My Crackdown 2 Review!

Back in early 2007, the original Crackdown was a game that would've quietly slipped under the radar if it were not for the fact that it was the carrier for the much anticipated Halo 3 Beta. Little attention was focused towards Crackdown as most people were simply anxious to get their hands on the Halo 3 beta, but as it turns out, Crackdown turned out to be superbly proficient in providing one of the best open-world experiences to have ever graced console gaming. It was an open-world adventure with a super-powered twist, as you upgraded your characters physical stats to become a virtually unstoppable one man army.

Crackdown 2 returns hoping to replicate that excitement and while it provides the same basic experience, but little is down in attempts to re-invent the formula or even add to it.

Taking place roughly ten years after the events of the first game, Crackdown 2 decides to ditch the gang-war aspect of the original game in favour of a viral mutant outbreak that has taken over the entire city. As with the first game, there is little-to-no narrative to be told here. You get a brief outlook on how events became to be and that's the extent of any true story-telling you'll get throughout the experience. In Crackdown's favour, story was never it's strong suit nor was it ever the focus. It was always about giving the player unrestricted freedom in a explosive sandbox and the adrenaline rush that the gameplay provided. Regardless, Crackdown 2 does get credit for attempting to switch up the atmosphere in the game with a new directive and showcasing the impact that the mutant outbreak has left on Pacific City.

A new day/night cycle takes precedence as you'll be forced to engage different foes depending on the time of day. When the sun is shining, your average mercenary groups will be your foes, protecting their territory but doing little other to be seen as a credible threat. At night, endless hords of mutants roam the streets and you'll be forced to switch up your strategy to face them. Charge right in and you'll be mauled to death, attempt to flee and you will be pursued. It's here that Crackdown 2's story focuses on the elimination of these abominations as you're forced to locate their hideouts and plant UV Light bombs to rid Pacific city of the mutant plight. Yes, the creativity ends there.

In regards to Pacific City itself, it's simply the same recycled map from the original game with a slightly more apocalyptic vibe added to give the player a feeling of desperation that is oozing from the cities residents that are left to fend for themselves. It's nothing particularly creative nor will it catch your eye. At first glance, it simply screams "been there, done that", and fans expecting more will be left disappointed. There's a slight improvement in graphical quality but it's rather depressing when considering the three year difference between the games.

The invigorating gameplay has thankfully remained the same for the most part with a slight overhaul to a few aspects of the Agent progression. The changes implemented bode well for the game as it makes for more enjoyable combat and travel options but the developers make a wise decision in refusing to alter the formula in a drastic matter. New vehicles are added while the interesting physical upgrades shown as your driving skill rose in the original have become abandoned. Also making a triumphant return in the sequel are the famed agility orbs. As with it's predecessor, Crackdown 2's agility orbs help progress your agility attributes and the harder they are to achieve, the better the results are. Little deviations are made as new versions of the orbs are introduced which you are forced to chase after as they traverse around a set path in the city, but they become pesky annoyances and might prove to belittle the experience.

As with many fans of the original, co-op was one of the most addictive features that the game offered. What was more fun that wreaking havoc by yourself? Experiencing it with a friend. In Crackdown 2, co-op makes a dynamic comeback, allowing not only 2-player co-op, but 4-player as well. Quadruple the action and quadruple the insanity. Co-op has never been more addicting.

One of the odd, and possibly most unnecessary additions, has to be the tacked on multiplayer. You're expected to care about the 16-player multiplayer mode, but are given very little reason to. It implements the unbearably common team-deathmatch modes and is only made worse by the game's highly dependant targeting system. An interesting addition is the rocket-tag mode in which the players are tasked in "tagging" each other with heat seeking rockets while the others attempt to avoid the one who is designated as "it". The simple, chaotic nature might attract and interest players for several hours but after mucking through the shallow campaign, there's not much left you'd want to do with Crackdown 2.

Instead of taking the opportunity to build upon an already brilliant formula, Ruffian Games takes a step-backwards by recycling a map already accustomed to and failing to add a narrative of any kind. It's an enjoyable experience but don't expect to find yourself burning hours into this lifeless re-run of an experience.

Final Score: 6.5

26 Comments
26 Comments
Posted by k4tzm4n

@Deranged Midget: Ouch! I completely agree with the review, but I'm still having an absolute blast in the game. I spent a good 10 minutes (or however long the night segment is) just brawling with an army of mutants on the beach yesterday. I think it's fair to say my "B" button hates me now.

Staff
Posted by _Black

I quite enjoyed the first one, but I have to say that I'm glad I didn't buy this.

Posted by Deranged Midget

@k4tzm4n: Ha, I had fun with the game, but it's just that the lack of anything new kind of ticked me off. It's still mindless fun!

@_Black: It's basically the same game with 4-player co-op and multiplayer. It's fun, but don't expect anything new.

Moderator
Posted by Xanni15

If you haven't played the first one would you enjoy the second one?

Posted by k4tzm4n

@Deranged Midget: I think the amount of wait time between playing Crackdown 1 and Crackdown 2 has helped the experience significantly.

Staff
Posted by Deranged Midget

@Xanni15: If anything, it'd make the experience more enjoyable!

@k4tzm4n: In regards to what? Definitely not any graphical achievements :P

Moderator
Posted by _Black

@Deranged Midget: 4-player co-op sounds like a lot of fun, but I highly doubt I could get three friends to play. Nice review by the way.

Posted by Deranged Midget

@_Black: Thank you! :)

You'll have a blast with just a single friend.

Moderator
Posted by danhimself

Another great review!!! I enjoyed the game but it's definitely not something that I'll find myself playing again

Posted by Deranged Midget

@danhimself: Thanks man! :)

I had a blast with the game, but it's just the lack of innovation was disappointing when so much could've been done.

Moderator
Edited by k4tzm4n

@Deranged Midget said:

@Xanni15: If anything, it'd make the experience more enjoyable!

@k4tzm4n: In regards to what? Definitely not any graphical achievements :P

Just the overall experience. When I first played Crackdown 2 I was still enjoying co-op nonsense with buddies in Crackdown 1. So, the experience was far too familiar and that was rather disappointing. So, I put it down and said I'll continue later. Years later, the experience is no longer fresh in my mind, so I'm once again enjoying leaping after agility orbs and creating ridiculous chain explosions.

But yes, the graphics are quite a letdown, as is the clunkier feeling behind movement.

Staff
Posted by Deranged Midget

@k4tzm4n: That's a fair point. Before the release of the game, it seemed that my anticipation and expectations got the better of me. As I said, the game is still a blast in regards to what it does best, but it's a shame that even with the original as a base example, they failed to improve upon the game in the slightest.

Moderator
Posted by k4tzm4n

@Deranged Midget: Completely agreed and that's exactly why I delayed playing the game for so long :D

Staff
Posted by Deranged Midget

@k4tzm4n: A wise choice! Maybe we'll get the chance to cause city-wide destruction together one day! :P

Moderator
Posted by FadeToBlackBolt

Great review, I actually was interested in this game, but I am so damn sick of mutant outbreaks as the driving point of the story. 

Posted by k4tzm4n

@FadeToBlackBolt: Did you play the first one?

Staff
Posted by FadeToBlackBolt
@k4tzm4n: Nope, but I watched an obnoxious friend play it =P
Edited by Deranged Midget

@FadeToBlackBolt: Thanks! :)

It's a highly enjoyable game if you're willing to shut your brain off for several hours, but don't expect to find an exhilarating story.

Moderator
Posted by k4tzm4n

@Deranged Midget: THE TWIST IN THE FIRST GAME HAD MY JAW DROPPED, SIR!

Okay maybe it didn't, but the insane amount of fun did.

Staff
Posted by pooty

Crackdown 2 was like Viewtiful Joe 2. The originals were great. The sequels were too much of the same. Still enjoyed playing it.....just for the mindless fun.

Posted by Deranged Midget

@k4tzm4n said:

@Deranged Midget: THE TWIST IN THE FIRST GAME HAD MY JAW DROPPED, SIR!

Okay maybe it didn't, but the insane amount of fun did.

:D

And honestly, that's what the game is all about, exhilarating, chaotic, super-hero like action. It's kind of like GTA on roids.

Moderator
Posted by Deranged Midget

@pooty said:

Crackdown 2 was like Viewtiful Joe 2. The originals were great. The sequels were too much of the same. Still enjoyed playing it.....just for the mindless fun.

Exactly, it's a fun game, but it could've been far more than that.

Moderator
Posted by Lvenger

I wasn't too interested in how this game turned out. Glad to see I'm not missing out on too much. Once again nice review! It's good to see fair reviews these days.

Posted by Deranged Midget

@Lvenger said:

I wasn't too interested in how this game turned out. Glad to see I'm not missing out on too much. Once again nice review! It's good to see fair reviews these days.

Thanks mate :)

And if you're a fan of the first, it's still worth a rent to feel that rush again and it's even better with 3 other friends.

Moderator
Edited by Inverno

Surprisingly enough I never played Crackdown despite being a open world and having character costumization. I will have this review in mind when I decide to pick it up. Good job, mate.

Online
Posted by Deranged Midget

@CaioTrubat: Thanks man! :D

Truly though, my review is simply opinion based and it feeds off my disappoint considering I was such a huge fan of the first. The game is still a blast and you'll put hours into the game simply jumping around and destroying everything you see. It's a pure joy.

Moderator