Crackdown 2 – Review

Release Date: Out now!
Developer: Ruffian
Publisher: Microsoft
Singleplayer:  Yes
Splitscreen: No
Multiplayer: 2-16
PEGI: 15+
(this review is’s review, the previous was a review written from a guest who wished to be unknown. It has now been deleted as we felt -and so did you- that it was not up to standard)

Three years after the release of the cult hit, Crackdown, and Ruffian are under pressure to deliver on a sequel that fixes the problems of the first and improve upon the gameplay.

And in some respects they’ve done this with Crackdown 2, and in others they’ve failed to deliver.

Once again taking on the role of a genetically super-powered Agent who can throw cars and leap buildings it’s returning to form with the signature freedom of gameplay that made the first so unique.
This time around Ruffian have tried to combat one of the major flaws of the first, people simply didn’t know what to do.
Many who were dropped into the world simply stood and stared as the game told them to get on with it, these were the gamers used to linear games that told you what to do next, games like Red Dead Redemption have artificial freedom in that respect, they give you an open world but still lead you by the hand.

This time around Crackdown 2 has a tutorial to let gamers get to grips with the game but the idea of letting you tackle the main story anyway you wish remains solidly in place.
It’s actually taken a step backwards from its predecessor though, while in the previous game you could kill the lower generals to weaken the big boss Crackdown 2 simply asks you to activate Absorbtion Units around the city and then defend a bomb.
Rinse and repeat until boredom sets in.

These big new units and bombs are to combat the new threat to Pacific City ( of which Crackdown 2 returns to) which takes the form of Freaks.
those with a good memory may remember unleashing a virus on Crackdown, in the ten-year span between the games settings this virus has spread and infected much of the city and these “Freaks” now come out at night in the thousands.

On the technical side the amount of Freaks on-screen at any one time is impressive, certainly when you get your hands on an Agency Helicopter ( a brand new and very fun addition to the series, though it does break the game somewhat) and fly above the streets you’ll see exactly how many they’re getting onto the screen.
At first these guys are more of a threat through number than anything else but as you become more powerful bigger Freaks start turning up that can follow you over rooftops and give you a good hammering.
They’re still more of a danger because of numbers however and the larger Freaks have a charge attack that can be spammed to keep you from getting up which can prove frustrating.

During the day it changes pace as you’ll be going up against the Cell, a rebel group who are trying to overthrow the Agency.
As you may expect because of them just being puny humans they’re much more generic, using guns and missiles. Gits.
Once again though it feels more like threat through numbers than anything else, and once you get to the point where vast numbers of them are wielding rockets of some sort it can become irritating as you get pinned to the ground by a continuous hail of fire until dead.

Ruffian have also played it safe with Crackdown 2 as you return again to Pacific City and while it’s now a battle ridden place with buildings collapsed and others with massive chunks missing the basic layout is the same and deja-vu quickly sets in.
It’s hard not to be disappointed to be returning to the same city but thankfully the games platforming is as fun as ever and those Orbs are just waiting to be cought (yes, some of them run away this time) but a problem from the original rears its head as often the game is a little picky on whats an edge that you can grab and what is not.

Missions are horribly repetitive as well with the entire games main missions amounting to “kill everything” or “Defend this Beacon” (By killing everything) and while the Crackdown gameplay keeps it frantic and fun it’s hard not to find yourself becoming tired of repeating this objective over and over until the games finale, which follows the same trend.

This time around Ruffian have tried to inject a little direction though as each new set of Absorption Units that you must activate flash up on the map but you’re still at perfect liberty to wander around and find the others first.

Of course new additions to the gameplay are here and present, those who max out their agility gain access to a spiffy Wing Suit which allows them to glide around the map by simply tapping ‘Y’ and for those people that like to buff out their character a handy new Hulk style leaping ground pound is added to the mix.
Melee has been changed slightly with the inclusion of punches and the ability to wield objects as weapons but it’s still a simplistic button mashing affair without a doubt.
The new UV Shotgun is a blast, designed to kill freaks when used on cars and normal people it sends them flying backwards insane distances.

Oddly though the much-loved transforming Agency vehicles as been replaced by a generic “unlock one new vehicle for each new level of Driving skill” which is no-where near as entertaining.

But it’s the inclusion of four player co-op where this game starts to make sense, once you get friends into the game it becomes a blast as you tackle objectives together or simply get into a massive scrap and throwing massive trucks at each other.
It’s all seamlessly integrated via a drop in/out system which can be adjusted to allow the general public, just friends or nobody in while you’re playing the campaign and it means you don’t have to set up a separate lobby! Huzzah!

Ultimately Crackdown 2 is a game that does not use pre-defined set-pieces, it asks you to get out there and create your own unique and epic moments.

But as a sequel to the cult classic. Crackdown 2 is somewhat of a disappointment, it adds little in terms of new content and fails to fix the vast majority of problems that the original had and feels more of a Crackdown 1.5 or large DLC pack.
If you were never impressed by the first then Crackdown 2 is certainly not going to change your mind and even fans of the first may find it hard to justify forking out full price for Crackdown 2 when the first game is currently so cheap, and in many respects better  than its sequel.

The Good:
+ Feeling like a god amongst mortals, muwhahahahahah!
+ ORBS!!!!!
+ Renegade Orbs!!!

The Bad:
– Where the hell did my transforming vehicles go?!
– Bieng rocket pinned to the ground
–  Multiplayer has some major connection problems.


Graphics: 8
A technical step up from Crackdown without a doubt

Sound: 7.5
A good sountrack and the voice of the Agency is as cool as ever but there were some sound cut-outs that irked.

Story: 5
Non-existant really but the ending cutscene was a neat twist.

Gameplay: 8
The frantic Crackdown gameplay still entertains but many of the old problems still exist.

Lifespan: 8
You can complete the main missions in around 6-8 hours but to do absolutely everything could take you months.

Overall: 7.5
A rather disappointing sequel that plays it safe too much while not adding much and fixing little.
But still, it’s fun and frantic and few games give such freedom. 


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