Crackdown 3 : Review

This is total superhero wish-fulfillment, a game that requires absolutely zero thought. It flies by in a blur of explosions, shootouts and flying cars, concealing its many imperfections in a neverending whirlwind of action.After the whole world’s electrical power gets shut down by a shadowy island city-state called New Providence, the super-powered cops of the Agency are deployed to strike back. Mayhem ensues, the agency strike-ship is shot out of the sky, and years later an insurgent scientist reanimates the corpse of Terry Crews to fight against the ruling powers of New Providence, including an AI named Roxy.

 

Like most comic book-inspired stories, Crackdown 3’s plot is a little cheesy and obvious. Some of the villain designs and delivery are rather good, but they’re all under utilized. By the time you start to get an idea of what makes a particular baddie tick, you’ve probably killed them off.For the second kind of simple, I’m tempted to say Charlie Brown’s head, but I fear I’ve used this analogy before. No matter. Grab a piece of paper and a pen and try and draw Charlie Brown’s head. Take your time. How did that go? He looks like a thug, right? Or a halloween pumpkin that’s been through a trash compactor? Charlie Brown’s head looks like it should be a cinch, but the Peanuts gang are all various degrees of incredible difficulty. Even Schulz himself would grow woozy with malice when a fan wrote in and asked him to knock out a quick Schroeder – and it wasn’t the piano that made it so tricky.Crackdown 3 is about conquering the city from the outside in. The more you poke your finger into the eye of the corporate megapower, the more firepower gets sent your way. By provoking the corp’s lieutenants by targeting their factories or vehicle lockups or training grounds, you eventually draw them out into a big confrontation, working your way up to the nefarious CEO. These boss battles are cliched supervillain face-offs, often involving you slowly scaling a very tall building to find your adversary at the top. More than one of them involved a giant robot.

The Verdict

Crackdown 3 is a playpen of combat and destruction that sets itself up as a liberating journey into a barbarous fantasy of wanton mayhem. But its central proposition — the freedom to do as I please — is undermined by frustrating design compromises. All these years later, Crackdown 3 delivers on what made the original an enjoyable game, but never much more. Though the compulsive hunt for collectibles can be satisfying for a time, its overall campaign doesn’t evolve beyond a mostly bland auto-lock shooting gallery. Its tacked-on Wrecking Zone multiplayer highlights some neat cloud-powered destruction that’s never used to great effect in this tiny and woefully barebones mode.