Crackdown 3 tosses players into a world of delightful chaos, superhero strength, and guns that shoot black holes. I got some hands on time with a ten minute demo of the game and it’s pretty fun. If you’re looking for cool explosions, Crackdown 3 has you covered.
In the Crackdown games, you play as a powerful member of the Agency, a crime enforcement bureau with super-powered agents who can leap over buildings, toss cars across rivers, and hit enemies with hyper-powered marksmanship. The demo I played highlighted the absurdity that arises when you give a player the infinite ability to kick ass. While the goal was to take down a series of crime bosses and their lieutenants, I had ten minutes to do whatever I wanted.
I started with what any respecting agent would do: collect orbs. Throughout the city, there are shiny orbs to pick up that will boost your abilities. By collecting these orbs or using specific skills, you can power up your skills to the next level. I spent a fair portion of the demo collecting agility orbs, climbing massive buildings and making daring leaps. This was made easier by excellent movement controls that gave me close control over my character; I could stop on a dime and even had a double jump and forward boost in the air, something the series hasn’t had until now.
When I asked a member of the team about how they hoped to reinvigorate the franchise after subpar Crackdown 2, they called attention to the revamped controls and movement.
“It was near and dear to us to nail these controls,” art director Dave Johnson said. “It took a long time. There’s a feel to Crackdown and we tried a lot of features before finding what we wanted.”
The rest of the experience was less impressive, as both driving and melee combat felt stiff. Driving itself felt superfluous in a game world where I could leap from rooftop to rooftop, and the animations for punching and kicking were hard to parse, making it difficult to actually hit what I wanted to. Gunplay was easier to manage, with a lock on that snapped quickly to targets but standard weapons lacked any kind of weight.
If there is a star when it comes to firepower, it is the series of weapons that I found scaling rooftops. Homing rockets and pulse guns created spectacles, and I was particularly fond of a gun that fired a miniature singularity, sucking cars and enemies into a black hole before spitting them out in a gout of flame and mayhem. Once, a homing rocket created an explosion so big that I was wedged into a wall in a hilarious looking glitch. These weapons were easy enough to find but much more limited in their ammo and as a result, I often found myself retreating to pick up a new one.
Crackdown 3's exploration, flashy guns, and chaos all had appeal, and I imagine things will only get wilder when you throw in four-player co-op. I’m not yet sold on some of the finer mechanics at the moment but as long as there’s more orbs to collect, I’ll be keen to return to the game when it releases on November 7th.