10 things you need to know about the Crackdown 3 single-player campaign

Although there's been a lot of chatter about the multiplayer in Crackdown 3, rest assured the upcoming Xbox One exclusive has plenty to get your teeth into in terms of a single-player campaign. For those who need a recap on what’s already gone down in the world of Crackdown, you play as a biologically enhanced agent fighting crime in a futuristic city. It’s like a neon-lit Tron-meets-GTA world where your super-cop is an unstoppable force against the city’s crime lords, a theme which continued through Crackdown 2 and is, unsurprisingly, at the core of this third instalment. In a nutshell, you can expect to be going through criminals like a knife through butter, if that knife was all buff and biologically enhanced. Here's the top 10 things you need to know about the Crackdown 3 single-player campaign.

1. You can play as Terry Crews himself

Yes, you can indeed play as Terry Crews’ Jaxon in Crackdown 3’s single-player, although there are 20 other Agents you can choose between. Naturally we wondered why anybody in their right mind would want to play as anybody other than Crews, although Microsoft assures us that we will find reason to. Each Agent character has different skill levelling bonuses – strength, agility, etc – meaning you may want to switch out between different Agents ahead of specific missions. You can switch between these characters when you respawn, if you want to.

2. It’s set in New Providence

Crackdown 3 takes place in a brand new city, New Providence. It’s here where you’ll tackle the corporate empire known as Terra Nova. This is a highly organised and highly cruel entity in the world, a far cry from the barely-organised criminal gangs you were faced with in the first game. You’ll need to work your way through three Captains, a litany of Lieutenants and a whole host of entry-level thugs, who will be up for a bit of scrapping, to even get close to its leader, Elizabeth Neemand.

3. Co-op has changed

While it was originally reported that Crackdown 3 would feature four-player co-op support in its single-player campaign, this has been revised. The game will now support two-player co-op. The reason for this, we were told by Microsoft, is that the fantasy of Crackdown is to feel like you are ‘the most powerful person in the world’ and that the more players it pumped into the experience the more diluted that power fantasy became. Instead, the co-op count has been reduced to two and the game has been heavily optimised with that in mind.

4. It's all about polish

With Crackdown 3 launching on February 15, the various teams at work on the game are now getting their heads down to finalise all of the components of Wrecking Zone. As for the campaign, well we’re told that it has actually been done for a little while now, meaning that lead developer Sumo Digital has months and months to shore-up the game’s core gameplay loop, performance and graphical presentation to ensure that Microsoft can kick off the year with a really excellent first-party exclusive.

5. Gangs bite back

As you transition throughout the open world, and as you begin to blow the various strains of the Terra Nova corporation apart, you may just see that the gangs are starting to bite back. It’s an extremely smart feature of the game that the criminal Captains and Lieutenants will start retaliating against your efforts to clean up the city, so you should expect to have dynamic encounters with dynamic enemy-unit types. Microsoft hopes that this will only help create even more chaos within its immersive and bombastic open world. Here’s hoping they’re correct.

6. The campaign has multiplayer ties

While your progress in single-player won’t directly carry across to multiplayer – your hyper agile Agent from the campaign won’t immediately have an advantage over everybody else, for example – Wrecking Zone is indeed tied to the world thematically. In fact, the whole premise behind the Wrecking Zone experience is that it’s actually a training simulation for the Agency, giving all prospective Agents an opportunity to hone their skills and tactics before heading out to fight crime on the dangerous city streets of New Providence. 

7. Embracing the style

Crackdown has always had what Microsoft calls a ‘graphic novel’ feel and the studio has decided to double down on it for this latest instalment in the series. Microsoft has created a series of motion comics that will feature throughout Crackdown 3 to illustrate various elements of the story and introduce some of the larger than life bosses you should expect to encounter. We’ve seen a few of these in action and they look fantastic (and very tongue- in-cheek), a strong indicator of the sort of tone Microsoft is hoping to strike in Crackdown’s story.

8. The map is huge

We can reveal that the game’s new city, New Providence, is absolutely bloody huge. In fact, the world of Crackdown 3 is more than twice the size of any Crackdown setting before it. It looks stunning, designed to increase in danger and ferocity the further you get from the ground level of it. Microsoft knows how important verticality is to Crackdown’s core fun, and there is certainly no shortage of impossibly tall skyscrapers and hideouts to scale as you go off in search of Orbs and the world’s toughest challenges.

9. The world is seamless

Not only is New Providence huge, we can also confirm that this gigantic, futuristic sandbox is completely open from the start. Unless you die or decide to respawn (to change Agent, for example) you will encounter no load times. Crackdown 3 is all about player freedom, giving you the space to explore, hunt Orbs and tackle the gangs as you see fit without any heavy-handed interference from the studio. If you want to follow the story, follow the story. If you want to go off and cause some chaos, then you go and cause that chaos.

10. It looks excellent

While the focus of our time at Microsoft was on Wrecking Zone, we were lucky enough to get a little time with a current-build of the single- player campaign. It’s been under wraps since June 2017 – that’s the last time it was shown to the press and public – and we are happy to report that it has come on in leaps and bounds. The combat looks dynamic, the graphics look sharp and the framerate stable. The delay has clearly done the game wonders, giving the developers the time and space to really make Crackdown 3 the best game that it can be.

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Josh West
UK Managing Editor, GamesRadar+

Josh West is the UK Managing Editor of GamesRadar+. He has over 10 years experience in online and print journalism, and holds a BA (Hons) in Journalism and Feature Writing. Prior to starting his current position, Josh has served as GR+'s Features Editor and Deputy Editor of games™ magazine, and has freelanced for numerous publications including 3D Artist, Edge magazine, iCreate, Metal Hammer, Play, Retro Gamer, and SFX. Additionally, he has appeared on the BBC and ITV to provide expert comment, written for Scholastic books, edited a book for Hachette, and worked as the Assistant Producer of the Future Games Show. In his spare time, Josh likes to play bass guitar and video games. Years ago, he was in a few movies and TV shows that you've definitely seen but will never be able to spot him in.