Crackdown may not have an untarnished reputation like some of the classic franchises of the past console generation, but Microsoft is setting it up for redemption.
Here’s the deal with Crackdown. The first installment, which came out in 2007, was made by Realtime Worlds for Xbox 360. It starred a super agent who was biologically engineered to kick criminal butt. Your job was to traverse the open-world city and become powerful enough to take down three massive criminal organizations that controlled large swaths of territory.
You could drive cars, you could jump across rooftops, and you could pump metric tons of lead into all kinds of criminal scumbags. You gained new abilities by wiping out enemies, and you became stronger and faster by collecting the hundreds of orbs scattered around the city. By the end of the game, you felt like a superhero who could leap up skyscrapers in just a few jumps. Overall, it was a great game that’s often overlooked when discussing last-gen classics.
One reason it goes under the radar is because the sequel, 2010’s Crackdown 2, was a disappointment. It offered more of the same kind of gameplay, and almost nothing else. The only difference was that it had less personality than its predecessor. Many think it suffered primarily because it came from a different studio and didn’t have any input from Dave Jones, the director of the original.
Judging by what we’ve seen so far, it doesn’t look like Crackdown 3 will suffer a similar fate. Crackdown 3 is once again under the supervision of Dave Jones, who is dedicated to breathing new life into the series. And based on the just-released trailer, it has a good chance of working.
The makers of Crackdown 3 aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel with this game. Although the graphics are much improved thanks to the beefier hardware of the Xbox One, it’s still an open-world third-person game that has you running, jumping, and driving around on a quest to topple criminal organizations. You’ll still have to seek out collectible orbs that are scattered around, and you’ll still leap up buildings to assess the city from the rooftops.
And it’s hard to tell from the little they’ve announced about the single-player campaign so far, but it seems like you’ll have to work step by step to dismantle the grip the criminals have on the city, securing building after building as you creep into their territory.
The focus of the new trailer is on the four-player multiplayer mode. Lots of games are doing the four-player thing these days, but what significantly amps up the potential in Crackdown 3 is that the entire city is destructible in this mode.
You know the climax of basically every modern blockbuster movie, where entire blocks of cities get turned to rubble? That’s basically what this mode looks like. The only difference is that you and your friends are the ones doing the damage.
The trailer ends with a vague statement: “Multiplayer begins summer 2016.” Whether that means a multiplayer beta will be released then or the full game will launch then remains to be seen — though I’d bet on the former.
In any case, if Crackdown 3 can live up to the sheer joy of the original, it will be a game everyone should keep tabs on.