Review – Crackdown 2

Crackdown 2
Publisher: Microsoft Gaming Studios
Developer: Ruffian Games
Genre: Third-Person Shooter, Sandbox
Release Date: Out Now

Crackdown. A sandbox style third-person shooter and an extremely under-rated title. When Crackdown was launched, it came bundled with a multiplayer beta for Halo 3, so you can guess why Crackdown sold well. However, there were some people who overlooked the beta and played Crackdown for what it was. There was so much freedom, so much action, so much to do. Whilst it had its flaws, it was an extremely enjoyable and fun game. Ruffian Games took over from Realtime Worlds and presented us with the sequal, Crackdown 2

Crackdown 2 takes place 10 years after the first title, where peace has existed in Pacific City, the game’s fictional location. A deadly virus has been unleashed into Pacific City, turning the civilians into mutated creatures. A mysterious group who call themselves Cell have engaged war with the Agency, believing that they hold a cure for this virus. With their genetically enhanced agents gone, the Agency launches “Project Sunburst”. As a new agent, your task is to combat the forces of Cell and put a stop to the “freaks” by activating and protecting the sunburst beacons placed into freak layers. Its certainly a more story driven game than the first Crackdown.

Crackdown veterans will feel right at home as gameplay hasn’t changed much. You’ll still be running, jumping and blowing stuff up like a pro. Levelling up your stats is the same, killing enemies, completing races and finding orbs. One thing to note is that the rewards are more generous this time around. As you level up, you’ll gain more access to items and skills. The most well known being the ability to fly around with your suit. This is unlocked at level 5 agility and extremely handy if you need to travel fast. New to the game are Renegade Orbs, which test both your agility and driving skills. These orbs fly about in a set pattern as you try and catch them. Successfully obtaining one gives you a big boost in agility or driving skill.

You’ll never be bored in Pacific City, not with so much to do. The game changes between day and night, giving you different objectives. By day you’ll be fighting against Cell to reclaim the city streets. By night you’ll be clearing out Freak layers and helping the Agency. Going from mission to mission is more linear than in the first game, as markers pinpoint exactly where you need to go. If there was one bad thing about the first game it was that you often had no idea what to do to activate a mission.

Outside of missions, there are the collectables and optional missions which were previously mentioned. Agility and Hidden orbs are scattered all across Pacific City for you to find. As well as the Renegade orbs, Online orbs make a debut. These can only be picked up if you’re playing co-op via Xbox Live. Rooftop and driving missions make a return and are basically the same as before. Get through the checkpoints and try for the best time. The Renegade orbs will give you a bit of trouble but nothing is too hard to clear or obtain. You’ll find yourself hunting for agility orbs and forgetting all about the main missions. Its one of the greatest time consuming events known to man. Or in my opinion anyway.

Crackdown 2 boasts a new and improved online system, with many modes to keep online players happy. The main campaign can now be played with up to 4 people, making the chaos that much more fun. The biggest addition is of course the PvP (player vs player) modes. These consist of Rocket Tag, Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch. Its your standard multiplayer shooter but with that Crackdown feel to it. You enter matches with maxed skills so you can get an early taste of what its like to play at maximum power. Its a great way to take a break from patrolling Pacific City and cause some mayhem.

My only complaint about Crackdown 2 would be that its too simular to the first game. While this isn’t a bad thing, its enough to put some people off buying. Its more of an upgrade than a sequal. The demo available on Xbox Live is enough to judge how different the game is so I do suggest you try it out if you’re having second thoughts about purchasing Crackdown 2. Overall I can safely say I am impressed with how the game has delivered. I was a but uneasy about the whole mutated creature theme going on but it works well. Very unexpected. Newcomers may feel a bit lost with Crackdown 2 but its everything we loved about the original, and more. A solid title and yet another contender for game of the year. Good job agent!

Final Score – 9/10

A very impressive update which is sure to please Crackdown fans. The lack of changes to gameplay makes the game feel a little too familiar but you’ll still have a good time. Online modes will keep you returning to the game for weeks.

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