Crackdown 3 is virtually split into two chunks, offering both a story-driven campaign as well as a dedicated multiplayer mode with destruction on an unparalleled level. I got to lay waste to the city with several other Agents in one of the messiest demos I’ve seen.
In this multiplayer demo, the game was stripped to its destructive essence. Agents couldn’t interact with vehicles strewn throughout the city, either by driving them or throwing them with superhuman strength, and god mode was turned on. That latter point is critical, because the four of us would have been put into permanent retirement moments after spawning otherwise, thanks to the amount of carnage that was possible.
While I also had access to a pistol and machine gun, the rocket launcher was the main attraction here. Thanks to an unending supply (and damage that was tuned just for the demo), I was able to punch holes in buildings and systematically take structures apart floor by floor. Each building is composed of several layers, such as decorative elements covering a concrete skin, which in turn covers an iron frame. Since these buildings are all based on physics, I could topple larger buildings by focusing my fire on weak spots such as corners.
When walls buckle, they crack and throw giant chunks of concrete onto the street – often directly at my oblivious Agent. Those would ordinarily prove fatal, but I was able to enjoy the destruction up close. The coolest part of the demo was that all of the wreckage, from small concrete chips to bent girders to sections of former walls, remains. Nothing faded or blinked out of existence after an unseen timer counted down.
The developers say that level of destruction is only possible by using the Xbox One’s cloud-processing network. The project director pulled up a test feature that colored each building depending on what server was handling its associated computational load at any given time. Another test feature showed additional servers being tapped as the destruction got increasingly more insane – topping off at seven during this demo.
The team is still trying to figure out how to deal with that much wreckage, to ensure that it doesn’t become a tedious mess to navigate. It is, after all, going to be a game. While the demo seemed more like a wickedly fun technical demo than anything else, it's an impressive showcase for the cloud, nonetheless.