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Crackdown 2: The multiplayer verdict

One-on-one, your options are even greater. Escape upward, downward, horizontally, or anywhere in between. Brave a hail of gunfire into sprint in and deliver an (admittedly over-powered) ultimate melee of insta-kill justice. Get your opponent to follow your trajectory into the air, and throw an inescapable proximity mine down at your shared landing spot. Initiate a foot chase and use your immense freedom of movement to get lost in the cityscape, reappearing behind your pursuer from any one of tens of directions he didn’t expect.


Above: It's like a big playground. A playground of DEATH

The key to online success in Crackdown 2 isn’t just in your use of weapons, but in how your conduct yourself when using them. With vast urban maps equalling the variety and complexity of the main game’s city, the options to personalise your play style are many and various.

Go all-out run-and-gun if you like, or be a Predator, sneaking around the rooftops and striking the unwary below. Take the blaze of glory approach, running for the vehicles to rack up as many easy kills as you can before everyone else inevitably gangs up on you. Or you can camp those very vehicles for the whole match, using them as bait. A cockpit makes a great grenade target.

The inevitable problems

But Crackdown 2’s multiplayer certainly isn’t perfect. For all of its options, it’s still at heart a very basic, old-school deathmatch. DM, Team DM and Rocket Tag, that’s all you get, though that line-up might be expanded with DLC. Right now though, the omissions are indefensible given the sort of content already in the main game. Where are the zombie (sorry, 'freak') modes? Where's the combat racing? Where are the competetive orb-collecting challenges? And while creative play can save your life or turn a situation right around, certain weapon combinations only ever go one way.


Above: This guy = about to notch up big points. Then explode

As mentioned earlier, melee is utterly devastating, and up close you’ll simply be swatting flies as you charge in through your opponent's bullets to reconfigure their bone structure.

And while ‘Get to zeh chohpaaah’ isn’t the patented win button it is in Modern Warfare, piloting the helicopter will definitely allow you to rack up your lead or close the gap without much trouble at all. You’ll get taken down eventually, but given the dizzying heights you can reach while maintaining (fairly) accurate cannon fire, that could take some while. Fun, Crackdown 2 PvP certainly is. Immaculately balanced it certainly is not.


Above: Car vs. man, who will prevail? Clue: Car

Nor is it a game that particularly rewards twitch reflexes or pixel-perfect aiming skills, so if you’re all about precision multiplayer, you’ll hate it like wasps. If however, you just want a raucous, silly, but surprisingly creative approach to online blasty-killy, you will find it here.

Whether by accident or design (both are arguable), Crackdown 2’s gameplay does work online, and brings about a flavour of deathmatch you just won’t get anywhere else. It’s a bit shaky, yes. Like the rest of Crackdown 2 it has the whiff of rushed development about it, and it’s certainly too throwaway to session until the sun comes up. But as a half-hour slice of light-hearted spectacle and action movie nonsense, it’s definitely worth a dip. Not worth buying Crackdown 2 for alone in its current state, but definitely an enjoyable bonus if you were going to buy it anyway. Ruffian, we will be watching out for those updates.

What do you reckon? Have these multiplayer findings changed your mind in any way about Crackdown 2? And would you like to see us rate other games' multiplayer experiences in more of these online-focused articles? Let me know in the comments, or treat our Facebook and Twitter portals as your own personal opinion buckets.

Topics

Microsoft

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10 comments

  • AGENTJORRRG - August 2, 2010 9:23 a.m.

    I traded in MW2 and Halo 3 because I don't need them now that I have Crackdown 2 PvP. Best PvP on XboxLIVE hands down.
  • swordm1000 - July 8, 2010 5:44 p.m.

    i bought the 1st game and if you liked the first game you'll like it a lot, at first it might seem the same as the first but it's completely different and more fun
  • philipshaw - July 6, 2010 5:46 p.m.

    Liked the first game but not sold on the new game, might get it when somewhere sells it for £20
  • linqingquan1 - July 6, 2010 1:12 p.m.

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  • CH3BURASHKA - July 6, 2010 3:27 a.m.

    Meh. Never played the first, so I lack what can only be classified as nostalgia. Frankly, all the reviews and whatnot make Crackdown seem like the 2010 equivalent of an arcade game: it's all about the core mechanic and nothing else. Someday, maybe, but I got other stuff to get to.
  • axemahn - July 6, 2010 3:19 a.m.

    i havent really thought about the multiplayer since just now, i am excited though
  • vinicusg.t.guedes - July 5, 2010 4:47 p.m.

    I like the way you had a review exclusively to the multiplayer experience. Still, is it more satisfying than Borderlands multiplayer?
  • Embolado - July 5, 2010 3:40 p.m.

    Im getting it as soon as I get back from the coast. 4 Player Co-op is now a must, I have been stuck playing nothing but single player games the past couple of months and it will be nice to actually play thru a campaign with a couple of friends and not simply just deatmatch.
  • crumbdunky - July 5, 2010 3:15 p.m.

    IDK, sounds a bit limited and a bit annoying for my tastes and not good enough to tempt me from what I'd usually play online and allied to the fact all the things which peeved me about the first SP game are still there I think they just lost a sale with me, sadly, and I was looking forward to this as wel, gah!
  • Levy - July 5, 2010 2:10 p.m.

    WANT

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