With Crackdown 3 finally releasing on February 15, theres reason to be both hopeful and cautious. While long development cycles can be a cause for concern, there are a number of titles in which these long cycles didn’t affect the overall quality of the game even though they served as minor annoyances to fans. With that being said, here are three reasons to be hopeful and three reasons to worry:
Reasons for Hope
1. Destructable Environments
Although you were a super-powered agent in the other titles, you were limited in the destruction you could cause due to the console technology of the time. With Crackdown 3, this all changes. Almost everything is destructible, meaning that you’ll finally be able to see just how ridiculously overpowered your character is and this is how the originally Crackdown was originally intended to be played. Removing environmental limitations means that if you would go through than above it, then do so, there should be nothing stopping you from leveling the city if you so choose.
2. Wrecking Zone
Cooperative multiplayer was a highlight in the original Crackdown with players being able to drop in and out of a friends game to cause destruction and mayhem. In Crackdown 3, a new competitive multiplayer mode in Wrecking Zone will feature even more chaos as the destructable environments from the campaign translate to the multiplayer. Lose sight of an enemy player? Go right through the building to make it aware that there is nowhere to hide. Trying to camp in the floors above you? Take out the base to bring the entire building down. It should make for an explosively creative time.
3. Gangs Bite Back
One of the biggest changes to the Crackdown formula is how the various gangs will react to your activities while you work to eliminate them from the city. Normally, you work your way through their ranks until the boss unlocks. This would be a mechanic that was acceptable years ago, but luckily Crackdown 3 will have gangs that will actively seek you out in retaliation. Who knows, you might get lucky and force the boss come to you, make them do the work toward their own demise. It’s not the Nemesis system, but should act as a nice curveball for players who get too comfortable.
Reasons to Worry
1. Gameplay Mechanics look dated
(Credit to IGN)
In the various gameplay previews that have surfaced for Crackdown 3, the first thing that you’ll notice is that it really looks no different from other entries. This is concerning considering it’s been 9 years since the release of Crackdown 2. Nothing wrong with simplistic gameplay, but the lock-on mechanics accompanied with what looks to be dull AI is not a recipe for a good time. If there is little diversity in the gameplay, this may become a repetitive affair in no time. Third-person shooters are generally straight forward, but there will need to be a number of surprises in store when Crackdown 3 releases to keep the game fresh until the credits roll.
2. Open-World Fatigue
Games featuring an open-world are quickly becoming common-place to the point where it’s hard to discern one environment to another. While Crackdown 3 will feature unique traversal and destructability, if the open-world itself isn’t interesting and filled with side content that will actively challenge and engage players, then it will become just another third-person shooter. The sheer number of open-world titles currently on the market will challenge Crackdown 3’s New Providence to make its mark as an environment worth visiting. You could always just destroy everything if nothing catches your eye, so there’s that.
3. Delays, Delays, Delays
Originally, Crackdown 3 was supposed to release in 2016…then 2017..then 2018, and if no last minute delays occur then it will finally see the light of day. I mentioned that long development cycles can be concerning and in the case of Crackdown 3, this applies due to the number of delays. Almost everytime this title surfaced to provide a glimpse of gameplay, it was underwhelming. There was a lot of speculation as to whether or not it was going to be cancelled, like Scalebound, but here we are, and hopefully this is more of Microsoft feeling satisfied with the product and not tired of Crackdown 3 going over its initial development time.
When Crackdown 3 releases, there will be loads of coverage due to the long development time and the fact it’s the rare Microsoft exclusive. If it’s well received, it will serve as a positive example and may lessen then the skepticism that faces other delayed projects. If it fails, then you can bet that other fanbases will not hesitate to crush Microsoft for releasing a sub-par product. You can also bet that it would completely bury the Crackdown franchise as Microsoft rarely sticks with unsuccessful IP’s. Who knows though, this could be one of the biggest surprises of the year.