Crackdown 3: Wrecking Zone Review

By Mark Delaney, 1 month ago
We published our Crackdown 3 review last week, but still needed more time with the multiplayer suite before passing final judgement on the other side to the neon-lit shooter. As it turns out, we needn't even change the score at the bottom. Owing to different successes and again more numerous failures, Crackdown 3: Wrecking Zone is a fun but flawed experience just like its campaign.

13/02/2019 - Carousel

My first few matches in Wrecking Zone gave off the impression that I'd enjoy my time much more with it than I did with the troubled sandbox story mode. Super-jumping around in vertically impressive maps with different weapon loadouts in five on five action was as fun as it should be, but before long the game's many flaws began to appear. First, the well-publicized lack of any party options at launch feels unforgivable. To launch a AAA game without the ability to stay in a group with your friends is absurd. An upcoming update will fix this and there's no doubt the currently missing feature makes the developers cringe too, but it is a huge blemish on a game that doesn't need any more blemishes.

Secondly, the entire suite feels barren. It has just two modes, Agent Hunt (think Kill Confirmed) and Territories (think Domination). Your objectives lack variety, as do the maps which include three brightly colored cityscapes barely distinguishable from each other. The context for this mode is an Agency training simulation, which sadly justifies the game's weird hologram buildings that stand in place of the physical structures when the much-touted cloud destruction leaves them leveled. It's an eyesore no matter the map on which you're competing — though they are at least interesting from a tactical perspective, offering some tremendous heights to reach and a floor-is-lava ground level.

There's also a lack of unlocks to chase. Without any leveling system and just a small handful of guns in the game, it's hard to stay invested if you don't simply enjoy the jump-shooting at the heart of it all. I may sound like a hypocrite being so publicly in love with Sea of Thieves, another game without new loot to chase, but I think Crackdown is an experience that needs it as much as any other team-based shooter.

Wrecking Zone

Matchmaking also tends to take a long time and if anyone drops out of your team, you're left handicapped. A rough start may see several of your teammates scurrying off to start anew in a different lobby, leaving you outnumbered and as little more than a target dummy for the full team on the other end.

Those sorts of rounds are the lowest of lows for Wrecking Zone. At its best, it can actually be a lot of fun despite the myriad issues. Platforming and shooting are as fun in the multiplayer as they are in the story, perhaps even more so since your Wrecking Zone Agents are fully equipped with the agility moves that your campaign Agent may still be chasing. That means triple-jumping, double-dashing, and scaling walls (while they still stand) feels great and makes you think, ironically, maybe this game just needed more time in the studio. Time will tell what kind of post-launch support Wrecking Zone receives. It desperately needs more maps and modes at a minimum. New weapons, Agents, and other goodies like cosmetic customization would help a lot too. If it gets those things, Wrecking Zone could turn it all around and be well worth the hard drive space.

Much was made about that aforementioned cloud-based destruction and in the end, the results are just good, not great. They're meant to provide a tactical element to Wrecking Zone — "Enemy hiding behind a wall? Blow up the wall!" — but in practice, the game just moves too quickly for you to ever put much thought into such actions. It pays to think fast and consider your movements as it can mean life or death, but the game never slows down enough for you to be so thoughtful as to surgically tear down enemy structures. The game is really better for the destruction, however. Crackdown 3 is a shoot-first game, and anyone who enjoys Wrecking Zone will certainly agree. Just blow it up.

Wrecking Zone

To the delight of many, Wrecking Zone has its own 500 gamerscore achievement list separate from the story mode. With just 12 achievements, none are all that difficult either. The toughest may be to record a kill with each gun in a single round. Finishing without dying sounds tough, but find a quiet pocket of the map and you may get lucky fast just as I did. The rest are mostly cumulative and will come with time, though you will need to finish with the highest score on your victorious team in both modes.

Check out our Best Xbox One Third-Person Shooters Available in 2019 article for a compilation of other great games in this genre.

Summary

Just like its campaign can be fun after you forgive its glaring flaws, Wrecking Zone is similarly full of potential and could be something really cool with further development. In its current form it can certainly be entertaining, but considering you can't deliberately play with friends yet, you'll wait a long time in matchmaking. It all lacks variety round to round, so the fun feels fleeting. Hopefully the developers have the green light to build on the multiplayer suite because it feels like they could have something really worthwhile on their hands after a few updates. For now, it's pretty easy to jump off.
3 / 5
Crackdown 3: Wrecking Zone
Positives
  • Fun gameplay at the heart of it
Negatives
  • Lacking in modes, maps, and weapon loadouts
  • Long matchmaking with no team filling midmatch
  • Can't yet join parties with friends
Ethics Statement
The reviewer spent three to four hours scaling tall buildings in a single bound. He gathered seven of 12 achievements. A review code was provided by Microsoft.
Please read our Review and Ethics Statement for more information.
Mark Delaney
Written by Mark Delaney
Mark is a Boston native now living in Portland, Oregon. He's the Editorial Manager on TA, loves story-first games, and is the host of the community game club TA Playlist. Outside of games he likes biking, sci-fi, the NFL, and spending time with his family. He almost never writes in the third person.