But in spite all the negativity on the previous page, we don't hate Crackdown 2. As the first section of the review made clear, everything that was fun, addictive and original about the last game is still just as fun and addictive – if no longer original – in the second game. If you never played Crackdown 1, you have many long days and sleepless nights of orb-grabbing, agent-enhancing, chaos-creating, goal-improvising entertainment ahead of you.
The rest of us, however, aren't given very many compelling reasons to jump back into Pacific City… or to shell out another $60. Four-player co-op is fantastic. The wing suit is neat. Tanks, helicopters and spider web grenades are inspired inclusions. After that, what else? The setting is the same. The missions and enemies haven't been improved; the story and characters continue to be nonexistent. Most of the weapons and vehicles operate exactly as they did in early 2007, and if you bought Crackdown's DLC a few months later, the dune buggy and harpoon gun aren't new either. Even the addition of multiplayer doesn't change much, as you get only three basic modes – deathmatch, team deathmatch and rocket tag – which are always won by whoever reaches a helicopter first. If you want a full report on this side of things though, check out Dave H's in-depth multiplayer appraisal.
Clichéd as this might sound, Crackdown 2 honestly is Crackdown 1.5. We're happy to get a little more of a formula we love, but after waiting three years – the amount of time in which Rockstar gave us Liberty City, Vice City and San Andreas in GTA – we expected and deserved so much more than this follow-up has to offer.
From the desk of Brett Elston, GamesRadar Executive Editor
"Charlie and I spent tens of hours playing the original Crackdown, so much so that it’s the only game of the modern generation I’ve played until the sun came up. It’s strange then, that I found myself complaining about the sequel so often. All of the first game’s problems are still present, and what little new content that’s here doesn’t come into play until way late in the game. The map is borderline identical and the various agent powers appeared to be unchanged or so minutely altered that they didn’t factor into gameplay. Honestly, it feels a bit ballsy to ask for $60 when the two games are so similar.
But, as a co-op experience Crackdown 2 is still pretty fun. There’s little direction and the missions themselves are rarely exciting, but running around in a group, tossing cars and leaping from building to building in search of something to harass/play with/destroy/climb will still devour hours of your free time. It’s an incredibly tough game to walk away from when in a group, as there’s always someone saying “oh look at this!” or “hey I found one of the Xbox Live-only orbs,” which continually distracts you from just how bland the story and missions really are. There’s fun to be had, especially with two, three or four people, but going solo is not recommended."
Crackdown? Yes. The four-player co-op multiplies the best parts of Crackdown's addictive formula, and some inventive new toys provide that larger group with plenty of opportunity for improvisation. If you played the original to death, however, you'll be shocked at how little has really changed for this so-called sequel. Crackdown 2 is better, for sure, but not better enough.
Just Cause 2? No. Both sandboxes are built for creative mayhem, but Just Cause 2 includes boats, planes, zip-lines, a massive environment filled with Easter eggs and – oh yeah – an actual story with actual missions. You can't play with a friend, of course, but with so much more to do during the campaign, you won't need to. The graphics in Just Cause 2 – especially the explosions, of which you'll see a lot – are prettier as well.
InFamous? Depends on what kind of superhero game you're after. If you want to play through a gritty origin tale in a relatively believable setting, pick InFamous. Your powers won't be as exciting or exaggerated, but at least you'll have a compelling reason to use them. If you'd rather act out your own comic book story – with no rules, no morality and close to no gravity – go Crackdown 2.
What was good is still good, but rarely better. What was bad is still bad, and sometimes worse. Changes have been made, though only the addition of four-person co-op makes much of a noticeable impact on the experience. This is a sequel you've sort of already played.
Jul 5, 2010
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