Are you as excited as I am to get your hands on Crackdown 3? Well, the long anticipated release from Microsoft is finally here.

The open-world action-adventure shooter from Sumo was originally supposed to be a release title with the XBox One, but it wasn't. It was delayed several times. Several years in fact.

And while it wasn't released as a release title, it is finally making its appearance with the launch of Microsoft's Game Pass.

The game is going to immediately feel familiar to those who have played earlier Crackdown games, but Microsoft has added some key additions to this massive open world like the cloud-powered Wrecking Zone multiplayer that make it worth a serious look.

What is Crackdown 3?

This not-quite-direct sequel to Crackdown is set in the futuristic city of New Providence where chaos dominates the scene. Think any 80s dystopia, but with (maybe) more neon.

After a terrorist attack knocked out power to the entire world, various fiefdoms sprang up to fill the power vacuum the attack created. The evil organization Terra Nova has taken over the city and is ruling with an iron fist.

You play as one of a series of super-powered agents sent in by the larger government to liberate the city and free its citizens.

To do this you'll need to infiltrate the city, destroying power stations, propaganda arms, and other key pieces of Terra Nova infrastructure to loosen their grip on the city.

How To Play Crackdown 3: 5 Steps

Since we've waited so long for Crackdown 3 to make its appearance, we might be expecting something completely revolutionary. Well... not exactly.

The game largely feels familiar. The people at Microsoft went back to what worked in Crackdown and ditched what was largely panned in Crackdown 2. As such, this game feels a lot more like a sequel in spirit to Crackdown than it does a follow up to Crackdown 2.

Sort of like the Fast and Furious series. Who cares about Tokyo Drift?

So with that, let's take a look at the 5 steps to get you demolishing the evil Terra Nova and liberating the good citizens of New Providence.

1. Sign Up for Game Pass

This is one of the games immediately available for release on XBox's Game Pass. Now, the thing about Game Pass, if you're on the fence about it still, is that it costs ten bucks a month. That's $120 per year.The game alone is going to set you back $60. Plus, the original Crackdown (we'll get to that in a minute) is also available on Game Pass, along with about a 2,000 other games.

So, for the price of two new games, including new release titles like Crackdown 3 and Gears 5, you get the entirety of the Game Pass catalog. You're not going to be pay full price when you can get the whole series and everything else right?

Don't be that guy.

2. Tutorials And Control System

The game starts, as most open world games do, with a tutorial phase. Now there are a couple of things to say right up front about Crackdown 3 in general, and the tutorial phase in general.

First off, for better or worse, the game feels like the original Crackdown in terms of gameplay. If you've played the first Crackdown, the controls and basic game controls are going to feel old hat. Although since it was more than a decade since that game came out, the refresher might worth the mandatory do.

Second, the tutorial phase of the game allows you to play as the agent voice acted and action captured by Terry Crews. So, getting to play as a beefed up Sgt. Jeffers makes the tutorial worth playing.

The controls aren't much different than the basic open world/sandbox shooter. Run, drive, lock on and shoot.

What sets the Crackdown series apart is the vertical nature of their open world. As such, you'll want to familiarize yourself with jumping, climbing, scaling, and ground pounds.

Again, if you've played Crackdown, there's nothing new here, but spend the majority of your time in the tutorial, before you fight the mini-boss, getting used to moving vertically.

3. Familiarize Yourself With Abilities / Orbs / Agents

In the game, you're playing to take down (or Crackdown) on the evil corporation running New Providence. So, you're going to need to make sure your agents are at their most powerful.

In order to power up your agents from level 0 to the Max of level 6, you'll need to collect XP. There are a couple of ways to do this, and again, if you've played any of the previous Crackdown games, you'll be ahead of the curve.

The game splits the skills and abilities into five different categories that are leveled up by killing enemies, completing tasks, or, by collecting corresponding orbs. The abilities are as follows:

  • Agility
    • Level 0 - Combat Roll to avoid attacks on the ground.
    • Level 1 - Boosters that allow a short amount of double jump.
    • Level 2 - Air Dash is like combat roll, but in the air.
    • Level 3 - Launch Pad is like the air dash, but, well, higher...
    • Level 4 - Double Dash allows you to change direction twice with an air dash.
    • Level 5 - Triple Jump is three separate jumps before you have to come back to the ground.
    • Level 6 - Escape Velocity allows your agent to use their boosters for a prolonged period of time.
  • Firearms
    • Level 0 - Armed and Dangerous allows your player to pick up any weapon.
    • Level 1 - Deadeye allows you to target specific points of an enemy.
    • Level 2 - Ammo Pack allows you to carry more ammo.
    • Level 3 - Vortex Cannon adds more punch to your shots to knock an enemy back.
    • Level 4 - Ammo Field replenishes the ammo of friendlies near you.
    • Level 5 - Gravitron Tether lets you link targets together so you can hit them with a grenade or other weapon.
    • Level 6 - Damocles is the ammo that keeps on giving... and killing.
  • Strength
    • Level 0 - Grab lets you grab things near you.
    • Level 1 - Energy Grip is like a super grab.
    • Level 2 - Ground Pound is just like in Super Mario.
    • Level 3 - Flying Fist lets you speed tackle enemies.
    • Level 4 - Resilience gives resistance to the element damage in the game.
    • Level 5 - Gravitron Gloves is super Energy Grip.
    • Level 6 - Boom Fist gives you an explosive punch. Literally.
  • Explosives
    • Level 0 - Demolition allows the player to pick up and use explosives.
    • Level 1 - Bag of Tricks is upgraded ammo and item storage.
    • Level 2 - Limpet Grenade is a sticky bomb.
    • Level 3 - Rocket Rack allows you to carry more explosive ammo.
    • Level 4 - Big Back of Tricks is even more storage.
    • Level 5 - Singularity Grenade shoots mini-black holes.
    • Level 6 - Apocalypse sticks to an enemy and deals a tremendous amount of damage.
  • Driving
    • Level 0 - Vehicle Registration allows the player to take over any NPC vehicle GTA style.
    • Level 1 - Agency Lightning allows you to act like the worst state trooper ever weaving through traffic.
    • Level 2 - Delivery on Demand will send an agency vehicle to the player's location.
    • Level 3 - Ejector Seat lets the player bail out of a car without taking damage.
    • Level 4 - Agency Spider allows the player to call a car that can jump and climb short distances.
    • Level 5 - Self Destruct lets the player blow up their car from a safe distance.
    • Level 6 - Mean Machine is a supercar with maxed out abilities.

Where the game does expand the catalog a bit is in allowing the player to swap out their agent throughout the game. Various agents will have various 10x and 5x XP multipliers for various abilities.

This allows you to level up different agents at different rates and allows you to use those agents to defeat the appropriate puzzles and bosses.

Early on in the game, focus on the agility levels as agility is what allows you to move vertically through the game quickest.

4. Clear Sections of New Providence

Now that you know how to play, and how to level up, it's time to go to work and do some damage. As you explore New Providence, you'll open up new sectors of town, each with their own mini-map goals, enemies, bosses, and facilities to take down.

When you're walking and jumping around, you'll want to be on the lookout for the following:

  • Resupply Stations - They're marked with a triangle on the map and allow your player to load up on ammo and items. You can also switch out your agent character here... and they allow you a haven from damage when you've pissed off a bunch of enemies.
  • Blue Orbs - These orbs are different than the green agility orbs and give you a boost in XP for every category. You'll find them when you hear a low hum.
  • Propaganda Towers - There are 12 of these scattered throughout the game. They allow you to raise the local militia to your cause with a giant Terry Crews hologram.

Beyond that, while you'll be able to attempt anything you come across in a sector of New Providence as soon as you encounter it, there is a level appropriate sequence you should approach the challenges. You know, so you don't keep getting your ass kicked.

 5. Use our Crackdown 3 guide

This game is still pretty fresh, so be sure to check back here for the full crackdown 3 guide to walk you through this game in record time.

More Awesome Game Options

Crackdown 3 was a long time coming, and the reviews haven't exactly been kind. It is certainly a fun game, but one that plays like a lot like a ten-year-old game. If this isn't going to be the game for you, we've looked at a few others that might be more to your liking.

  1. Code Vein is a multi-platform action RPG set in another dystopian apocalypse.
  2. Devil May Cry 5 this hack and slash sequel is getting killer reviews.
  3. Doom Eternal is the fifth in one of the longest running first person shooter series of all time. Instant classic.


Because it took so long to get to market, Crackdown 3, even at its release, feels a bit dated. It's a fun game, to be sure, because Crackdown was a fun game, but it can't match the new games PCs can deliver as of its 2019 release date.

That's okay though because Microsoft was smart enough to release this game as a launch title for its Game Pass online marketplace, meaning you can get it for essentially free.

So, instead of saying this game feels old, maybe we should just say it feels familiar. Plus it has Terry Crews... so, that's worth it right there. Love Terry Crews...