Xbox 360 Review: Crackdown 2

Dare you return to Pacific City?

The original Crackdown was a brilliant game, despite the infinite collect-a-thon of agility orbs around the city; the game was enjoyable from start to finish, even picking up several awards from the likes of BAFTA. It got a mixed response as most people got it just to get the Halo 3 beta, but as a whole…it was impressive and it wasn’t long before we wanted a sequel. Then when RTW decided to focus on APB instead, it seemed like Crackdown 2 was dead in the water…but just when you least expected it, the sequel emerged from nowhere. Has the wait been worth it? Should you go back to Pacific City or leave it to die in the gutter?

The story of Crackdown 2 is paper thin and focuses on formidable new enemies called the Cell and the Freaks standing in the way of the Agency’s goal to restore order. I wouldn’t worry too much about it since the gameplay is the highlight of Crackdown 2; it’s just chaos in Pacific City with hoards of enemies trying to kill you. As with the first game there are agility orbs to collect which will increase your abilities like jumping insanely high, being able to pick up heavy objects and eventually even gliding.

Your shooting, driving and combat abilities improve during the course of the game as it did in the original. There aren’t any real story-type missions, instead you just need to keep on heading to certain points within the city and retake them from the Cell and Freaks. It might be lazy design or maybe they just wanted to let you do whatever you want in the city with friends. Either way it’s actually fairly decent, despite feeling strangely familiar in places.

As I mentioned, the agility orbs return but some of them can only be accessed in co-op, other ones run away from you and there are tons of them once more. For the completionists, it will take some considerable time to 100% Crackdown 2, even with 4-players working together. Multiplayer is a mixed bag, it has the typical Deathmatch modes that you would expect but I found the co-op to be 10 times better than that.

Visually, Crackdown 2 isn’t going to win any awards. Character models are passable, the explosions are ugly and the city doesn’t look nice, but on the plus side…there’s rarely any drop in framerate even with all the chaos going on. I guess the mediocre graphics are the price to pay for a game that runs this smoothly, but I guess it’s worth the price. Voice-acting is cheesy, but the sound effects and soundtrack are decent.

The Verdict

Crackdown 2 is one of those games that although enjoyable, was better the first time around. Despite that, it’s a good sequel and Ruffian deserves a pat on the back for creating the city in an incredibly short time. Given more time they might have been able to give it a bit of extra polish in the graphic department, but that aside…it’s action-packed and is great fun in co-op. Should you return to Pacific City? The answer is yes.