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Crackdown 2 - first look

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Gas canisters have now been placed liberally across the city, and predictably these can be exploded with a single shot. However, for a noticeably more random outcome, why not shoot the lids off and send the canisters skidding around the environment instead? These ‘rockets’ could take out enemies or vehicles, or they could suddenly whiz back and catch the player unawares, exploding you in a shower of your own hubris. And blood. And guts.

The new Mag grenades need a bit of explaining. If you attach multiple mags to objects they form a sort of electrical bungee cord, expandable and explosive at the touch of a button. You might ‘glue’ a car to two walls to form a volatile slingshot, or build an impromptu bridge between buildings to let you bound somewhat gracelessly across. How about sticking a couple of gas canisters together, then sitting back and watching the chaos unfold? The possibilities are almost endless.

In the first game, you could only change weapons or replenish ammo at Support Points, which also acted as checkpoints when you inevitably got yourself killed. This time around you can call for ammo and supply drops anywhere you feel like it. They’ll then tumble from the sky and land conveniently at your feet.

Like every new weapon, Mag grenades have been explicitly designed to make the game’s freeform destruction more fun. New developers Ruffian Games have given a few examples of how players might utilise the new toys but, as with the original game, many videos of brilliant and unforeseen uses are bound to crop up all over YouTube.

You can still explore the whole city in co-op, but you’ll now be able to do so with up to three other Agents at the same time. Considering the original struggled at times with just two, it’s going to be interesting to see how Crackdown 2 copes with double the amount. Scratch that: it’s going to be interesting seeing how it will cope with eight times the amount. Sixteen players can now turn their attentions toward one another in a range of new competitive modes. The only one confirmed so far is Deathmatch, a seemingly typical free-for-all enhanced with jump pads.

Yes, jump pads. While on the surface they’re similar to the ones seen in Halo, here you can pick them up and move them around, creating your own airborne shortcuts. Sneaky players will even be able to place floating proximity mines in the trajectory between pads, exploding hapless fools who meet them midway.

It’s encouraging that the freeform fun of single-player and co-op appears to carry over to Deathmatch – there’s also a persistent Call of Duty-style leveling system, although it’s not yet clear what form this will take. Presumably online characters will level up in much the same way as offline ones, increasing in strength and agility as they grab orbs and punch people in the head.

The first Crackdown was something of an accidental hit. The joke at the time was that it came free with the Halo 3 beta – it was the other way around, obviously – but the game itself turned out to be exceptionally entertaining. With higher expectations for the sequel, any weak points of the original game will be more glaring under a much harsher spotlight. But even if original developers Realtime Worlds have moved on – Ruffian Games consists of a few developers who worked on the original Crackdown – this is one of those rare sequels that seems to know exactly what made the original game fun. There are clever new toys, improvements to co-op, and enemies that will actually prove a challenge. The first game was fun, yet a little flimsy – but Crackdown 2 could prove to be unstoppable.

Nov 4, 2009

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8 comments

  • hardcore_gamer1990 - March 1, 2010 10:26 p.m.

    The only series I truly envy the xbox for...
  • Yeager1122 - November 8, 2009 12:17 a.m.

    I still have to finish the first one.
  • TreeWhale - November 5, 2009 10:54 p.m.

    I am A Whale Me Like Crack and down me Buys it
  • michaelmcc827 - November 5, 2009 2:04 a.m.

    "sizzling on"...? wot is this?
  • michaelmcc827 - November 5, 2009 2:04 a.m.

    I enjoyed the basic mechanics of Crackdown and found the jumping and climbing really addictive, but the shooting mechanics were kinda weak without a cover system, and I hated the mission structure, I could never find out what to do next. If these are fixed, I'd definitely consider this game.
  • Fancy Rat - November 4, 2009 9:51 p.m.

    They really aren't changing much; it's getting the L4D treatment. Having said that, it should be good. I liked the first one a lot. Are we getting no resolution on the quote-unquote twist ending from the original? We're still working for the Agency?
  • AMayer - November 4, 2009 9:01 p.m.

    But the real question is what multiplayer beta will it come with for free this time? Just kidding. Crackdown was sick and I hope this one is too.
  • AA95mp - November 4, 2009 7:46 p.m.

    by the sound of things i'm guessing this game will get a 9 or 10

Showing 1-8 of 8 comments

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