With the announcement of a third Crackdown title at E3 this year, we were immediately reminded of the awesome potential shown in the original Crackdown and the slight fudging of said potential in the sequel. As a result, we sat down and put together a list of the ten things we really want to see in the third game, in the hopes that the full game lives up to the announcement trailer and finally does the franchise the justice it deserves.
1. A DECENT NARRATIVE
Grand Theft Auto V proved that you can produce an open world action game with a proper, coherent narrative and still leave room for mayhem and hijinks – and that was on the last generation. Crackdown 2’s narrative was a yawn-inspiring slog about rival gangs and mutants terrorizing the city that did little more than give some context to all the shooting. In next-gen Crackdown we want more than that: we want proper characters with backstory, a decent villain we can love to hate and the sense that something, anything, is in real danger unless we damn well do something about it.
2. VARIED & DESTRUCTIVE ENVIRONMENTS
Pacific City was a pretty boring place to look at, even by the end of Crackdown 1. It had it’s highlights, and the verticality was immense, but despite its initial wow factor, by the time you’d run around collecting orbs and shooting things in the face for fifteen hours, it all seemed very samey. The Xbox One is capable of some truly jaw-dropping vistas: we want all of them. We want urban cityscapes, stretches of woodland and tranquil lake-sides and we want to be able to blow them all to bits. And we mean, really, really blow the ever-living shit out of them. We want to see trees falling, buildings tumbling, the works. Rocket-launchers do not leave scorch marks on walls, for Pete’s sake.
3. MORE CREATIVITY
Crackdown 1 & 2 had their shining moments, but for all the “freedom” they professed to give, you weren’t often given much to really play with. Taking into account the capabilities of the Agents, there should be scope for some great emergent gameplay. You should be able to stealth the entire game if you choose to, or go loud with rocket launchers and front-bumpers to annihilate vast swathes of enemies all at once. We want unprecedented interactivity with the environment in general, allowing you to drop cars on bad guys from the tops of buildings or carry mobsters to the highest point in the city and throw them off, a la Prototype.
4. NO FREAKIN’ ZOMBIE-MUTANTS
Don’t get us wrong: we love pretty much anything zombie-related at Godisageek, but the mutants in Crackdown 2 weren’t all that great. They were hugely generic and more annoying than challenging for the most part, and they distracted from the awesome brutality of our crime-fighting. Keep this one strictly cops and robbers this time, and we’ll be much happier.
5. FULLY CUSTOMISABLE AGENTS
This a bit of a no brainer, but we got kinda tired of looking at the same handful of faces and hairstyles in Crackdown 2. Why not let us build an Agent from the ground up, male or female, and let us continue to develop that character? It’s the easiest way to build an affinity between player and protagonist, and it makes perfect sense in the game’s universe. Moreover, it would be nice to see much more detailed changes based on how you skill up, similar to Fable’s system where your character gets more muscular or taller depending on how you skill them. We’re not suggesting glowing tattoos as well, but it’s an option.
6. DROP-IN, DROP-OUT CO-OP
It also makes sense if Crackdown Next supports full drop-in, drop-out co-operative gameplay, using your own personal Agent each time. You can bring your current skills in, and level up while you complete objectives in tandem. Throw in some co-op-only hideouts to clear out and add wagers to the races, and the multiplayer would utterly sing.
7. DEEP SKILL TREES
Larger and more specialist skill trees would make such co-op shenanigans more viable, as well as provide options to greater individualise your Agent. Skill trees along the lines of Borderlands 2’s would work a treat, allowing for changeable builds depending on whether you’re going solo or as part of a team. It would make the hunt for those orbs all the more tactical if you had to spend them on particular talents, and would also add an RPG-lite layer to the blasting and double-jumping.
8. AGILITY ORBS
If we’re really, brutally, cut-our-own-throats honest, all we really give a shit about is the Agility Orbs. You could do away with the driving and shooting and gangland warfare and futuristic setting altogether and just have us chasing little green orbs around an obstacle-strewn landscape for twenty hours and we’d probably – no certainly – be happy. The Agility Orb is even in the goddamn trailer. It’s no secret that the mere existence of those Orbs in the last two games elevated them from “quite good fun” to “holy shit, it’s 3 am and I have to be up at 6 but who cares, let’s have one more go”. We like Agility Orbs, in case that wasn’t clear.
So there you go, that’s what we want to see in next-gen Crackdown. If you can think of anything we’ve missed, or if there’s anything you disagree with, let us know in the comments!