Crackdown 3 hands-on preview: Might as well jump

It's been a five-year wait for Crackdown 3 and now it's just two weeks from leaping onto the Xbox One. We got a look at what fans can expect from the upcoming sequel.

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Well, agents, it’s been a long wait for Crackdown 3 but the light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer. Fans have been waiting patiently for the next chapter in Microsoft’s cult hit series ever since it was announced five years ago. Now, with its release just a few short weeks away, we got a chance to go hands-on with a work-in-progress Xbox One build to see what fans can expect this time around.

Crackdown three action screenshot

Crackdown 3’s campaign takes place in a brand new city known as New Providence. A series of Blackout attacks have left most major cities of the world without power and New Providence has become one of society’s last safe havens. However, the city happens to be owned and controlled by the Terra Nova corporation and is not entirely kind to these humbled masses. When the Agency decides it’s time to step in and put Terra Nova in check things don’t really go as planned. Now, the Agents find themselves in enemy territory completely underpowered and must work their way through Terra Nova by tearing down its operations piece by piece.

As in previous Crackdowns, players must chip away at their enemy’s foundation by taking out its main enforcers one by one. Players can draw out these boss characters by doing things like taking over parts of their territory or destroying parts of their operations. Boss fights are more of an event than in previous games and each one is looking to offer up a different experience. During my hands-on, one fight involved taking out an enemy in an Aliens-style power-loader and another had me taking on an enemy who could teleport.

Crackdown three explosive screenshot

Gameplay doesn’t stray far from its roots: Players drive or leap around an open-world environment destroying anything and everything that gets in their way. However, that doesn’t mean that the mechanics haven’t evolved. New elemental-type weapons fit alongside the more standard fair of assault rifles and grenade launchers. Players can use weapons like a gun that sprays toxic waste or another that spews out electrified bullets.

Players still level up their various skills by killing, driving, blowing things up, and leaping around collecting those iconic agility orbs. Players now get an XP boost to certain traits depending on which Agent they choose to play as. Some agents may beef up demolition skills and others might level up driving skills more quickly. Agents and weaponry can be swapped out at loadout stations found around the map and more of each become unlocked as players discover them in the open world.

Crackdown three preview screenshot

As one would hope, there are still plenty of agility orbs for players to jump around collecting. This time around there’s also a mid-air dash that can be unlocked and upgraded as you progress through the game. Players looking to get around a little faster can hop in an agency vehicle and cruise around. Agents have various unlockable forms for traversing different types of terrain as well.

Along with all the solo/co-op campaign action, Crackdown 3 will also feature two modes and three maps for PvP at launch. We were able to get some time with Agent Hunter Mode which is essentially a team deathmatch where players must collect the badges of fallen competitors. The first team to 25 badges or whoever has the most when time runs out wins the match. In PvP players will also have a special ability like a temporary overshield to assist them. Players can also collect orbs around the map to fill up a mystery boost meter which can augment things like firepower or stamina when activated.

Crackdown three screenshot

Crackdown 3 feels like it’s may have actually upped the ante. There seems to be a lot more going on with the story this time around as well as more variety to missions and combat. Having a new city to explore is definitely intriguing too. My initial impression is that this is feeling like a healthy blend of classic Crackdown gameplay with modern influences. I’ll hold my full judgment for when I’ve had a chance to play the full game. Crackdown 3 is set to launch to launch on Xbox One and Microsoft Windows on February 15 and will be available through Xbox Game Pass on day one.

Reviews Editor

Blake has been writing and making videos about pop-culture and games for over 10 years now. Although he'd probably prefer you thought of him as a musician and listened to his band, www.cartoonviolencemusic.com. If you see him on the street, buy him a taco or something. Follow him on twitter @ProfRobot

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