Review | Crackdown 2
Summer in the city…
Format: Xbox 360 | Genre: Sandbox | Publisher: Microsoft | Developer: Ruffian Games | Release date: 09/07/2010 | Price: £39.99
Daniel Lipscombe has stopped looking for orbs to bring you a review of CRACKDOWN 2.
CRACKDOWN WAS one of the biggest surprise hits for the Xbox 360. A game that many bought for a chance to play the Halo 3 beta, but the majority of those gamers were thrilled to find that their beta key came with a great game attached to it. Crackdown used its linear game world to allow people a chance to take on the world as they chose. Gamers could take down the enemies in any order they like, collect ability orbs, cause chaos and generally mess about.
The long awaited sequel is now here and it has a lot to live up to. So, what can you expect from this latest iteration? Well, there’s the chance to tackle enemies in any order you like throughout the game world. You can collect orbs that boost your agent’s abilities. You can also cause plenty of chaos and generally mess about in Pacific City.
The biggest pro that Crackdown 2 has, is that it is Crackdown… again. But this is also the biggest con in the list too. You see Crackdown 2 follows on from the original game, in the exact same city. One of the hooks to the original title was that it was about exploration and experimentation. Players would literally look everywhere for cool things to do. “Can I take that car into the lift, ride to the top floor and throw the vehicle off splattering the citizens below?” A question that a player would quickly find the answer to.
The sequel struggles under the fact that if you have played the first game you already know that. You already know which buildings are the best to climb and jump from. Although this time round most of them have taken massive amounts of structural damage leaving your choices for vertical carnage limited. There’s still plenty of running, climbing and jumping but none of it evokes the same ‘wow’ that the original did.
This leaves Crackdown 2 with a problem. It has lost most of its charm. That’s not to say that it isn’t a good game, it is, it’s Crackdown after all. But very little inspires excitement. Unless you bring in a few friends.
Fly With Me
Crackdown 2 seems to have been designed with more than one person in mind, co-op is the key to fun in Pacific City. You can of course take on the campaign on your ‘Jack Jones’ but in all honesty it’s very dull. For anyone who played the demo and activated the three absorption units, you then triggered a beacon that wiped out an area of new enemies, freaks. You must do this nine times throughout the game. Basically in order to progress the story of the game you have to complete the same mission nine times.
There are other things to do on the side, thankfully. These include collecting orbs, collecting audio samples, closing freak breaches and performing stunts. So, inviting a few friends into your game will be bliss. It will alleviate the monotony of the campaign by injecting some crazy into the proceedings. Sure the missions don’t change but everything is better in co-op. Completing the same missions with your friends leaping around like lunatics brandishing rocket launchers is always going to crack a smile.
Much of the original’s fun came from you and a friend trying to see how many wacky things you could do. The sequel is built for that with magnetic grenades and wing suits and a menagerie of other upgrades that are sure to spawn a series of YouTube clips.
None of this stops Crackdown 2 from suffering from linearity issues. At least the first game allowed you to get inside buildings and plan strategies for the bosses. Often I found myself hunting for orbs, not because I wanted to but because I was bored. Bored of the rinse and repeat structure and the repetitive locales for the missions. Pacific City, even in its half destroyed state is a wonderful setting and this is never really pushed. There are Cell (another enemy) strongholds to shut down and these are at least set in areas of the city that allow for more verticality in your combat approach.
Co-op is a must
While on the subject of these strongholds, this is just another thing that highlights the need to play in co-op. They can be completed in single player but Ruffian must have employed a sadist when it came to enemy AI. In the latter stages of the game most Cell enemies will brandish rocket launchers and mini guns. The former of these weapons has such a ridiculous knock back that when being spammed with several at a time you’ll spend much of your time on the floor.
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