A decade later and not much has changed
Crackdown 2 launched in the summer of 2010 and it was largely the same game that its predecessor was in 2007. The setting was the same, the gameplay was the same — it mostly just added zombies in a weak attempt at variation. It rang hollow.
Seven years later and not much has changed. We sat down with a 10-minute demo and that was more than enough time to realize that Crackdown doesn’t aspire to be anything new. Crackdown 3 is Crackdown 2 is Crackdown 1. Any one of them is perfectly representative of the others.
In true Crackdown fashion, I spent those 10 minutes leaping up buildings in pursuit of agility orbs, putting a dent in crime by way of superbly efficient murder, and marveling at how Pacific City just hasn’t really changed.
As for what actually is different, the protagonist Agent’s locomotion has improved. Now, they’re equipped with a double jump and a mid-air dash, similar to ReCore‘s movement system. Also — and I feel like I’m already stretching — there are glowing weapon pickups that are special and overpowered.
I immediately fell into everything else. I know how to hunt orbs, and I know how to lob grenades at clusters of enemies. I know how to get to the top of the tallest buildings and I know how to jump off. And I know how good it feels to eventually get to where I can jump a little higher.
Maybe there are upcoming marketing beats where something revelatory literally changes the game. I wouldn’t count on it. The demo I played is too rooted in the familiar for anything new to make a real difference. Crackdown 3 is relying less on carving its own identity and more on the hope that enough time has passed that players are willing to spend time with another one of these.