Actor Terry Crews headlined Crackdown 3's showing at Microsoft's press conference (he will also play a character within the game), but star power isn't the biggest thing that this open-world game has going for it. Freedom is front and center, since Crackdown 3 gives players a variety of weapons and skills, then places them in a world that rewards their choices. During my demo of Crackdown 3, I saw how the game responds to what you do, but in ways that can vary from one player to the next.
Gangs Fight Back
The gangs of New Providence don’t take kindly to being systematically weakened and killed. As you destroy their infrastructure and shoot your way through their hierarchy, they generally respond in one of two ways. First, they might go on the attack, sending strike forces after you that can result in intense firefights at just about any location across the city. Second, they might fortify their existing strongholds, which would naturally amp up the game’s difficulty as your progress. These events don’t happen after every single thing you do, but still give you something to consider as you prepare an offensive push.
A Changing Skyline
One of the first features of Crackdown 3 we learned about was the extreme, cloud-supported environmental destruction. However, that’s (disappointingly) only present in competitive multiplayer. According to the Crackdown 3 team, you can’t fulfill the campaign’s goal of saving the city and citizens if you are toppling buildings and obliterating city blocks. Even so, some structures will change based on your progress in single-player or co-op. For example, the gang kingpins’ hideouts might change in various ways after you take them out, leaving a permanent reminder of your exploits in the skyline.
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“Skills For Kills, Agent”
Your agent’s actions within the world it are what produce skill orbs – your key to progression. Performing kills with different skill categories (like guns, explosives, and strength) earns you more experience in those particular areas. As you use them, you unlock greater capabilities in each field. So, how you choose to tackle objectives may not directly impact the world, but it does affect your ability to interact with it.
Crackdown fans should be familiar with the idea of gradually wearing down their enemies’ defenses and exploiting openings. That is also part of Crackdown 3; the more gang leaders you take down, the better your chances of survival become throughout the city. For instance, my demo focused on eliminating Liv Sorenson, the head of the city’s enforcer squad. If you successfully take her out, her force will be left without a strong leader, making it easier to take out other bosses and strongholds.
The bosses’ territories in Crackdown 3 aren’t neatly split into distinct sections of the map. Instead, various structures and objectives are scattered across the city, and each one is associated with a particular boss. For instance, monorail stations are under the supervision of an A.I. named ROXY. However, right next door could be a depot controlled by Sorenson’s forces. The advantage here is that you can play these forces against each other. I saw an agent take over the monorail station first, then establish a mobile turret on the track – which just so happened to pass above a depot. When the agent went to assault Sorenson’s asset, the turret provided assistance from above. So, before you go charging toward an objective, make sure you scout around to see what advantages you can establish.
Crackdown 3 release on November 7 for Xbox One and PC.