I probably didn’t have to tell you this, but Crackdown 3 definitely has some issues, and why wouldn’t it? This is a game that was supposed to be released in 2016 with crazy cloud computed destruction elements and would show people why Xbox One needed to be connected to the internet all the time. Setback after setback, delay after delay, Crackdown 3 went from, “I can’t believe they’re making another Crackdown,” to, “Is it ever coming out?” We thought for sure it would be ready for 2017 when Microsoft announced the game would be enhanced for their new Xbox One X console and would release the same day, November 7th. Three months prior to that date, the game was delayed to some time in 2018 where it was then “confirmed” to be ready for a February 2019 date. From the very ashes of development hell, Crackdown 3 emerged like a phoenix on February 15th, 2019, but to say the game ready is the year’s biggest overstatement.
I cannot stress enough that this game is some Crackdown-ass Crackdown. If you have any love for the original or even its much-maligned sequel (we don’t talk about Crackdown 2 anymore…) then Crackdown 3 is exactly what you expected. It is a bonkers, over the top, super cop playground with everything from cars that can climb walls to Terry Crews yelling, “fuck gravity,” as you scale massive structures. Those precious agility orbs are still littered all about, more numerous than ever with 1000 to collect, calling out to me with the pulsing glow and calming song. I am coming for you my preciouses. The guns get crazy, and the game plays fine. It is everything I could ask for in a sequel to one of the most underrated and under-appreciated games of the last generation.
If that was all I had to say about the game, this would be the end of the review. Unfortunately, Crackdown 3 makes so many boneheaded decisions that it’s frankly amazing that no one stopped to think if they were doing the right thing. Case in point, the co-op is limited to 30FPS, even on the PC. That’s right, despite having an unlocked framerate on the PC in the game’s single player, the co-op, regardless of the platform you play with (Xbox or PC) locks your framerate to 30. To make matters worse, the servers are terrible so the game can barely reach 30, regardless of whether you’re on Xbox One X or PC, the two platforms that should run the game the easiest and do so in single player. The online performance is atrocious and with regular crashes and bugs, it is borderline unplayable for extended periods. I’d go as far as to say don’t even bother with the co-op, having a friend with you will only make the game worse.
About those bugs, Crackdown 3 has a lot of them. At one point I picked up an object and lost control of my character. I could ask him to go somewhere, but he would just jump and slide all over the screen in any random direction, all the while shaking uncontrollably. I attempted to get into a car thinking that maybe it would calm him down. It did not, instead, he launched it into the air as it barrel rolled onto the roof of a nearby building. I then lost connection to the server (I was playing co-op, big mistake) and was booted out to the main menu. On that subject, you know how modern games will just tell you if you can connect to a server and will let you try again if it doesn’t work. Sumo Digital must have missed the memo since if anything goes wrong it will boot you all the way back to the main menu.
And let’s not forget about how the game manages saves. Just a few hours ago I was playing Dying Light. The game informed me that I was joining a friend who was doing content I had already completed and stated that it wouldn’t save my progress unless I completed something I hadn’t done yet. Great, totally fine, but Crackdown, has a character and world save file. Say you play with a buddy (again, not recommended) and they are just starting and you’ve completed a decent chunk of the story. You probably have just the one world save and would likely pick that one to play. Problem is, it will overwrite your world save with theirs, potentially wiping out hours of playtime. So a game from four years ago can handle this with no issue, but Microsoft’s first big exclusive of the year can’t? Unbelievable…
I really wish this game didn’t have these problems that are simply unforgivable in the modern landscape of video games. That’s not even getting into the game’s multiplayer mode which I haven’t bothered to try yet, but have heard nothing but bad things about. Knowing how well the co-op servers hold up, and the fact that it doesn’t support party play (bye bye friendship time), I doubt it would be anything worth playing anyway. If you can ignore the bugs and crashes (I don’t think I’ve ever closed the game, it always just crashes) and already know you enjoy Crackdown, then this third installment is exactly what you’re looking for. Everyone else should just stay away.