Crackdown 3 Review — This Ain’t It, Agent

For one reason or another, Crackdown 3 has been one of my most anticipated releases of the past few years. As a big fan of the first Crackdown, and someone who even found quite a bit of fun to be had with Crackdown 2, when the third game in the series was announced back at E3 2014, I was thrilled.

Unfortunately, the road to Crackdown 3 has been a bumpy one. Originally slated to launch in 2016, news on Crackdown 3 eventually fell silent and release was then pushed to 2017 to coincide with the release of the Xbox One X. However, that release again fell by the wayside and Crackdown 3 was pushed back, this time with an indefinite release date. After multiple delays, Microsoft eventually committed to this new February 2019 date.

Despite this development hell that Crackdown 3 found itself in, I remained confident that the finished product would be good. I played a section of the game back at E3 2017 and I thought it felt about like it should. Even though many others have continued to voice concerns with the game, I help out hope that Crackdown 3 would be a solid next-gen entry in a series I’ve always loved.

I state all of this up front to make it clear I was extremely excited for Crackdown 3 and I wanted nothing more than it to turn out great. Unfortunately, Crackdown 3 is anything but great and instead serves as a shining example of how far video games have come this generation. From its visuals, to its aimless mission structure and bland open world, Crackdown 3 feels nothing at all like a next-generation iteration of the series and more like a holdover from the Xbox 360 era.

If you’ve played a Crackdown game before, then you have a good idea of what to expect from in Crackdown 3. This time around, you find yourself as an Agent in the city of New Providence, the biggest locale seen in the Crackdown series so far. You’re tasked with taking down an organization known as Terra Nova which has slowly taken over New Providence. After choosing from one a variety of different Agents to play as, you’ll slowly level up your character’s abilities, take down a number of different bosses associated with Terra Nova, and lead a revolution to give the power back to the people.

Before I begin endlessly laying out the issues that Crackdown 3 has, I will say that the leveling structure of the game as a whole is likely its biggest saving grace. If you like the way in which previous Crackdown games have played out purely on the basis of leveling up and running about collecting orbs, that’s still found in Crackdown 3 and it’s the best part of the game. If you’re fine with that formula and that’s what you’re looking for, it’s still here, but the surrounding aspects of the game don’t do that base outline any favors.

The biggest problem with Crackdown 3 above everything else though is that the game just lacks any sort of structure. As mentioned, you’re tasked out of the gate with traveling around New Providence and taking out many of the different bosses associated with Terra Nova before eventually challenging the organization’s leader. The issue I have with challenging these, mob bosses, as I’ll call them, is that the objectives you have to complete before fighting it out with each one are downright mindless.

Sumo Digital

Crackdown 3 throws a litany of different tasks at you to accomplish, but none of them are enjoyable in the slightest. Some of these missions or objectives will see you saving imprisoned citizens of New Providence, climbing tall beacon towers, or destroying random vehicles that are stashed away in garages. What’s even more frustrating is that every single one of these objectives are nearly all identical to one another with the completion of each feeling more like busywork rather than being enjoyable and unique.

Essentially, Crackdown 3’s entire mission structure feels like an amalgamation of the side activities that other open world games will throw at you nowadays. There are no specific missions you ever need to do in the game, other than the boss fights themselves which are largely terrible. I know that these complaints might sound unfounded because what I’m describing is somewhat similar to the original Crackdown, but I can promise you that this lack of structure just doesn’t work. I could tell that the developers were purposefully trying to make Crackdown 3 open-ended in this manner, which is great in theory, but it instead just led to me as the player feeling confused as to why there was nothing really interesting to do in this world that dealt with the game’s main path.

On the gameplay front, Crackdown 3 still plays like previous games in the series, which sounds good on its own merits, but again, this style hasn’t aged all that gracefully in 2019. Shooting still allows you to target different enemy body parts and you’ll have a lot of different weapons to choose from as well. On the weapon front though, some I clearly found to be vastly superior to others leading me to rarely rotating out my guns and instead sticking with the same five or so for the entirety of the game.

Driving is also present in Crackdown 3, though I’m hard pressed to know why anyone would really ever jump in a vehicle all that often other than to complete some of the stunt jumps or races that are spread out across the city. I know that I rarely hopped into my vehicle while playing because I wouldn’t ever want to pass orbs or other hidden goodies. This was honestly fine by me though as the controls for most cars felt pretty bad anyway.

Honestly, the best part about Crackdown 3 on the gameplay front to me remains just running around and collecting orbs. This might sound like a dumb thing to say, but anyone who has played previous Crackdown games knows how fun it is to collect every orb that you see in sight spread out across the city. Leveling up your agility abilities specifically by grabbing every green orb in sight continues to be an oddly fun grind, for one reason or another. Then again, I’m just a fan of any sort of collectathon in games so this is likely just suited to my own specific tastes.

Probably the strangest factor of Crackdown 3 though, and the aspect of the game that I think ages it the most, is the open-world itself. The city of New Providence isn’t all that terrible to look at–I’ll touch on this further in a moment–but it just feels so lifeless. Yes, you will see civilians wandering around or cars driving across a highway. Other than this though, everything just feels so empty and dull. Going from playing games like Red Dead Redemption 2Horizon Zero Dawn, or Marvel’s Spider-Man to then jumping into Crackdown 3 was a stark reminder to me of how far we’ve come the past few years in creating these living worlds.

Visuals aren’t great either, unfortunately, even if you have an Xbox One X. This was the one area of the game I never had a ton of hope in due to how lengthy development cycles almost never end up being up to snuff with modern graphics, but it’s still a bummer that a first-party game from Microsoft Studios barely takes advantage of the premium hardware that I invested in. I still really enjoy the overall aesthetic of Crackdown 3 and I think it has a vibrant color palette. Other than a nice-looking opening cutscene though, there are no “wow” moments to be had while playing Crackdown 3 on the visual front.

I also have to touch on Terry Crews in this review, because of course I do. Crews has notably been involved in much of the marketing for Crackdown 3, but he’s also one of the primary Agents you can choose to play as. In-game known as Commander Isaiah Jaxon, Crackdown 3 opens with a Crews voicing the character in his usual loud and boisterous manner — and it’s great. After this opening though, Crews is pretty much totally done being part of the game, other than his likeness being used. It’s clear that Crews was never really slated to play a major role as Jaxon in this game other than with the marketing and this is pretty much seen most easily by the fact that Crews himself never really has any in-game voice lines to speak of. Maybe I was expecting a bit too much from Crews’ inclusion to begin with, but it was really weird to me how underutilized he was.

Multiplayer is also included in Crackdown 3, but it isn’t anything to write home about. Remember back about 10 years ago when every game that hit the market started randomly also containing a multiplayer mode tacked on? That’s kind of how Crackdown 3 feels. Despite multiplayer being voiced as one of the game’s key components from the outset, Wrecking Zone, as it is called, is just boring. Multiplayer offers two different game modes with one being a team deathmatch the other being a rotating king of the hill style mode called Territories. Wrecking Zone isn’t bad by any means, but it’s essentially the most straightforward iteration of multiplayer in the Crackdown world that you could expect.

The destructibility of environments, which has been highlighted to make multiplayer stand out in Crackdown 3, isn’t special whatsoever. I’m not really sure why Microsoft put so much emphasis on this area of multiplayer and the “power of the Cloud” that supposedly makes it happen. Battlefield: Bad Company was doing more interesting things with its destructibility over 10 years ago when it released. The emphasis that Microsoft placed on destructibility in Wrecking Zone feels very unwarranted. The original reveal trailer for multiplayer back at Gamescom 2015 looks ten times better than the end product, which is just a shame.

Crackdown 3 feels like one of the final holdovers from the Don Mattrick era of Microsoft. For one reason or another, this game has been through the ringer over the past few years behind the scenes and for the life of me, I can’t figure out how it took so long to make. Both the campaign and multiplayer portions of Crackdown 3 have ended up being such straightforward, simple iterations on previous titles that it boggles my mind that we’ve been talking about this game for nearly five years.

Despite how much I wanted to enjoy Crackdown 3, I can’t say that it’s anything but disappointing. If you’re a longtime fan like I am, you still might find some redemption in collecting orbs or the simple act of leveling up your abilities, but you’ll still just be left appreciating better modern open world games at the end of the day more than you’ll enjoy Crackdown 3. Likely the best part about Crackdown 3 is that the game is finally out and we can quit collectively asking questions about when it’ll arrive. Microsoft, in turn, can also just move forward and focus on future first-party titles rather than having to worry about this shell of a game any longer. Crackdown 3 should have been great, and I wanted it to be great, but now I just really don’t want to talk or hear about it anymore.

The post Crackdown 3 Review — This Ain’t It, Agent by Logan Moore appeared first on DualShockers.

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Crackdown 3 Single-Player Gameplay Footage Has Finally Emerged

Crackdown 3 is Microsoft’s next major first-party release in the early portion of 2019, but despite releasing in a little under two months, we still haven’t seen much gameplay footage of the title. Well luckily, that today has finally changed.

Courtesy of IGN, a new slate of gameplay footage for Crackdown 3 was today released and it focuses solely on the game’s single-player mode. The video not only shows off the usual superhero-inspired gameplay that the Crackdown series has become known for, but it provides many other details about the game. For instance, each of your Agents in Crackdown 3 will have their own separate save files while the world you inhabit will have separate save files as well. This means that the Agent you play with will have its own save that is separate from the game world, which will then allow you to take Agents between other worlds where you might be further into an experience or earlier.

As for the actual gameplay itself, the demo shows off Terry Crews’ in-game character known as Jaxon fighting off hordes of enemies in order to lure out one of the game’s bosses to engage in a battle. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see this fight take place, so it seems like we’ll have to wait until the full game to see how it plays out.

Even though there has been a lot of concern around Crackdown 3 over the past few years, I think this new footage looks about like I hoped it would. While it’s not reinventing the Crackdown formula, it still looks like a ton of fun to actually play. Microsoft Studios’ Joseph Staten, who narrates the video, says that the company will continue to share more about both the campaign and multiplayer in the coming weeks leading up to release, so stay tuned for more looks at Crackdown 3 soon.

You can find today’s new gameplay video attached below if you’d like to check it out. Crackdown 3 is set to release early next year on February 15 for PC and Xbox One. You can pre-order it over on Amazon right now if you’re interested.

The post Crackdown 3 Single-Player Gameplay Footage Has Finally Emerged by Logan Moore appeared first on DualShockers.

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Obsidian Entertainment is Revealing a New Game Next Week at The Game Awards

Hot off the heels of announcing their acquisition by Microsoft Studios, it seems that Obsidian Entertainment is now gearing up to announce a new project next week during The Game Awards 2018.

As revealed by Geoff Keighley over on Twitter, this game will be an RPG (of course) and will be published by Private Division, a company that has previously published Kerbal Space Program. Even though Obsidian now belongs to Microsoft Studios, it’s likely that this game was already far enough into development that Microsoft let Obsidian finish out any current deals that they may have struck before being purchased.

If you head over to Obsidian’s official website right now, you’ll be met with one of two different countdown timers with one saying to wait for an announcement from “Spacer’s Choice” and the other from “Auntie Cleo’s.” If you skip each countdown, you’re met with another promotional image, each for different products–one a futuristic-looking gun and another being grooming products–that these fictional companies are seemingly trying to sell. You’ll also hear a quick jingle for each item that sounds like it was recorded on a vinyl record. I’m getting some serious Fallout and Bioshock vibes so far from whatever this game is. You can check out the aforementioned pics attached in the gallery down below.

There are a lot of planned new announcements for The Game Awards next week, but this RPG has definitely caught my attention and I can’t wait to learn more about it. Be sure to tune in to The Game Awards next Thursday at 8:30 PM EST to learn more about whatever this game might be.

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Crackdown 3 Will Be Playable at XO18 Next Month

Xbox Mexico has just announced via Twitter that Crackdown 3 will be available at Xbox FanFest later this year at XO18 in Mexico City.

The tweet, which was written in Spanish, translates to say the following:

“Crackdown 3 joins the list of games that have not yet come out and will be available in #XboxFanFest.”

This will be the first time that Crackdown 3 will be playable at any major gaming event in quite some time. The last time the game was available to demo was back in 2017.

Crackdown 3 was first revealed way back in 2014 at the Xbox E3 press conference. It has gone through long periods of silence, multiple delays, and overall, just a long development time.

Its appearance at XO18 might be a fantastic opportunity for the game to make a real strong impression on its audience, especially so close to its scheduled release. Xbox’s Phil Spencer did recently shine some light on Crackdown 3 earlier this month when he told a fan on Twitter that he had recently played a full build of the game. Knowing that full builds of Crackdown 3 are out there, it makes more sense then that Xbox would be bringing it to showcase at XO18.

Even though we haven’t heard much from Crackdown 3 in quite some time, it seems next month could finally be the big blowout event for the game that many have been waiting years for. We’ll have to see if this proves to be true when Xbox hosts their Inside Xbox event live from XO18 on November 10.

As for Crackdown 3, it is set to release in February 2019 for both Xbox One and PC.

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There is “Nothing Currently Planned” for Halo Infinite at XO18

Microsoft announced just a few short weeks ago that they’d be holding XO18 next month in Mexico City and with it, they’d bring a variety of new announcements and reveals in a special episode of Inside Xbox live from the event.

Well, if you were hoping that one of those announcements would be in regards to Halo Infinite, the forthcoming game in the long-running Halo franchise, you might want to reserve your expectations. According to 343 Industries’ Community Director Brian Jarrard, the studio has no plans to reveal new info on Halo Infinite during XO18.

Jarrard said on Twitter when responding to a fan that even though he would love to share more information with the public on Halo Infinite right now, there’s “nothing currently planned for XO18.” That said, Jarrard did say that they are talking about how, when, and where they will end up revealing the next details on one of Microsoft’s most highly-anticipated exclusives.

All in all, this isn’t too shocking considering how quiet news as a whole has been on Halo Infinite since E3. I honestly don’t expect Microsoft to say anything further about this one until E3 of next year, but who knows? Maybe Jarrard could be pulling a fast one over on everyone and it could make an appearance anyway during XO18. We’ll have to wait to find out.

Thanks to ResetEra for the tip.

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Sea of Thieves “Festival of the Damned” Finally Adds Makeup to the Game

The next “Bilgerat Adventure” event for popular online swashbuckling game Sea of Thieves is titled “Festival of the Damned,” and will feature the addition of a much-requested feature: the ability to add makeup to your character. Developer Rare made the announcement at a New York Comic-Con panel about the Sea of Thieves expanded universe.

As the name may imply, this adventure has to do with the Ferry of the Damned, the area in which players go to upon their character’s death. This is a celebration for the ferryman who brings these players back to life, and features a “Well of Spirits.”

This well is a flame that can change colors depending on the death of the player—for example, red for a volcanic-related demise in the new Forsaken Shores DLC. Players can gather the flame using their lantern, and use the flame to decorate their ships.

While makeup wasn’t demonstrated in much detail during the panel, the announcement itself prompted much applause from the attendees. Other than that, Rare couldn’t make too many promises to the audience in terms of gameplay audition, although one attendee who asked about new instruments in the game was told by a developer that the team has been thinking about incorporating banjos—might go well with a Banjo-Kazooie theme, if you ask me.

The panel also detailed some additions to the Sea of Thieves lore, specifically through other mediums such as novels and comic books. Rare specifically touted Sea of Thieves: Athena’s Fortune, an upcoming novel with the character of Ramsey at its center; the novel releases on October 23.

With NYCC 2018 ongoing until the end of the weekend, expect some more game impressions and news from the event.

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Xbox’s Phil Spencer Has Recently Played a Full Build of Crackdown 3, Says It has Made “Good Progress”

Crackdown 3 is the most elusive of Xbox One exclusives with news on the title coming incredibly rarely. Despite receiving a new release date ahead of E3, further information on the open world game has been sparse over the past few months to a point that is somewhat strange since it launches in early 2019.

According to Xbox’s head Phil Spencer though, work on Crackdown 3 has been going well which is something he would know considering he has played the game within the past few days. When responding to a fan’s question on Twitter recently, Spencer said that he played a full build of Crackdown 3 last week and said that Crackdown 3 has made “good progress” while also acknowledging that there’s “more work to do.”

It’s still a bit odd that we have yet to hear or see more of Crackdown 3 considering it launches within the next five months, but hopefully this can be the start of a new string of announcements for the game. Knowing that there is a full build of Crackdown 3 that is playable is a good sign and seems to indicate that Microsoft and Sumo Digital are still on track to release the game on time.

It seems like XO18 would be the best time to learn more about Crackdown 3 when that event takes place in early November. Regardless, we should hear more about the game relatively soon with it slated to release in February 2019 for both Xbox One and PC.

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Forza Horizon 4 is Getting the Many Cars of Bond, James Bond, as Day One DLC

Forza Horizon 4 is due out in just a few short weeks and ahead of its release, Microsoft and Playground Games have unveiled one of the first car packs that are slated to arrive as DLC.

The first car pack coming on launch day will include the Best of Bond. That’s right, this first bundle will be all about James Bond and the many classic cars that have been driven in throughout the nearly 25-film history of the character. In total, there will be ten cars included in this pack.

The full list of cars are as follows:

  • 1964 Aston Martin DB5 inspired by Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), GoldenEye (1995), Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015)

  • 1969 Aston Martin DBS from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

  • 1974 AMC Hornet X Hatchback from The Man With the Golden Gun (1974)

  • 1977 Lotus Esprit S1 from The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

  • 1981 Citroën 2CV6 from For Your Eyes Only (1981)

  • 1986 Aston Martin V8 from The Living Daylights (1987)

  • 1999 BMW Z8 from The World is Not Enough (1999)

  • 2008 Aston Martin DBS from Quantum of Solace (2008)

  • 2010 Jaguar C-X75 from Spectre (2015)

  • 2015 Aston Martin DB10 from Spectre (2015)

In addition to revealing all of the above vehicles, a new trailer was also released for Forza Horizon 4 today which shows them all in action. It’s a pretty awesome trailer and contains the iconic Bond Theme playing in the background throughout. You can find it at the bottom of the page if you’d like to check it out.

The Best of Bond Car Pack is slated to launch alongside the release of Forza Horizon 4 for PC and Xbox One on its launch date of October 2. Those who purchase the Ultimate Edition of the game will be able to download this bundle for free alongside the earlier launch date of the game on September 28.

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Alan Wake is Being Adapted into a TV Series

Alan Wake is back! Well, sort of.

Variety is reporting today that Remedy Entertainment is now in the works to create a new television series based off of the action-adventure game Alan Wake which launched back in 2010. Peter Calloway is currently signed on to be the showrunner and writer of the series while Remedy’s own Sam Lake is pegged to be an executive producer. Contradiction Films’ Tomas Harlan says that Lake’s involvement will be vital and stated, “We plan to work closely with Sam on our this show. Sam is a huge part of this. This is his baby.”

Alan Wake’s story structure already was episodic in its nature so the transition to the realm of TV is one that makes quite a bit of sense. Many fans–myself included–have been begging for Remedy to make a proper sequel to Alan Wake over the years, but it hasn’t come to fruition just yet.

As for what fans can expect from this series, Lake told Variety that Alan Wake will still be central to the series’ story but he’s also planning to focus on many of the surrounding characters within the world. He also said that the story of the original game will serve as a baseline for the story of the TV show and it will then begin to expand and grow from there. Lake also stated that some of the plans and ideas that they had for an Alan Wake sequel might also make their way into the show.

Currently, a release window for when the series might premiere has yet to be detailed. The project is still very early in production and Harlan is planning on beginning to shop it around to studios in October. Regardless of when it arrives (assuming it’s picked up), having Sam Lake so intrinsically tied to the series gives me hope that this could turn out to be a great video game adaptation, unlike many of the others that we’ve seen in TV and film over the years.

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Rod Fergusson Explains Reason for Dropping ‘Of War’ from the Gears 5 Title

One of the bigger announcements that Microsoft had last week at E3 was the reveal of Gears 5, the next installment in the long-running Gears of War series. As many noticed though, the title was clearly missing the usual “of War” from the title that had been present in every other game in the series up until this point.

Recently, The Coalition’s studio head Rod Fergusson took to Twitter to explain a bit more about just why the studio opted to switch up the naming convention this time around for Gears 5. In a conversation with IGN’s Ryan McCaffrey, Fergusson explained that the growth of the franchise into new titles was the main thing that prompted the shortening of the name for the fifth installment of the mainline series.

Gears of War is still the franchise name but now that we’re doing a family of products it made more sense to shorten the titles down – Gears Pop, Gears Tactics & Gears 5. Plus we always just call it Gears anyway so it feels good to simplify,” Fergusson explained. He’s not wrong either, as I can’t remember that last time that I didn’t just naturally abbreviate the name of each game by simply calling it Gears followed by the installment number.

For more on Gears 5 be sure to check out the game’s reveal trailer if you somehow missed it last week during Microsoft’s showcase at E3. We don’t currently have a release date for the game other than a broad 2019 window but when it does launch it’ll, of course, be arriving on Xbox One and PC.

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