Crackdown 2 super review

  • 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?

What's still crap about Crackdown


This was our biggest problem with the original Crackdown. When you were messing around and improvising gameplay with friends, the game was a blast. When you eventually attempted to finish the campaign and check off all of the official objectives, however, the game became a repetitive and unimaginative chore. Why were we, the amateurs, so much better at thinking up cool stuff to do than the experienced developers?

Sadly, and a little shockingly, the missions are just as bad in Crackdown 2. Instead of taking down a series of forgettable gangs, you're slowly rebuilding a forgettable super weapon in order to eradicate an army of forgettable zombies while being harassed by a forgettable resistance force. Honestly, even with our snark added, that last sentence makes the campaign sound pretty damn interesting, so here's an actual example of gameplay to put things in perspective:

You rebuild the super weapon by… standing? Yup, only multiply that image by 27, because that's the number of super weapon pieces you'll be asked to repair in the same tedious manner. Occasionally, you'll be told to activate a beacon as well. Those missions undoubtedly look like this:

You drop down a dark hole and protect the beacon from a relentless swarm of zombies for several minutes. It's exciting and intense the first time… not so much the ninth, nearly identical time.

And everything else? Clearing out zombie and resistance force strongholds. In other words, pretty much what you did in the last game.


Pacific City, the futuristic metropolis you cleaned up in the original Crackdown, lacked depth, detail and personality. We never cared about the buildings – they were just props for us to climb. We never cared about the citizens – they were generic fodder for our fists, or bloody decoration for the grills of our supercars. We never cared about the fate of the city, either – the place didn't seem that safer or nicer at the end of the game than it did at the beginning.

With some nice diversity and a beautifully crisp, cel-shaded comic book style, however, Pacific City was good enough for the first game. Then on to a new and improved setting for Crackdown 2, right?

Sorry. Same city. Same landmarks. Same basic layout. Pacific City has fallen into crumbling disrepair since the previous game, and while we did enjoy recognizing certain landmarks in their slightly more deteriorated states, that's seriously the only noticeable difference. And that is not enough of a difference to make Crackdown 2 a truly new experience.

Of course, the other drawback from barely upgrading a location after three years of technological advancement? It starts to show its age in incredibly distracting ways…

That's not a cable or rope lying on the beach. That's two polygons of beach texture sewn together with their stitches showing. Welcome to 2010.


He's back, and bossier than ever. Your Agency employer / handler was the sole character in Crackdown, compensating for his mysterious lack of a face or name through the constant use of his smug and condescending voice. But at least he usually had something helpful to say about the mission you were tackling or the vehicle and weapon you were handling. And once he was finished, he shut up.

Not in Crackdown 2. Trying to fight off enemies? He'll ask why you're taking so long. Trying to defend a beacon from zombie attacks? He'll interrupt every 10 seconds to remind you that - no shit – zombies are attacking the beacon. Trying to escape a danger zone with a sliver of health bar left? He'll order you to return once you've "grown a pair." Trying to drive down a street, but accidentally hitting a few policemen because they're almost indistinguishable from every other NPC? He'll send attack squads after you as punishment, and say so with the exact same snippet of dialogue he used in the original game. Trying to stand still so you can temporarily take care of something in the real world? He'll angrily bark at you to "get a move on!" He's a mean old bully, and we hate him.

More Info

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


  • 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.

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