There's a lot to be said for rarely getting excited.
I just finished the campaign of Crackdown 3. I beat a final boss, watched a cutscene, popped a couple of achievements and then sat and watched the credits roll. They took a while. I don't finish that many games these days - in the era of persistent online worlds, actually finishing a game is bloody unusual. Most of the time of late, I haven't so much finished a game as run out of content or reason to play it. I also finished Metro Exodus a couple of weeks back - and Assassin's Creed Odyssey (insofar as it's possible to finish a game that keeps having content added to it week on week) back in late January. Anthem and ReCore were both uninstalled in frustration... and most of the games that were on the pile of shame back at the start of the year are still there. I'm chewing through games at a rate of knots at the moment - it's a nice change in a lot of ways from the last couple of years.
I didn't read anything about Crackdown 3 on the webs before I played it. That's partly because, if I'm honest, I had no desire to play it at all during the whole time that the hype train for it was rolling. I've never played a Crackdown game before this one - I've no idea why that's the case, really, but it's the truth. I'd see them in stores when out shopping for games, and I always ended up buying something else. I had the praises of Crackdown 2 sung to me several times by several people, but still never picked it up. So all the announcement and hype about Crackdown 3 had no impact on me whatsoever. I didn't care it was coming. I didn't care about the tech that was showed off. I didn't care about the multiplayer, or Terry Crews, or any of it. I was utterly indifferent.
Because of this, my view of Crackdown 3 is quite different to a lot of those I've seen online between when I began playing it about a week ago, and now. Looking around the internet, it got middling reviews and suffered some gamer fury. Lots of people apparently had high hopes for it that it utterly failed to live up to. I had no hopes, no expectations... and found myself rather enjoying it. It's loud and it's silly and it's a bit obnoxious at times. It doesn't take itself too seriously - so I didn't take it too seriously either and found myself simply having a lot of fun with a game that knows exactly what it's about. And that's running around and blowing shit up.
It was seeing that process of running around and blowing shit up in action that caught my attention. Typically, all the hype in the world had less impact on me than seeing someone I know playing the game and having fun with it. As is often the case, it was my little brother who took a punt on it first. I was over at his place drinking tea and entertaining his youngest son, and he was running amok in this neon city. He was throwing cars at riot vans, ground pounding enemies off buildings, jumping buildings and laughing his ass off. It's been a while since a game has made me laugh - that alone was enough to convince me to take a look, and then he dropped the comment that sealed it.
"It's on Gamepass."
I mean, of course it's on Gamepass. It's a Microsoft Game Studios game (Sumo Digital were the guys who did the heavy lifting on this one) so it hit Gamepass on day one, just like they all do. In all my indifference to it, that fact had slipped my mind. I got home and installed it (noticing as I did so that it's actually split into one download for the campaign and another, separate one for the multiplayer - which is a bloody clever idea in these days of massive install sizes and limited hard drive space) and got going, thinking that if it entertained me for an hour to two, that would be fine. A week later I finished it, having finished off most of the side missions the game presented and mopped up a couple of the play-style related achievements, and I've had a lot of fun into the bargain.
Yes, it was short. Yes, it wasn't the prettiest Xbox One game I've ever played. No, the destruction wasn't as total as the hype would have led you to believe. But, it was fun, and it set out to do a couple of things really well and achieved on those points in style. I guess I can understand why some people would have been disappointed by the experience, having gone back and watched some youtube videos of what was promised versus what was delivered - but games like this are part of the reason why I try never to take E3 reveal videos or hype trailers too seriously. It's a solid 7/10 - just like some of my favourite games. So, if you have Gamepass and a gap in your gaming life that you feel like filling with some chaos, you could do a lot worse than checking out Crackdown 3.
Quack quack, motherfuckers.