by Chris Scott
reviewed on X360
There are two other “story” related mission types and they equate to territory grabs where you will fight a strong enemy force of either Freaks or Cell depending upon which mission type it is. These missions though are completely optional and ultimately have no impact on the overall progression of the game, except to make it slightly easier to maneuver around the city. The game also has a handful of tertiary missions that can be attempted including the classic rooftop agility races. They are a nice diversion and can all offer some amount of fun but while Ruffian may have thought they were adding more substance to the game, they confused added fluff with something actually worth playing.
In addition to the repetitive missions the game also suffers from some technical design choices that were present in the original game and were questionable at that point in time but overlooked. Today though these choices cannot be passed by, it is just poor design. The snap targeting, which was designed to allow players to quickly target the next enemy in their vicinity, often times will target enemies (or worse vehicles or barrels) that post no threat to the agent, all while leaving rocket wielding Cell operatives standing directly next to you sucking your life away. The platforming, while still fun and amazing precise, is hampered by the questionable geometry that can make climbing structures frustrating. And the driving is still a worthless choice of transportation as the cars handle extremely loosely and running, jumping and swimming generally gets you to your destination faster.
Halo on accelerant
Crackdown 2 does bring some new stuff to the table though. In addition to the 500 agility orbs and 300 hidden orbs scattered throughout the city, new renegade orbs and online orbs have been added to the collecting mix. Renegade orbs are orbs that “run” away from you and need to be caught and they come in two varieties, agility and driving. Online orbs on the other hand require at least two players to collect giving something to players who decide to give the messy co-op a shot.
Co-op ups the number of players from two in the original game to four but much like the original game, there is little reason to play co-op other than to have some buddies help you through the tedious missions. Campaign progression only sticks to the host player so progressing your own game is a no go and as such the co-op gameplay ultimately boils down to a virtual playground where you and your friends can jump around hunting orbs together. Sure it is fun for a short while but even dropping grenades at the feet of your buddy and watching him blow off the roof of a building to his death gets dull after a while.
The game also suffers from the unnecessary competitive multiplayer disease that many games recently have been sprouting. There are three modes of competitive multiplayer: Rocket Tag, Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch. All of which play like Halo 3 on some sort of accelerant but with poor level design, horrible unbalancing and terrible combat mechanics. The competitive multiplayer is a novelty item that feels like it was tacked on.
All of these problems are compounded by the fact that the game doesn’t look particularly good for a 2010 game. It looks better than the original, features a greater draw distance and an art style that began to grown on me throughout my time with the game but it does not hold a candle to any of the other big releases of this year. In fact that seems to be the biggest problem: Crackdown 2 feels like a game that should have been released a year after the original, not three years after.
More of the same
Despite its problems though, Crackdown 2 does offer some fun to be had. It is still fun to play in the sandbox that Pacific City is but suggesting it over older games like Infamous, Just Cause 2, Prototype or even the original Crackdown is something that just shouldn’t be done as those games offer the same (Crackdown) or more (all the rest of them) than Ruffian’s title does. Ruffian took a game with a great premise but poor execution and delivered a game that still held great potential but once again failed to execute and this time there are no excuses.
Still a fun sandbox to mess around in.
Crackdown 2 feels dated and not in a nostalgic way.