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?

So little, so late

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.

A second (player) opinion

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."

Is it better than…

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.

Just for you, Metacritic!

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

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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