crackdown 3 review
February 25th, 2019 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Why did this take five years?

The original Crackdown game came out in 2007 and received a lot of attention after it was revealed that you would get access to the Halo 3 multiplayer beta if you bought it. That’s one way to get attention, and as a result, a decent number of Xbox fans got to play it. Crackdown 3 was originally teased at E3 2014 and has finally been released. It is a freeform sandbox action game developed by Sumo Digital and published by Xbox Game Studios. You play as an agent of “The Agency” a group of super-powered police, with extraordinary strength, aim, jumping, running, and others. Your goal is to take down a crime syndicate, and in this third installment, an oppressive corporatist regime. This particular game lets you play as, basically Terry Crews. Xbox fans have waited a long time for this console exclusive game, so how is it?

GRAPHICS: 1/2

The graphics in the game are a bit odd. It seems like they were trying to be cel-shaded while not being cel-shaded. Some elements have that cartoon look while others have some very defined textures. Absolutely a mixed bag. But it’s not just the textures and bright neon lights, the cutscenes are inconsistent as well. In the beginning of the game you get a full animated, pre-rendered primer, which gets cut short. After that you get motion-comic cutscenes that seem rather low-effort. Then you also get in-game cutscenes here and there. The last are the worst. I’ve frequently had animations fail, with my agent glued to the air while a guy in a mech threatens you. Other in-game cutscenes stutter. And this is on the Xbox One X. The playable agents also appear to be a little lacking in quality. Terry Crews as Jaxon looks fine, but the rest of the characters look like they just used a face generator from Mass Effect. Andromeda. But with that weird inconsistent cel-look.

STORY: 0/2

I don’t know how you can do worse with a story like Crackdown, but they managed to do the unthinkable. They added a plot to the game that actually made it less enjoyable. In the original games, the plot was basically “Here are the bad guys, go get ’em”. This game gives all the enemies their own stories, but they are all really half-assed and emotionless. I cannot remember a single character’s name or what their deal even was. This guy is the chemicals guy because reasons. This guy is the guards guy because reasons. This guy has captured monorails cuz reasons. That moonshine stand needs to be destroyed because reasons. It would genuinely be better if I were just told to go at it.

But they try to characterize it so hard, it becomes cringe inducing, with motivations that don’t make any sense and asinine monologues. Worse off is the over-arching plot. Short spoilers for the very beginning of the game, the Agency is sent to a city to fight some kind of “blackout” but get killed in the process and time passes by a few years (I think). Next, a character revives your agent of choice and unleashed you into the city. The story is simply that the blackouts caused everyone to flee to the city because it still has electricity. No really. And then it turns out the city is run by a ruthless corporation, TerraNova, who immediately enslaves all the refugees. Yeah, makes perfect sense to me.

AUDIO: 1/2

If you don’t particularly like it when you hear a lot of useless banter over the radio while you’re doing stuff, you are going to have a bad time. The legendary “Voice of the Agency” played by Michael McConnohie returns with a vengeance. The whole shtick with his character, is he’s sort of the real protagonist of the story since your agent doesn’t talk much. Both in the original games and this one, he frequently says dumb things over the radio based on what you’re doing, such as:

  • Skills for kills, agent!
  • Sounds like there’s a hidden ability orb nearby, you should look for it.
  • Burn baby burn.
  • Wow, now that’s an explosion.
  • You’re unstoppable.

In the original game, this quirk was done every once in a while, and it has a certain charm about it. However in 3, he has something to say every five minutes. It would get annoying real fast for most players. I like it personally, but objectively, it’s super obnoxious. Still, his voice is amazing, and he needs to do audiobooks. As for the other characters? Largely forgettable. They did very little with Terry Crews other than the opening cutscene. The soundtrack sounds like a royalty-free selection of faux-dubstep tracks that fail to impress. Most of the guns and explosions are pretty satisfying. Also, the iconic sound of the agility orbs are still there.

GAMEPLAY: 1/2

Rather than having any campaign missions whatsoever, the game has you just complete a series of objectives. You just do this until you clear enough to fight the boss in charge of those battle locations. So, no real campaign here, you basically just make your way around the map, playing section after section. To give it some credit, the main map isn’t full of empty spaces between objectives. All challenges are located relatively near one another. You won’t spend a lot of time driving because it’s so easy to jump from one to the next. Honestly, it’s a welcome change to have a more tight-knit experience than most sandbox games. But a sandbox it still is, and it has plenty of flaws.

One activity has you liberating militia members by freeing them from holding cells around the city. This activity will literally take you one minute or less, as there aren’t that many guards, but even if there are, all you have to do is jump over to the prisoner release panel and hold LB. That’s it, you’ve freed the prisoners, and any enemy in the area freezes in place while you get a “mission success” screen. In another location, all you have to do is blow up either machinery or storage tanks of a substance called “Chimera”. I’d tell you more about it, but I can’t because I missed the one point where they said what the stuff was and it’s not really brought up again after that. Then in another, you have to capture monorail stations because an evil AI is using them to… move drugs? Don’t remember.

Had a hard time with glitches that were rather annoying. I’ve had input lag in sections where the screen gets busy, and other sections where the controls weren’t even responding. Also ended up getting an OP assault rifle in the middle of it the game. Once that happened, the game was barely a challenge. I might have to play it on harder modes to see if it’s better. Even then, once you piss off enough of the 3 different police factions? You get a city lockdown and are immediately inundated with enemies that are 4X as tough. When that happens, I just let myself die. It is more fun than dealing with that mess. The game’s idea of “challenge” is having you fight a boss while dozens of enemies spawn in at the same time.

FUN: 1/2

I had fun in the 3 days it took to complete this game. Every achievement I got after the first boss was a RARE ACHIEVEMENT. That’s sad. The game is just out and I’m getting rare achievements because not enough people bothered to finish it? Oy. Anyway, playing Crackdown 3 felt like a retread of the original game. It was enough to take me back to when I had just started College and got the original game. But by the end of it, you get tired of the game. You may get bored after finishing a few bosses. It’s a pretty low effort affair. Then again if you just decide to start jumping around, collecting agility orbs and doing side activities, you may find a sort of Zen. Seriously.

Saints Row 4 took to this sandbox super-powers type game and made it an absolute riot. But this new title feels like it’s a huge step backwards. It’s less of a modern Crackdown and more of an Agents of Mayhem experience. Which also wasn’t very good (and that was the same devs as SR4). My roommate found the game fun because he had never played it before. So, don’t pay full price for this game. Don’t bother with it unless you have Game Pass. It’s cheap enough to get a three month pass for the amount of titles you get to play. It’s a mediocre experience but if you “rent” the game by getting game pass, you will find yourself with far superior titles to play afterwards.

SCORE: 4/10




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zone of the enders 2nd runner mars vr
October 21st, 2018 by Vega Montanez

Remasters, VR, Rail Shooters, and Demos

In this discussion, we talked about Zone of the Enders: Second Runner, Mars VR, a major re-release of another classic Kojima game. But with this, comes many questions along with it, because of the history of the game. Do some remasters matter? Does VR actually enhance anything? Should a game get released with a demo for another game? And what constitutes a rail shooter? As usual, we will talk about #onlythefacts.




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June 9th, 2018 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Microsoft

Intro

  • Mystery game opened with a lot of atmosphere. It was Halo Infinite.

Halo Infinite

  • Phil Spencer came on rocking his jacket and t-shirt, as is expected.
  • He talked about Fanfest and other charities.
  • Then he said they would show off 50 games.
  • 18 exclusives, 15 world premieres, but that’s usually a lie because they are almost always time.

Ori: The Will of the Wisps

  • Another Ori featuring a lot more characters and a trailer was show off that featured a lot of action.
  • Announced for 2019.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

  • From Software popped up, and in a while, we discovered it was a ninja/samurai flavored souls game.

Todd Howard

  • Todd Howard everyone!
  • Fallout 4 added to game pass.
  • Fallout 76 is a prequel to all the games.
  • 4 times the size of Fallout 4, set in West Virginia.
  • The cinematic trailer was unleashed in black and white.
  • The game was revealed to be a PROPER Fallout sequel.

Captain Spirit

  • An in-engine gameplay trailer was shown featuring a child playing around with space toys and doing cool stuff to the real world.
  • Set in the same universe as life is strange.
  • Free download.

Nier Automata

  • Oh look, a PS4 game on Xbox.

Crackdown 3

  • A big in-engine trailer featuring a LOT of Terry Crews.
  • It ironically looked like Saints Row 4.

Metro Exodus

  • A bigass gameplay trailer was shown, showcasing the plot, exploration, and enemy encounters.
  • Phil Spencer came back on and the brakes were put on the onslaught of trailers.

Kingdom Hearts 3

  • A lot of gameplay was shown in a trailer, featuring a lot of speaking scenes from Frozen, along with confirmations of content from Wreck it Ralph, Tangled, Hercules and Toy Story.

Sea of Thieves

  • Story content has been added, featuring a lengthy cutscene for a trailer.
  • Cursed Sails and Sacred Seas, coming July and September.

Battlefield V

  • Same Trailer as EA press.

Forza Horizon 4

  • A long trailer was shown showing multiple kinds of weather and locales.
  • “Great Britain” is the location.
  • The world will feature a shared world drive instead drivatars.
  • The game features multiple seasons.
  • You can interact with other cars from your car.
  • Release date October 2nd, available on Game Pass.

Acquisitions

  • Phil Spencer came back on again, making a few boasts and talking about the new studios acquired with The Initiative, Undead Labs, Playground Games, and Ninja Theory, Compulsion games. All will now be big

We Happy Few

  • Story trailer was shown off.
  • Release date August 10, 2018.

PUBG

  • Summer 2018 was given a release date along with new game modes, maps, and DLC.

Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition

  • Oh wow, a PS4 game on Xbox!

The Division 2

  • A very tactical trailer was shown that featured nothing other than talking.
  • It was followed up with a gameplay demo that featured a forested environment.
  • It was revealed to be in DC and featured a firefight in an airplane graveyard.
  • Xbox Game Pass
  • Ashley Spencer introduced FastStart, a program that will install your games faster.
  • She made a really awkward smile while nobody clapped.
  • Games that are Xbox Exclusives will release on Game Pass same day as retail release.
  • They also added many many games to the library including ESO, The Division, Fallout 4 which are available now.

Indie Game Sizzle Reel

  • One of these will catch your interest.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

  • A new trailer was shown with a lot of gameplay featuring the plot, locations, and action gameplay.

Session.

  • It’s not Skate 4, you guys.

Black Desert

  • MMO trailer with many scenes.

Devil May Cry 5

  • A mixed trailer and gameplay trailer showed off the short-haired new Dante from DMC. I see no way in which this will cause a commotion.
  • Real Dante was shown at the end.
  • This might be a Dad game.
  • The devs came out to talk about it, one of them talked about the Xbox One X enhancements.
  • Hideki Sagochi said it will be the “best game he’s ever made”

Cuphead The Delicious Last Course

  • Coming in 2019, only a teaser was shown.

Tunic

  • An isometric rogue game with a whimsical fox featuring polygonal graphics.
  • Afterward, Phil Spencer came out saying all the next games are world premieres.

Jump Force

  • Trailer combining your favorite characters from many different fighting animes.

Dying Light 2

  • The game had an introductory trailer that showed the setting with a bit of gameplay.
  • After, the dev came out to talk about new features of the game.
  • It was emphasized that the game world will have actual consequences.
  • They showed a “live” gameplay demo featuring a large amount of traversal.
  • Afterward, they showed a critical choice in the game that had different consequences depending on whether you side with a faction or kill them.

Battletoads

  • Only a teaser and 2019 were shown.

Just Cause 4

  • A reel full of in-game cutscenes and gameplay was shown, it’s more of the same.

Gears Pop! & Tactics & 5

  • A mobile game, based on Gears of War Pop Vinyl toys, teased with a small trailer.
  • After, Gears Tactics was shown, an RTS adaptation of the series.
  • Then they officially announced Gears 5 and showed off a cinematic trailer.
  • The cinematic trailer was very emotional if you’re invested in the franchise.
  • A lot of the scenery looked spectacular too, along with some new enemy designs.
  • Coming 2019.

Phil Spencer

  • Big Phil came out to close the show, summarize everything, and say more random things about the company and the console.
  • Big fakeout ending, as another game came out.

Cyberpunk 2077

  • We got our first real look at the game, featuring a full story trailer that showcased the setting and story.

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August 18th, 2017 by Vega Montanez

Whiskey, Shenmue, Delays, and Quake

Welcome back for another Lucky Gamer Recap! Now unfortunately this week was kind of dead on the news scene, but I dug deep to bring you the news you deserve. Why? Because, as a fellow Hard Mode Gamer, I care! Also because at this time my life would finish crumbling without something great to look forward to. With that said let’s get right into it!

1. The Final Fantasy Fighting game you never always knew you wanted gets official!

Although originally a PSP game (remember that old thing?) that was ported to arcades in japan, Final Fantasy Dissidia is getting a major overhaul and releasing on PS4. Oh yea bring on the fighting greatness. I loved this game on PSP but hated the lack of a second joystick so thats something I’m really looking forward to. Oh, and I guess it’s important to note it comes out on January 30, 2018.

2. Yakuza 6 comes with whiskey glasses

Ok, so technicallyy not entirely true but still a whiskey stone cold fact. Sega Announced that the Collector’s edition of Yakuza 6 will come with two Whiskey Glasses, two Ice Stones, and two Tojo Clan coasters (Oh my). The collectors edition retails for $89.99, is available preorder now, and releases on March 20, 2018 alongside the standard version. Guess somebody’s getting hammered while playing Yakuza 6.

3. Xbox One X Pre-Order details to be announced at Gamescon

Do you like news about news? Great, well here you go. Microsoft has officially confirmed that the Xbox One X will be partying hard with all the fine folks attending Gamescon 2017 on August 20th. Not much info has really been heard about the “most powerful console ever made” since it waved its no no square at us during E3 but I’m excited to see what else is in store, because I have to assume they aren’t going to take the stage just show me all the places I can buy one. Oh no, would they do that?

4. Shenmue 3 finally has a publisher attached.

This one is actually pretty exciting for me as a kills a few birds with one stone. The first bird is clarifying Sony’s position in this whole mess. Actually I take that back, I have no idea what Sony is doing in this pot. The second bird is clarifying how much of the Kickstarter money was needed and used to actually develop the game. Well, I guess this doesn’t really answer that either. The third bird is proving that this game is actually coming out. Now this one I am super confidant on because the publishing company taking on the task is Deep Silver. Those Deep Silver fellows are the ones who published to incredible games stateside – Persona 5 & Yakuza Kiwami – so i absolutely believe in them. There you have it folks, three birds one stone.

5. Crackdown 3 delayed!?

One of the most anticipated games of this console generation has been delayed, again. Microsoft announced that Crackdown 3, originally planned for November 7th release, has been pushed backed to “Spring 2018”. That is a major disappointment for people who were really looking forward to an exclusive title for their new Xbox One X. They cited the reason as “needing more time in the oven”. Who do they think they are fooling? I know games aren’t baked in ovens, they are created in deep fryers. Oh well, I guess we’ll just have to find other amazing games to play this year.

6. The Good Life: A Swery Game

The developer behind one of the most cult classic cult classics of all time (Deadly Premonition, if you didn’t know what I was talking about you proved my pint) is at it again with a brand new game. Not only is this a new game but it has a title inspired by one of my favorite Kanye West tracks of all time. The Good Life is a mystery RPG that appears to be in line with the developers history of being completely weird. Just to some things up briefly: You play as a girl named Naomi who lives in a town where everyone turns into a cat at night. Your move Kojima.

7. Quake Champions Early Access begins soon.

How soon? Well it actually begin next Tuesday August 22nd. Early access will cost you a warm fee of $30 exactly $10 cheaper than waiting for the games full release some day in 2018. I’m not entirely behind this whole “Pay for the demo” concept but for those of you who are, prime opportunity to get the edge on your competition. Oh and I guess it’s worth mentioning along with your demo purchase you will receive exclusive loot chest, skins, and a “guarantee” that at least six new champions will be released between now and the end of 2018. Yea, nope, still not paying for a demo.




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