" Crackdown 2 may be the video game equivalent of a direct-to-dvd sequel: a game the developers threw together pretty much exclusively to cash in on the prestige of their first release. "
Title: Crackdown 2 by Microsoft
Format: Xbox 360 Open-World Sandbox Shooter
Reviewing Monkey: Dungapult
Those who bought 2007's Crackdown for more than
just the Halo 3 Beta found a game that was fun but notably flawed. In it players
took the role of a generic super-soldier-like corporate cop called an agent.
As an agent they battled a rebellious band of anarchist by roaming around a
large sand-box city that was filled, in roughly equal parts, with attribute-improving
power-ups and somewhat generic bad guys. The game was heralded as an unusual
merger of a goodie-grabbing platformer and a third-person run-and-gun. Think
Super Mario meets Grand Theft Auto. It was good in a lot of entertaining and
mindless ways, but also deeply glitchy and needlessly and unintentionally difficult.
So what has this 2010 sequel brought us? An almost exact duplicate that is also fun, but still notably flawed.
In fact, the game is so much a repeat of its predecessor that the office consensus is that it should've been a mid-price DLC rather than a full-price retail release. The graphics, though somewhat improved, are basically the same. As are the story, gameplay, weapons, and most of the adversaries. In fact, even the map is identical--having only superficial graphical changes to indicate the passage of the ten years of in-game time.
It still puts you in the role of a, literally, personalityless cloned agent as you mindlessly run around the city having random encounters while on your way to accomplishing repetitive assault objectives. Your motivation for this--in fact, your only motivation to do anything in this essentially storyless game--is to get kills and collect tokens that all work to level you up. "Skills for Kills," in fact, is the quote the game repeatedly throws at you. By leveling you unlock new weapons, new abilities, and new bad guys to fight...which, of course, all work to let you level up more.
So, it's a treadmill grinder in the truest definition of the term.
But that does not, in fact, mean it's bad. It's not. Though slow and ponderously unremarkable in the first few hours of play, the game becomes downright fun by the time your agent is able to leap from skyscraper to skyscraper while aggressively racking up six-digit body counts with indiscriminant fire from your dual heavy weapons.
What's not fun is the difficult to control targeting, the crappy camera, the inadequate collision detection system, the glitchy free-running feature, and the purely skill-less combat. Instead all of those issues, along with the very dated graphics and mimic-like relationship with its predecessor, work to indicate that Crackdown 2 may be the video game equivalent of a direct-to-dvd sequel: a game the developers threw together pretty much exclusively to cash in on the prestige of their first release. Not only did they add very little that's actually new, they didn't even bother to fix most of the glaring issues with the original.
While providing a couple of hours of mindless fun it does not do anything to try and earn more than a very, very temporary spot on your game shelf. I'd wait until you see it heavily discounted in a bargain bin somewhere...which I doubt will be a very long wait.