A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Crackdown 3 is an action game for the Xbox One and Windows PCs. It's the latest game in the Crackdown franchise, which features a lot of superhero-like endeavors against human opponents. The game has a heavy focus on combat, using modern-day and futuristic weapons and abilities to kill human enemies -- and there's blood and blood splatter often seen during and after skirmishes. Enemies may cry out in pain, die in explosions (though no gore's seen), or be seen vaporized in cut-scene movie sequences. While there isn't any nudity in the game, there's lot of sex-related signage in this city, as well as sexually suggestive lines of dialogue that comes up. There's ample profanity as well, including words like “f--k,” “mother--ker,” and “s--t.” A character smokes a cigar or a long cigarette, and there are also comments about drugs and smoking that are occasionally scattered through the game, either when a character is destroying the items or using them.
What's it about?
In CRACKDOWN 3, you play as a super-powered agent out to take on a ruthless criminal empire called Terra Nova in the futuristic city of New Providence. At the start of the game, you're out to exact revenge for being nearly incinerated by these criminals. By upgrading your skills and abilities, and swapping between other agents fighting to obliterate this terrorist regime, you take on many missions -- on foot or behind the wheel of a vehicle -- in a huge interactive world. You can choose where you’d like to go in this “sandbox” game, with a non-linear approach to quests, most of which are optional. Along with the single-player campaign, which can be played solo or in co-op mode, Crackdown 3 also offers a couple of competitive multiplayer games in what it calls its “Wrecking Zone” battle arena. The two head-to-head games you can play at launch are Agent Hunter and Territories, with a strong emphasis on destruction -- virtually everything on the maps you can destroy, which can also be used in a tactical manner to eliminate your competition.
Is it any good?
While fun, accessible, and there’s a lot to do in the game modes, compared to other amazing third-person action games out there, this game really is just average with lots of repetitive play. Aside from playing as the charismatic Terry Crews (and several other agents to choose from), players will mostly enjoy the game’s verticality (there are some seriously tall buildings and other structures to climb). You'll also like hopping into transforming cars to race around the city, and the character progression system to upgrade your agent. You can imagine how fun it is to upgrade your agility to the point where you can literally leap over buildings or have enough strength to lift a car and toss it at a boss. Aside from somewhat long load times, the game’s scope and art direction are worth mentioning, and the visuals are all nice eye-candy.
So, what’s wrong? A few things, other than the previously stated underwhelming gameplay, especially when held up against other recent blockbusters. Many of the fetch-this and find-that scavenger hunt-style missions grow tiring. There's some variety, when you mix in some street racing and other assorted tasks, but there isn’t too much exciting action woven in over time. Players were promised a fully destructible game world, leveraging Microsoft Cloud, but this tech is only available in Wrecking Zone. The main story campaign doesn’t let you destroy too much (other than blowing up some objects and structures). Wrecking Zone doesn’t allow you to play with friends for some reason, so it doesn't support Xbox Live parties at launch. This is something supposedly being remedied in a future update, but it's nowhere to be seen with the initial release of the game. As a result, it's hard to not feel like there's a lot to like about Crackdown 3's open world environments, but the repetitive gameplay and limited destruction really makes it a less compelling action title.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Crackdown 3 affected by the cartoonish combat that occurs throughout the game? Would the impact be intensified if the gameplay and the visuals were more realistic?
Does the game need to include the focus on sexual imagery and profanity, or is this something that's included in an attempt to make the gameplay feel more mature and edgy?
- Platforms: Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Microsoft Game Studios
- Release date: February 15, 2019
- Genre: Third-Person Shooter
- Topics: Cars and Trucks, Superheroes, Adventures
- ESRB rating: M for Blood, Drug Reference, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.