Crackdown 3’s Cloud-Powered Multiplayer Is Real and We Finally Played It | Gaming News
Dropping an entire building on my enemies while leaping up in the skies and going through the windows of a building has never been so colorful until I did it in the multiplayer mode of Crackdown 3. At this past weekend’s X018 event, Microsoft gave a new, earlier release date for their next big first-party exclusive (February 15) and formally presented its multiplayer mode. It’s called Wrecking Zone, it puts the “power of the cloud” to work, in real time, and we got to play it.
The mode we tried is called Agent Hunter. This is a 5v5 match where both teams have to face each other in a 10-minute round. The objective is to kill and obtain the greatest number of Badges that the enemies drop when they die. The twist in this mode is that what counts is not the kills, but the Badges obtained. These disappear after 10 seconds, so you must be fast or have been close to the enemy to get them, otherwise your effort will have been in vain. Considering that enemies can be over or below you, you have to think twice when and where you make that final shot.
Before I talk about gameplay, I should mention that I was really amazed by what I saw compared to the last time anyone saw something during E3 2017. What catches my eye is not the details on buildings or characters, but the level of destruction. This doesn’t mean that the whole level can be destroyed, but it’s not just walls that can fall. You can smash through windows to escape from sight, and use your weapons to make parts of the buildings fall, all depending on the level of explosion. It was really fun to drop bridges during the demo, as many people never saw that coming, and when a piece of virtual concrete falls over you, it can be devastating. With all the chaos, falling debris, and explosions, the framerate never dropped, which is amazing (yay cloud!).
Before starting each round, the demo let us only choose from a limited number of weapons to decide our loadout. That being said, being Crackdown these are big and tough weapons, so the destruction is always imminent. The sidearm weapons are machine guns, plasma rifles and shotguns, while the explosive weapons are rocket launchers, homing missiles, and experimental weapons. Finally, you can also select from two special powers, in this case Vertical Blast, which sends you flying even more than the classic double jumps, or Overshield, which protects you when you are under heavy fire.
Agent Hunter greatly rewards how you move on the map, your awareness, and how aggressive you act. This is noted with small details, like your health being regenerated if you don’t get shot for five seconds, or that the game shows you when you are in the line of sight of an enemy agent, with several laser sights appearing on your character. Knowing how to move between buildings and use them to your advantage to disappear and hunt other agents is really important to survive because of the combat’s lock-on targeting system.
The stage we tried, Blackout Zone, is part of the simulation that The Agency uses to train their agents. The level is largely black with lots of neon lights, giving off a cool virtual Tron vibe, full of tall buildings that take advantage of the high jumps that Crackdown agents are capable of – and even adds several launch pads within the level. Also, important to take notice is that you can always know where the other players are, teammates and enemies, since a particular silhouette appears with your team’s color. Considering the size of the map and the verticality, this really works to let you know where to jump next.
During combat, you can buff you character with the Overdrive Energy, which is a bar that appears on the lower left side that charges depending on the number of Kills, Assists, and Destruction made during the match, or by grabbing some of the red orbs that appear on the level. When the bar is full, you can activate it and become faster, more resistant, and more powerful for a short time.
Something that should be mentioned is that this demo showed us a really basic multiplayer experience, so it’s difficult to know how deep the final multiplayer will be. With few weapons, just one level, and no signs of any type of progress (nor, thankfully, microtransactions), it’s difficult to know how it will hold up long-term. But at least it’s finally, finally almost here.