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Crackdown 2 super review

AT A GLANCE
  • The exact same stuff you loved in the first game
  • Four players is definitely better than two
  • Experimenting with new toys
  • The exact same stuff you hated in the first game
  • A disappointing sense of deja vu
  • No, seriously. This is it?

Welcome to the introductory paragraph! In a normal review, this is where we might explain the concept of the game, or recount the history of the franchise, or hook your interest with a particularly dramatic description of something that happened to us while playing. For Crackdown 2, however, we feel a rare journalistic responsibility to cut the bullshit and drive straight to the point: This is the same game as Crackdown 1.

That could be a good or bad thing, depending on your perspective. If you loved the original and just want a second, slightly enhanced sandbox in which to explore and experiment with your friends, then you'll be satisfied… though never surprised. If you liked the original, but were expecting big improvements to address some very obvious flaws, then you'll be disappointed, frustrated and possibly even angered… yet once again addicted for hours at a time.

Confusing, right? Let's explain in detail…

What's still great about Crackdown

SUPERPOWERS

You don't jump. You launch into the sky, soaring higher than the roofs of buildings and landing with a concrete-cracking tremor. You don't run. You speed through the air like a human bullet, leaving exhaust trails and startled pedestrians in your wake. You don't hit. You pummel and pulverize, sending enemies hurtling across entire city blocks with a single punch, kick or throw. No franchise is better at making you feel like a godly, all-powerful superhero – a crazy combination of Superman, Flash, Hulk, Spider-Man and The Punisher – than Crackdown.

And in Crackdown 2… You can fly! Sort of. Once you've leveled up your agent character enough, you receive a "wing suit" upgrade that enables you to glide through the air like a leaf on the breeze, grabbing much greater distance out of every leap and every freefall. The new ability isn't explained too well (a tiny text box is the only tutorial) and requires a lot of trial-and-error practice, but once perfected, basically adds Iron Man to the superhero list above.

AGILITY ORBS

Before you can learn to fly, you must learn to collect. Fortunately, searching for Agility Orbs – the shimmering green power-ups that act as Crackdown's XP – is the most addictive part of the game. They're everywhere you look, and yet somehow always just out of reach. Spend ten minutes figuring out how to climb a tower for one and you'll discover another dozen beckoning to you from the horizon, each demanding its own unique and inventive approach. Suddenly it's 4:00 AM and you're still hungry for more.

And in Crackdown 2… The developers feed your habit even further. In addition to the 500 Agility Orbs, 300 Hidden Orbs and 80 Xbox Live Orbs (visible at all times, but attainable only in co-op), they've thrown in Renegade Orbs, living power-ups that will actually run away from you. If you thought you were obsessed during the last game, wait until you try to grab these – the endless chases are both maddening and ridiculously satisfying.

CO-OP CHAOS

Crackdown could arguably be called the best co-op franchise of this generation. You're not merely shooting enemies side by side, or manning a turret while the other guy drives. These games are giant playgrounds, designed for DIY play - much like the famously imaginary Calvinball, you and your friends are free to make up your own rules, your own contests and your own fun.

And in Crackdown 2… That fun grows exponentially every time another player joins in, so the follow-up smartly increases co-op from two to four. More importantly, though, Crackdown 2 gives your group major incentives to stay together as often as possible. New toys like the webby mag grenades – with which you can hang a car between two buildings, or attach a tank to a helicopter – are wasted unless there's someone else there to see your bizarre construction / destruction. New Achievements require that multiple parties be involved – how are you going to "leap from one fast moving vehicle to another" for 10G unless your friends are driving both?

Finally, the new missions are much easier when tackled with multiple guns. Sections that you'll fail by yourself over and over, sometimes even on the lowest difficulty level, are suddenly a shoot-and-forget breeze once co-op help arrives. While this is a fantastic way to encourage teamwork, it often ends up punishing those who want to – or have to – play alone. Which brings us to the next page: What's still crap about Crackdown.

More Info

Available Platforms: Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Published by: Microsoft
Developed by: Ruffian Games
ESRB Rating:
Rating Pending

48 comments

  • kooloff - January 12, 2011 7:13 p.m.

    i love tis game, but i never played the original so it's all new to me
  • NightAce84 - July 11, 2010 5:38 a.m.

    Having actually played the game now, it is as fun as I expected. I played until 5 am with my friends at one point, and we were just messing around. Flying the helicopters is a blast. We also tried mixing mags, battle buses, a maxed out strength skill, and a buttload of freaks. That was best moment of the game so far for me. However, I definitely see where the game is lacking. I never felt that there was any real story, and the actual missions sucked. Standing on a platform? Blah. But luckily, collecting orbs is as addictive as ever, and the new flight suit stunt rings are also very fun, albeit frustrating. Bottom line is, I am having loads of fun with this game. Ruffian did a pretty good job with this game, considering what they had to work with. Also, having beaten it already, I really hope the ending gives us hope for actual missions and an actual story next time around considering *SPOILERS* Catalina looks to be creating her own agents *END SPOILERS*
  • stefansmith - July 10, 2010 7:11 a.m.

    This game is awesome.I hate how all the critics are saying it's an average game because it's not.This review was too harsh becuz it's Breyer than a 7.
  • Baron164 - July 9, 2010 3:34 a.m.

    I've been playing Crackdown 2 for a week and I'm still loving it. I was addicted to the first one and actually searched out all 500 agility orbs. Still missing about 40 hidden ones. I feel the sequel has revised a few things for the achievement whore in me. The ability to track what you have and have not done is a huge bonus and I can't say now to a helicopter. I can understand people not being happy about it basically being Crackdown 1.5 but the .5 is enough for me and i'll keep playing it and having fun int he giant toy box. My only grief is that they took out street racing. I really enjoyed that mode.
  • Omega336 - July 8, 2010 8:19 p.m.

    Considering the fact that this game was handed down to a new developer we should be happy that it plays like the first game. So I say Ruffian Games did a great job especaly if the only complaint is that it's just like the first Crackdown.
  • GamesRadarMikelReparaz - July 7, 2010 8:14 p.m.

    @Sleuth: Having finished both, I'd say Prototype's better. It has more variety, more enjoyable exploration and an actual story with unique missions. C2 has almost no story, which would be fine, except that its central objectives - all three of them - are rote, repetitive tasks that would be side-missions in any other sandbox game. Also Prototype's gliding is more fun. (I should probably clarify that by "three," I mean activating the 27 absorption units and nine beacons, taking back Cell strongholds and closing Freak Breaches. Although really only the first one is needed to complete the "story.")
  • Howetzer - July 7, 2010 6:48 p.m.

    Calvin and Hobbes is Definately the best part of this review.
  • GrandMoffBubbles - July 7, 2010 6:05 p.m.

    Pretty fair score. I loved the first game and often find myself wishing this one was a little more like it. The character movements aren't a smooth as the first one. Case in point, I have difficulty looking up and/or around quickly. That little bit alone drops the score (for me) from an 8 to a 7. So I agree with Charlie's score. I know I'm gonna have a blast with my friends in MP Mayhem though. I love them explosions!
  • Zeb364 - July 7, 2010 10:34 a.m.

    I'm not as down on this game as you guys seem to be but I would give it the same score. Not sure how that comes to pass? Maybe my hopes just weren't as high. From looking at all the pre-release press I kinda knew it was going to be nothing but a cleaner Crackdown with some cool new features which suits me perfctly. I totally get the lack of a recommendation though cause I wouldn't recommend Crackdown 2 to anyone who didn't know what they were getting into. Probabaly a rental for most people. Also, it's summer and I want a fun, easy, relaxing game.
  • Ironarm - July 7, 2010 4:46 a.m.

    ...I love the Narrator.
  • Triscuitable - July 7, 2010 4:33 a.m.

    Dear god, with the amount of comments saying "Oh it's a 7, that must mean it's terrible." Remember Halo Wars? Halo 3: ODST? GamesRadar gave them 7's and YOU IGNORED THEM TOO. Just because it's a 7 doesn't mean it's shit. It means it has some minor flaws, but it's a good game, redeemable from it's own qualities. I say download the demo, give that a go. If you loved the first Crackdown, they're basically the same game. But with more co-op. Buy Crackdown used or on Games on Demand at the least. It is a good game. Don't act dissapointed, look at other reviews!
  • lovinmyps3 - July 6, 2010 9:09 p.m.

    I played the demo and did not enjoy it at all. I think this just isn't my kind of game.
  • RoundeyeSamurai - July 6, 2010 5:20 p.m.

    I just picked up my copy, I played the DEMO, am STILL playing the first one. I bought it for the orbs and the mayhem, anyone who expects anything more from it, aren't thinking straight. Will I get my $70 CDN worth? Hell Yeah, and that is what matters. Sometimes people forget that we play games so we can have fun, don't lose sight of that.
  • axemahn - July 6, 2010 2:39 p.m.

    how does this game get a 7 because its crackdown 1.5, and yet MW2 didnt do a goddam thing different from MW1 and yet that got blowjobs from every reviewer? crackdwon 2 added way more things to the original when compared to the zero improvements MW2 did, but because its expected, MW2 got 9's and 10's, but crackdown gets a 7. awesome. i call shenadagans charlie bearhat
  • Sleuth - July 6, 2010 12:20 p.m.

    How does this game compare to Prototype? Any thoughts?
  • camelfro - July 6, 2010 4:05 a.m.

    i always love the super reviews thanks charlie!
  • axemahn - July 6, 2010 3:11 a.m.

    i didnt like the first one at all, the world was too emtpy it felt like i was wasting my time doing nothing, but the demo seemed like the world was more alive and the controls les floaty and with the potential crackdown had, im excited and already have it preordered
  • CH3BURASHKA - July 6, 2010 3:05 a.m.

    I fucking love Calvin & Hobbes.
  • FingeredPope - July 6, 2010 2:31 a.m.

    Can this game be added to the list of games that scored a 7 that I still had lots of fun with. It'll hold me over until the holiday blockbusters come out.
  • NightAce84 - July 6, 2010 2:10 a.m.

    I really didn't expect it to score any higher than that. But to be honest, I couldn't care less. This game is going to be extremely fun for my already picked out team of friends and I. The original Crackdown lasted me the whole summer three years ago, and I expect this one to do the same. But with four player co-op, it will be an even better experience.

Showing 1-20 of 48 comments

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