Video Game Review: Crackdown 3

Most of the time video game promotions are less than compelling. Getting people to pre-order a game they already wanted is pretty easy, but convincing them to get a game they are unfamiliar with is harder. It’s almost impossible to convince someone to pre-order a game from an unknown studio. The promotional material had to be exquisite.

Back in 2007 Microsoft was gearing up for the release of their biggest sequel in their biggest franchise: Halo 3. That game was due out in September and the Microsoft, who had gained an early lead on rival Sony with a year early launch of an Xbox 360, wanted to keep the hype train alive. Microsoft had already ruined acquired RAGE software and put parts of what was left into a Realtime Worlds. Realtime Worlds had been working on a little 3rd person sandbox shooter, but this would be their first title and everyone was a little apprehensive about its reception and success. They new they had a good game, they just needed exposer. This is where the Halo 3 Beta came in.

Everyone that preordered Crackdown got a chance to experience the Halo 3 multiplayer for a limited time about 4 months from Halo 3 release date in September. Every dudebro, every ‘coreguy, every Halo fanboy bit. Dubbed, “the free game with purchase of the Halo 3 beta,” Crackdown made its debut.

That was twelve years ago. Today, the sandbox genre has grown. Everything from cowboys to racecars have their own sandbox world to play in. Super heroic beatdowns are as common as an MCU film breaking box office records. The marketplace is crowded, and you need allot to stand out. Crackdown 3 manages to standout, but not in necessarily good ways. I’ll break the game down for you in three ways: Plot, Graphics, and Gameplay.

The Plot:

Terry Crews yelling.

Seriously, I think is what the writers thought was the only thing that was needed. Crackdown has a formula. To get to the big bad guy, you have to go through the generals. To get to the generals, you got to take over parts of their business to make them come out. You slowly take over parts of the city till it is all owned by Terry Crews The Agency. Crackdown 3 is the same thing as the previous two games. If there is a cogent story in there, I must have missed it.

The game has a dozen of over the top one liners… that get repeated ad nauseum . The narration is earnest to the point of lunacy. The resolution of the story amounts to, “whelp, that’s done. We murdered and blew up our way through a city, what’s next?” It’s mindbogglingly dumb. Just because it’s meant to be dumb, just because you are winking at all of us when you say dumb things, doesn’t mean you’re now smart. Your still dumb. Just self-aware. Dunning Kruger has nothing on you.

The Graphics:

This is one of those “Xbox One X Enhanced” titles. Complete 4k HDR gaming. I own a great LG 4K HDR OLED, and games like Forza Horizon 4 or Red Dead Redemption 2 look amazing and much better than their non-HDR versions. This… this looked “okay.”

Don’t get me wrong. It was bright, vibrant, and utilized a wide range or… colors… I guess. It just doesn’t stand out like a great system exclusive should. Sony puts of God of War and Spider-Man on a less powerful system and they look that much better… you might want to step up you pixel game.

The Gameplay:

The redeeming factor. A beautifully rendered and wonderfully written game will still fail if it isn’t fun to play. An ugly and dumb game can succeed if it is. Fortunately for Crackdown 3, it’s allot of fun.

Sure, there could be more, and more unique weapons. Sure, the types of bad guys and vehicles are limited. But damn, if it isn’t cool stringing together a bunch of explosions while jet blasting across buildings before ground pounding a group of baddies (and the occasional innocent civilian). The mechanics work. They work well.

No other game gives me a sense of vertigo like the crackdown games. Climbing to the top of certain buildings, or propaganda towers, is platforming masterpiece. It’s difficult, time consuming, nerve wracking, but thanks to checkpoint saving, never “rage quit” inducing. When you spend about an hour and half trying to reach the top of the Science Building, and you finally do, you have some well earned satisfaction when the achievement bubble unlocks.

The Overall:

I only played the campaign, not the multiplayer. The campaign mode was enough for me. I finished it in about 10 hours. I had fun, but won’t play it again. Fortunately I got it off of Game Pass, so it didn’t really cost me anything other than the subscription.

So… I can’t really recommend this came until it’s around the 19.99 price point… which maybe in the autumn or sooner if they are smart. But it is worth a download if you got Game Pass.

Rating: 7-10 Orb Hunting Terry Crews


I also nabbed Just Cause 4, off of Game Pass as well. While the game is beautiful (seriously, best explosions in any game ever), the story is bad and the mechanics are worse than the previous Just Cause  titles. So I played Crackdown 3 instead.