Now that I've played Crackdown 3 for a few hours it's easy to identify similarities to the 2007 original, but rather than the campaign stealing the show, it's the competitive multiplayer component that will be my reason for paying attention to Crackdown 3 at launch. Set in the corrupt city of New Providence, Agents infiltrate a benevolent corporate exploiting and perhaps tied to a global terrorist catastrophe for their own ends. But after I found the Pulse Beam during the tutorial, I rarely used anything else because its continuous ray of burning fire is so efficient against nearly everything. Specific enhancements vary by game. The competative multiplayer is really bad. The red Security wing has set up detention camps, vehicle depots, defensive installations, etc.
Unfortunately, Crackdown 3 does not support local multiplayer or any type of split-screen mode. One focuses on robotics, another revolves around industry and tech, and another is more militarized. Only the final boss gets enough screen time to come off as threatening. You can land in an area with a super punch, shoot up the mining equipment, and get out of dodge before the reinforcements even get there. There are some cool storefronts and neon signs. Five years of development and five years of hype for massive multiplayer destruction powered by the magic of the cloud has led to this moment for Crackdown 3: I've played Wrecking Zone, and I'm sorry to tell you that it is very bad.
Though there are bespoke enemies for each branch with their own strengths and weaknesses, they largely conform to a number of archetypes, and never really need more consideration than just locking-on and shooting them until they die. The open world feels oddly barren for a modern game, though the cartoony art style looks nice and clean running at high resolutions. When you punch enemies or pick up objects and chuck them, you get strength experience, making those punches hit harder and allowing you to pick up heavier objects. You can have a world just for playing with a co-op buddy. But hopefully it can be patched quickly. That means that you can land on the top of a tower and punch your way through to an enemy at the bottom.
Some games earn that, and some games don't. One is similar to Kill Confirmed in Call of Duty, where you have to grab the dog tags of downed enemies to get a point for your team, while also having the ability to deny points for the enemy team. So we decided early on that we were going to put destruction entirely in multiplayer. Explore the heights of New Providence, tear up the streets in iconic vehicles, and use your powerful abilities to stop a ruthless criminal empire. Blowing stuff up: more explosive experience and bigger booms.
For example, when you shoot guns you get more firearms experience, making your guns more effective. Players must make their way around the city to take over transportation stations, chemical plants, vehicle compounds, and more in order to smoke out those officers, and eventually the president of TerraNova herself. Online multiplayer requires Xbox Live Gold subscription sold separately. The biggest test for Crackdown 3's cloud-based gameplay will be how it all holds up under pressure. Where I did find a consistent well of satisfaction in Crackdown 3 was in the progression and completion of simple tasks — because there are so, so many things to tick off. Microsoft hopes that this will only help create even more chaos within its immersive and bombastic open world.
But after I found the Pulse Beam during the tutorial, I rarely used anything else because its continuous ray of burning fire is so efficient against nearly everything. If you want to follow the story, follow the story. And because there are generous heaps of ammo lying around, and you can literally restore all your ammo by touching a supply point, there are no tough decisions to be made about conserving ammo or having to change weapons. From there, the hosting player will have to choose his or her agent. While they too often boil down to a psychopath in a giant mech, there are some clever fights that require more than just shooting a single target for a minute before you win.
The only evidence that I was playing a game running in the cloud was the impressive destructibility on display, the likes of which I've never before seen in a multiplayer setting. How would you feel if someone shot your coworker and then threw his body at you? Perhaps this is an obvious statement, but Crackdown 3 feels like Crackdown, for better or worse. And though you can tackle them in any order — you can even head straight for the bosses if you like — picking them apart weakens the hierarchy, making for an easier time bringing it down piece by piece. Crackdown 3 has very little structure, that's always been the appeal of the game. Each branch runs operations all around the city of New Providence, managed by a head officer and a couple of lesser officers.
Crackdown lacks the iconic character and narrative Insomniac had to mine, but at that pure video game level it too resembles an older game. While the single-player campaign no longer contains the cloud-based physics necessary to power building destruction, the multiplayer uses it for every single surface aside from the base-level floor. Its gameplay loop and natural progression system is where things really shine, but be warned that players start out relatively powerless, gradually regaining their abilities over the course of the game. When Microsoft hosted the demo at a recent event, the plan was to get a taste of multiplayer before stepping into the campaign. Unless you die or decide to respawn to change Agent, for example you will encounter no load times. Each mission was almost identical to the one before it.
It'll also just give you fictional context for the world, that kind of thing. Some days I feel really cooperative. Conversely, you can demolish a tower from the bottom and bring an annoying sniping enemy down to your level. Seems this game is emulating sticks. The world is seamless Not only is New Providence huge, we can also confirm that this gigantic, futuristic sandbox is completely open from the start.
Play solo or with a friend in co-op to explore an expansive, vertical world. Maybe it's heard the outcries of skepticism of the cloud, and our collective adoration of the old ways. The agency has caught wind of a new city with new problems and has arrived to help. This was when my second revelation hit: Old Crackdown isn't as fun as I remember it, especially when compared to the exciting multiplayer component. Not only is the destruction pointless but it's still also very limited, you can break walls but not topple buildings. This growth is visually accrued via orbs of various colors that appear depending on the skill being used. Whether they're rank based, or based on the number of matches, we're honestly still playing with it.