsoft exclusive game that has went one sequel too far (Gears 4, Halo 4/5 being other examples).
I do have positives, as I said above finding orbs is still fun and I still love the fact that I can chase them down and now I’m almost done collecting them, it’s getting even more rewarding/exciting when I see/hear one.
The gameplay is kinda the same, I guess. It’s enough that I consider it to be a positive, even if I don’t have a whole lot to say about it. There are new guns which are quite fun and add another new little element to it without making things to convoluted.
Though gameplay was a positive, it’s also a negative. All the niggly issues that I would expect to be fixed in the 3rd game in a franchise are still there and it’s overwhelmingly frustrating. Things like the camera angles being tedious to navigate, the weird physics that sometimes happen and most of all, the driving. The driving is horrific and it makes the races a million times harder because if you clip a rock or wheel on the ground, your car will fire off and veer somewhere into the sky/ocean – it’s awful.
Wrecking Zone is also an absolute waste of time and the ‘power of the cloud’ is essentially beta tested here. The idea is that you’re in a simulation and that’s supposed to justify how terrible the destructible environment looks. Wrecking Zone didn’t even ship with the ability to party up with friends, which in this day and age is embarrassing. To top it all off, it’s a lock on a fire game mode requiring absolutely no skill whatsoever. A dismal experience and another E3 demo that was nothing like what we ended up with. If anything screamed “This game was meant to be cancelled” – it’s Wrecking Zone
I liked collecting the orbs and that’s about the best thing I can say about Crackdown 3. The game itself was poorly executed, felt less developed/refined than the first and ultimately, feels like a game that should never have saw the light of day but for Microsoft to save their reputation, they had to release it. Luckily, I got it on Game Pass (which I had 3 months for £1) because the thought of paying anything other than £10 for this game makes me feel sick. I feel sorry for those that paid RRP for it. Another franchise from the Xbox 360 days that has been taken too far.