Content of the article: "Crackdown 3 was good fun"
Hey PG'ers. Although I had never played another Crackdown game before I got the third one installed when I signed up for the Game Pass for a while back when they had that deal to convert all your future Gold time for like a buck. It was crazy, I think I'm up for renewal like in 2022 or something.
Anyway, I do have a taste for open-world navigation games: Assassin's Creed games (up to a point), Spider-Man games, Prototype series, Infamous games, Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, Infamous games, etc. I know the original Crackdown should be right up my alley but for some reason I just missed it, picked it up free when MS was handing it out a few months ago and drove out of the big nexus and had a few battles. So if your problem with #3 is how well it lived up to #1, well, I might find out what you're talking about because I enjoyed #3 so much I think I'll add #1 to my to-do list.
But I'll tell you one of the first things I liked about #3 already seemed to stand out from my brief time with #1: its verticality. The futuristic city of Crackdown 3 (I already forget its name lol) is a twisted, towering behemoth, much bigger in scale than any of the games I mentioned before. You start your open-world checkboxing around its perimeter, with this super-weak jump, looking up at these towers cutting way too high into the sky to be reached, even at their base. As you start picking up agility orbs and knocking out missions the upgrade path for your jumping and traversal really gives you a sense of empowerment as unreachable goals become attainable in a single bound.
You basically hunt a network of bad guys, knocking out insubordinates to make it easier to approach higher-level boss guys. The shooting is all lock-on which has its foibles but is manageable and probably more enjoyable in the playground of this scale than free-aiming, especially with all the enemy air support. The weapons are fairly fun but nothing much more memorable than a black hole gun shows up. Like I've never fired a black hole gun before. 😉
Missions are fairly milquetoast too, but noticeably free of annoying aberrations like escort missions and stealth missions. It's kind of a refreshingly straightforward experience in that regard. Blow that up, blow this up, kill this guy. There's stunt rings to jump through in cars, which operate ala GTA but become increasingly irrelevant as your personal mobility increases. There's a wingsuit with boost/drop mechanics harsher than Mario's wing-hat, which I could never master, and associated ring courses I never bothered with. There are propaganda tower climbing/jumping puzzles which I found fun as long as I didn't tackle them if they were above the recommended agility level. But really, one of the faint praises about the game is you can ignore any part of it that disinterests you, and still complete it anyway. Your skills increase with use and orb-findage more than anything else, so as long as you can level up enough to kill the bad guys, you win.
Boss battle were pretty fun, but not so much for the bosses themselves: most of them are located in the aforementioend really-tall towers and scaling them with jumping and ledge-grabbing and your expanding set of agility skills really brought fortr that sense of scale. I haven't been so scared of falling from an ascent since, I guess… Infamous? There's checkpoints to ease the experience but not kill the thrill, placed just right by my regard in these boss towers. One of the few uses I had for the cars and the driving in the game involved tracing maze-like highway loops in the 3D map to try to approach suspended towers too tall to reach otherwise, which was fun. The city is really an impressive giant maze, and its overall geometry will vex even long-time open-world fans who enjoy the navigation-maze facet of these games. The boss towers wind up the icing on the cake of this 3D maze gameplay.
There's a plot: it means nothing. You're the good guys, the Agency, who have apparently also been the bad guys in the past, fighting the current bad guys, Terranova, which is sort of unclear whether it is a corporation or a government, or a corporation trying to be a government. It's all vaguely liberate-the-people gobble-dee-gook. I made my player character Terry Crews and took the plot about as seriously as he took his voice performance: reveling in extra cheese. There are no interesting twists; you can completely ignore the plot. You can also ignore the multiplayer, which is a whole separate eggzecutable. You probably won't find a game anyway. That's where the devs dumped all the cloud-based destructible environment-tech that saddled this game with high expectation when it was showed off the showcase the power of the cloud in Xbox One. The tech itself mostly made for unstable, degrading playmaps that didn't improve the funfactor by much, back when I could find games.
Really, It's all about the joy of the navigation mastery within the campaign (after a slow start in that regard), that warmed me to this game.) That, and this very-vertical, maze-like map the developers have made to be worthy of it. It had a good, mindless, empowering, 3D-navigation vibe I really came to enjoy, within an environment that seems like a biggest one I've explored in a game.
Crackdown 3 was largely critically panned, but it had a lot of expectations laid at its feet on its way in, which wasn't really fair to the game. It makes the perfect Game Pass game, if you happen to have the service. If not, I'm sure its presence there has probably dropped its preowned price to a pittance. I happily did most of the checkboxes here, it was a good time.
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