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Crackdown 3

Crackdown 3 - Hands-On Impressions

Terry Crews headlines the renewed focus on an Xbox-exclusive that's launching in November.

With great power comes great responsibility, but if you think that sounds dull, Microsoft and Sumo Digital are working on something that might suit you. The third game in the Crackdown franchise is all about supercops wielding great power - but there's no code of conduct to worry about. Imagine jumping over buildings, soaring through a neon-drenched city skyline, climbing walls and pounding into the asphalt - while at the same time throwing cars at bad dudes and firing tiny black holes with your Singularity Gun. Collateral damage is pretty much unavoidable at that point, but at least you'll get a cool story out of it.

If you enjoyed the original Crackdown as much as we did, you'll be happy to hear that Crackdown 3 is pretty much more of that. Playing the game actually felt like travelling back in time to the Xbox 360 era. It might not be the most impressive game ever created in terms of graphics, but the cel-shaded comic book look from the first game is back - and it looks pretty sharp on the Xbox One. Sumo has also managed to capture the distinct feel of Realtime Worlds' original. But wait, what about Crackdown 2 then? Well, Microsoft wants us to forget about that game - and that's fine by us.

Just like in the first game, Crackdown 3 will put you in the role of an Agent, a sort of law enforcer in a city overrun by gangs, and it'll be up to you to take the city back one block at a time. The story is apparently written by Halo 2 lead writer Joseph Staten, so there might be more to it, but all story details are tightly under wraps. We were, however, very happy to learn that the narrator from the original game - the so-called Voice of the Agency - is back to comment on your destructive rampage in Crackdown 3. As an Agent, you'll be able to jump higher, run faster, punch harder and lift heavier stuff than any other human, and picking up orbs scattered around the city will slowly make you even more powerful.

The Crackdown series isn't really worried about balance - it's all about kicking butt, causing big explosions and having fun. Reach level 5 with your Agent and you'll be "an absolute god" according to the developers. It's a crazy sandbox experience, and if someone wants to know just how extreme Crackdown 3 is trying to be, one need only look at Terry Crews' portrayal of designated badass Commander Jaxon - the new face of the marketing for the game.

Crackdown 3

That being said, we only got to spend ten minutes with Crackdown 3 - and there's still a lot of questions looming since this is the first time we're hearing anything new about the game in a long time. Two years ago, Microsoft demonstrated cloud-based technology that would handle real-time destruction within the game, with twenty times more computing power than a single Xbox One console. We saw creative director David Jones tear down walls by shooting at them with a machine gun. The concrete would slowly break down, piece by piece, and eventually, the wall would be so weak that it'd collapse into rubble. Back then we also got to see multiple players cooperate to tear down a skyscraper. It was very impressive and just as beautiful.

Unfortunately, we've learned that these destructive features only extend to the multiplayer portion of the game, since developer Sumo Digital wants solo players to be able to enjoy the story mode in full capacity offline. Sure, this decision makes sense, but Microsoft didn't want to talk about the destruction or the multiplayer during E3 - so we can't attest to how these things will work in the final game. They at least said that those components are still part of the game, and obviously still a huge part of Crackdown 3's appeal.

Without having seen the multiplayer and the cloud powered destruction, it's way too soon to say if Crackdown 3 will manage to live up to its potential when it's released on November 7 for Windows 10 PC and Xbox One. One thing is for sure, though: the game will offer more of the gameplay we enjoyed back in 2006. It remains to be seen if that will be enough in 2017, so we're anxious to see what else Microsoft has got in store for their Agents in the coming months.

Crackdown 3