First, let’s agree that Terry Crews makes everything better, ok? With that out of the way, I went hands-on with Sumo Digital’s smash-fest Crackdown 3, and I came away ready to collect a bunch of power, strength, and agility orbs to wreak some serious havoc…er, I mean help “clean up the city”.
The E3 demo unceremoniously dropped us into Pacific City in the game’s single player campaign. When the game ships in conjunction with the Xbox One X (though it’ll also release on Xbox One and PC, with cross-play and Play-Anywhere for all), it’ll ship with an offline campaign mode, an online campaign for up to four players cooperatively, and competitive multiplayer that flips the script, asking players to destroy the city, rather than save it.
During my play time, I was introduced to a few of the gangs operating in the city. With a map size easily nearly three times that of the original, there should be more than a few foes to contend with. Unlike the first two Crackdown games, there’s now even incentive to do so. As you slowly rid the city of its gang population, you’ll add their signature weapons to your already massive arsenal. Better yet, emplacement weapons like laser turrets also change sides, gunning down encroaching foes with brutal efficiency.
Beyond gathering orbs to power up in the typical franchise fashion, Sumo has also provided a few improvements that should help knock some rough edges off the game’s predecessors. First and foremost, Agents can now be male or female — as it should be. The demo build gave us access to nearly a dozen pre-built Agents, though nobody was willing to answer if there was a full-featured character creator to be included. Next, they’ve given all Agents a double-jump skill courtesy of a jetpack. This is a huge quality of life improvement as I have many… less than pleasant memories of botching a jump only to have to leapfrog up the side of the building. Nothing stops you from feeling badass than being stopped in place. Even when I did miss a jump, my Agent reached out to try to snap onto the side of the building with their fingertips, preventing the frustrating drop to the ground floor. During my playtime, I found that these simple improvements transformed building traversal completely.
Another improvement to add to the weapon arsenal of Crackdown is the new power punch. Before, if you hit the B button as you leaped towards the ground, your Agent would power up and smash the ground causing splash damage. Now, you can take the fight to your enemies on the ground, powering up your punch and blasting foes in the face. This came in handy as I encountered gang members with riot shields, giving me the option of ripping that shield out of their hand, or smashing into it at high speed, causing them to drop it. Like the shield, you can also pick up enemy weapons, even before you rid the area of the gangs.
With some looks around to see who might overhear him, one of the devs mentioned that, as you push to free the area, the gangs will become more desperate, getting more aggressive and dangerous. Pressed, those gangs will begin to seek you out, chasing you down in other territories, rather than staying in their own borders. He also said that eventually it’ll culminate in an opportunity to take out the local boss as you whittle away their control.
Crackdown has certainly preserved the look and feel of the original Xbox 360 title, but there are a few new tricks Sumo is bringing to the table. The game will operate at 4K resolution and 60fps on the Xbox One X, showcasing the gorgeous comic neon style nicely if you’ve got the hardware to handle it.
Like a perfect cherry on top of an already delicious Sunday, as I was enjoying the Dolby Atmos surround sound going on headphones attached to the Xbox One X, I heard a very familiar voice. Michael McConnohie, the original actor providing you the voiceovers in the original game, returns to give us the strategic voiceovers, but this time aro
und he’s got some help. A female voice by the name of Echo, a citizen of the city, has more tactical pieces of the puzzle, providing voiceovers regarding the “boots on the ground” context that might help you with the task at hand.
While my demo as all about the single player offline component, I came away excited for the two remaining online components. Cooperative play with my readers, as well as getting to see the Azure-powered insane level of destruction in the 5v5 PvP, sounds fantastic. I have no doubt that we’ll see a lot more of Crackdown at Gamescom in advance of the launch.
Crackdown 3 will launch on November 7th alongside the Xbox One X, but will also ship on Xbox One and PC as part of their Play Anywhere program.