Before the chaos of E3 2017 kicked off properly I got to sit down and play some Crackdown 3. While I hadn’t put a ton of time into the first two titles, I was excited to see what all the hype was about, and what all the development time had amounted to. While the game offers up some definite fun, based on the demo I played I wouldn’t recommend it just yet. I’m still keeping an eye on the game, but my excitement level is pretty low, and here’s why.
There’s a certain antiquated feeling to Crackdown 3. I didn’t put enough time into the first game to remember much about it, but I assume that this sequel feels and plays almost exactly like it. The problem is that the game came out ten years ago and gaming has advanced a lot since then. Controls were jerky and unresponsive at times, and the overall gameplay just felt kind of played out and dull.
In the demo, which placed me smack in the middle of the city with gangs of enemies roaming nearby, I had ten minutes to advance my character as much as possible. This included hand-to-hand combat, firing guns, and just being a general badass. This loose structure might have contributed to my overall underwhelming feeling about Crackdown 3, but the game itself just didn’t feel well crafted.
Sure, it was fun to run around, flying through the air with my boosts, slamming down on the head of some gangster. But everything surrounding that felt wrong in some way. Picking up and throwing objects was fun the first couple of times, but quickly just became a way to attack enemies when shooting them felt boring. Climbing buildings lacked any grace or finesse, with my character failing to latch on sometimes, and slamming into overhangs others.
Gun combat itself wasn’t bad, but there wasn’t much special about it in this demo. Luckily the full game promises a lot of weapon variety, including some with special effects that seem pretty cool. Perhaps running through the city with a gravity gun will make for a more kinetic experience.
My time with Crackdown 3 was short, but I came out of it less excited for the final game than I was before. It felt like an action game straight out of 2007 or shortly after, but with a new coat of paint on top. Maybe this is what fans think they want, but honestly I doubt it. While those older games were great for their times there are certain improvements that should be featured in all current games, such as tighter controls and more variety in actions. These are missing in Crackdown 3 and I’m not sure that the full game will bring them back. Multiplayer could still be worth a look though, as it has a lot more to it than what I saw of the campaign.
Crackdown 3 hits Xbox One and Windows 10 on November 7th.