'Crackdown 3' feels dated after four years of development, but it's a fun throwback to the days of the Xbox 360

Crackdown 3&quotCrackdown 3"/Microsoft Studios

  • "Crackdown 3" will be released on Xbox One and Windows 10 on February 15th.
  • Microsoft first announced "Crackdown 3" in July 2014, and later revealed that Terry Crews would star as the lead protagonist.
  • After a lengthy development cycle, "Crackdown 3" feels somewhat dated; but the core game is still a fun throwback to the series' roots.

Crackdown 3 has been a long time in the making, perhaps too long. In many ways the game feels like its predecessors; problem is, "Crackdown 2" came out in 2010. While the first two "Crackdown" games helped define a generation of open world video games on the Xbox 360, the genre has exploded in the past decade thanks to stronger hardware and smarter design.

Microsoft announced "Crackdown 3" nearly five years ago, and the finished project often shows its age. The game arrives on Xbox One and Windows 10 on February 15th, and has essentially been split into two separate games, the story campaign, which can be played alone or with a friend, and the multiplayer modes called "Wrecking Zone." After installing the game, players will get separate icons to boot the version they prefer.

Both Wrecking Zone and the campaign throw the player into New Providence, a dystopian city in the not-too-distance future. Players control a member of The Agency, a super-powered police force. While exploring New Providence on foot or with a variety of vehicles, The Agency fights crime and generally wreaks havok across the city.

Perhaps the strongest selling point of "Crackdown 3" is its multiplayer open world. Players can play through the campaign with a friend, and Wrecking Zone divides 10 players into two teams. Unfortunately, "Crackdown 3" doesn't allow players to team up with their friends to play "Wrecking Zone," but Microsoft plans to patch the matchmaking feature into the game post launch.

While some of the design choices in Crackdown feel less than modern and the story isn't particularly compelling, the core of the game is still enjoyable. I was satisfied casually finding my way through new areas of New Providence without the game forcing me onto a specific path. Compared to more intensely designed games of the current generation, like "Red Dead Redemption 2" or "Assassin's Creed: Odyssey," the basic gameplay loop of "Crackdown 3" offered simple fun.

Those looking for a challenging experience or an engaging story may want to pass on "Crackdown 3," but if you're looking to run, gun and drive your way through a beautiful looking environment, "Crackdown 3" shouldn't disappoint.

"Crackdown 3" will be available on Windows 10 and Xbox One tomorrow, February 15th. The game will be available on Xbox Game Pass on launch too, meaning you can play it for free it you pay for Microsoft's $20 per month video game subscription service. Personally, if "Crackdown 3" wasn't already on your radar, I think Xbox Game Pass will be the best way to try the game out without a $60 investment.

Here's a full breakdown of Crackdown 3:

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"Crackdown 3" stars Terry Crews as Commander Jaxson, the game's main character.

"Crackdown 3" stars Terry Crews as Commander Jaxson, the game's main character.

The "Crackdown 3" campaign stars actor Terry Crews as the squad leader of The Agency, a super-powered police force working to liberate New Providence from the control of an evil corporation, Terra Nova. While Crews's character Commander Jaxson serves as the face of the game, players can select from more than a dozen other playable characters.

You can choose from more than a dozen different playable characters.

You can choose from more than a dozen different playable characters.

As you progress through the game you'll have the chance to unlock new agents by finding their DNA hidden within New Providence. Each character has their own back story and specific perks that affect their stats, but your choice of agent wont really change how the game plays. While the playable agents have occasional quips during the game, their comments don't add much that fleshes out the personality of the characters or the ongoing story of the game.

A freedom fighter using the codename Echo recruits The Agency to help free the city of New Providence.

A freedom fighter using the codename Echo recruits The Agency to help free the city of New Providence.

The Agency spends its time battling the evil Terra Nova corporation led by CEO Elizabeth Niemand.

The Agency spends its time battling the evil Terra Nova corporation led by CEO Elizabeth Niemand.

To get their shot at Niemand, players must first beat her "generals," enemies who control different parts of the city.

To get their shot at Niemand, players must first beat her "generals," enemies who control different parts of the city.

As you stop crimes in different areas of the city, you'll discover new generals and objectives to tackle.

As you stop crimes in different areas of the city, you'll discover new generals and objectives to tackle.

While New Providence may be dystopian, it's anything but bleak. The city provides a wonderful contrast of color, light and dark environments, and boasts a well implemented HDR mode.

While New Providence may be dystopian, it's anything but bleak. The city provides a wonderful contrast of color, light and dark environments, and boasts a well implemented HDR mode.

Exploring every inch of the city requires a bit of platforming; players can jump higher and gain mobility as they progress through the game.

Exploring every inch of the city requires a bit of platforming; players can jump higher and gain mobility as they progress through the game.

There's a full host of unlockable equipment to find around New Providence, including weapons, gadgets, and hidden orbs that will increase your stats. As players increase their stats, they gain access to new abilities.

There's a full host of unlockable equipment to find around New Providence, including weapons, gadgets, and hidden orbs that will increase your stats. As players increase their stats, they gain access to new abilities.

The map is essential for keeping track of objectives, collectible items and your general progress through the game.

The map is essential for keeping track of objectives, collectible items and your general progress through the game.

There's no shortage of cars to help you move around the city, though you may need to "liberate" them from their owners. As you play, you'll eventually be able to call a car on command, and you can choose any vehicle you've previously used when you visit a checkpoint.

There's no shortage of cars to help you move around the city, though you may need to "liberate" them from their owners. As you play, you'll eventually be able to call a car on command, and you can choose any vehicle you've previously used when you visit a checkpoint.

Gunplay in "Crackdown 3" is relatively basic. The game will help you lock onto enemies as you move, so aim really isn't an issue. To top things off, the enemy AI hardly adapts when being shot at.

Gunplay in "Crackdown 3" is relatively basic. The game will help you lock onto enemies as you move, so aim really isn't an issue. To top things off, the enemy AI hardly adapts when being shot at.

Guns aren't always the answer; some objectives will require you to do a tiny bit of puzzle solving, like blocking a drill with this giant boulder.

Guns aren't always the answer; some objectives will require you to do a tiny bit of puzzle solving, like blocking a drill with this giant boulder.

Despite the violence, "Crackdown 3" is a pretty light-hearted game. The game's humor is apparent as you fight to take back the city.

Despite the violence, "Crackdown 3" is a pretty light-hearted game. The game's humor is apparent as you fight to take back the city.

In the end "Crackdown 3" is fun enough to warrant a playthrough, but consider trying it with Xbox Game Pass before making a full investment.

In the end "Crackdown 3" is fun enough to warrant a playthrough, but consider trying it with Xbox Game Pass before making a full investment.
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