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Submitted by Chris Leyton on July 9 2010 - 13:12

Pacific City is once again at the mercy of The Agency, but it seems not a lot has changed...

RealTime Worlds’ Crackdown was something of a surprise hit back in 2007, although undoubtedly the fact that it came bundled with a beta token for Halo 3 went some way to explaining its success.  Three years later the sequel finally arrives courtesy of a new developer, Ruffian Games, and we’re guessing Microsoft must be hoping that the sequel can stand on its own merits and won’t be left regretting the fact it didn’t hold back the Halo: Reach beta for inclusion.

Immediately Crackdown 2 smacks of a sequel that lacks a little ambition.  Beyond a decrepit look to Pacific City, Crackdown 2 is a virtual carbon copy of the original both in terms of design and visual style - the only surprise seems to come from the fact that it’s taken 3 years to arrive.  Unsurprisingly, the actual game stays very close to the original blueprint, a curious amalgamation of action and jumping as you leap around Pacific City in search of Agility Orbs scattered around town while waging war against Cell militants by day and mutated Freaks at night.  The sheer action draws comparisons to the likes of Just Cause, but in truth, Crackdown 2 is quite its own take on the open world format.

Once you’ve realised that it’s largely the same game set in the same game world, the slight differences begin to emerge.  Whereas the original merely offered the task of eliminating gang members across Pacific City, Crackdown 2 finds the Agency at war with Cell militants and infested with mutated Freaks during the night.  In an attempt to wrestle control back from the Freaks, the Agency sets about to unleash Project Sunburst.  This is manifested by groups of Absorption Units dotted throughout Pacific City that must be activated, which in turn presents a Beacon that must be defended until its fully activated to harness the power of the sun to destroy the Freaks.  Rinse and repeat this nine times over to win the game with slight variety coming in the shape of races (on the road and along rooftops) to win and Cell Strongholds/Freak Lairs to destroy.

Like the original, repetition is a key component of the Crackdown experience.  Crackdown 2 is less of a trial of attrition than the original, but it’s still largely a case of doing the same thing over and over again without a plot to push you along.  Repetition is often a dirty word in video games, but like RealTime Worlds before them, Ruffian Games have taken the concept as a key component of the game.  The simple fact is that despite the sheer repetition, lack of narrative, or even the slight reward of cut-scenes, Crackdown 2 still manages to keep you playing.

The key comes from the development of the agent under your control.  Collecting Orbs and killing Cell members and Freaks alike upgrades the agents skills across Agility, Firearms, Strength, Explosives and Driving attributes.  It’s this constant sense of development and progress that manages to overcome the relentless repetition of Crackdown 2, and like the original, manages to create a surprisingly engaging and enjoyable experience.  Being able to jump further, run faster, and throw cars is all the reward that’s really needed; a sense that you’re becoming an increasingly powerful super hero that really comes into its own when you’ve upgraded the various abilities beyond level 3.  At its core, Crackdown 2 is a simple and pure video game experience that doesn’t need a plot or characters to propel the game along.  The simple fact is that jumping around Pacific City and blowing things up is a lot of fun.

One of the most exciting premises of the original was the inclusion of a two-player co-op mode, which was a novel feature for open-world titles of the time and certainly reinforced the notion of double the players, double the fun.  Crackdown 2 takes the natural step of upgrading this to four players.  It works well and has been neatly integrated into the overall experience.  From the start you’re asked about assistance, whether you want to go it alone or join up with up to three other players.  Co-op specific Orbs are dotted around Pacific City, which can only be earned with friends, while trivial tasks such as activating the Project Sunburst units is made speedier when there’s more players.  In addition the game also boasts all-new 16 player competitive modes, covering Team Deatchmatch and the slightly more engaging Rocket Tag.  We can’t imagine these will dent the supremacy of Modern Warfare 2 on Xbox Live, but they do at least provide a little extra replay value once the 12 hour campaign is over.

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  • Graphics: 75%
  • Sound: 73%
  • Gameplay: 84%
  • Originality: 65%
  • Longevity: 76%
Overall Score: 7/10
Using exactly the same format as the original, Crackdown 2 is still an entertaining prospect and manages to provide an experience that is ultimately purely about having fun. The problem stems from the lack of ambition. Either at the bequest of Microsoft or not, Ruffian Games has taken a fairly lazy approach to the sequel, which makes it a little difficult to justify.

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User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Sun 27th Feb 2011 18:48, Post No: 8



the physics and sandbox idea of GTA IV

the (REALISTIC) combat of Batman: Arkham Asylam

the character creation/ customization of Champions/ DC online

and the incredible style and story telling of Bioshock

- basically what the peak of what games like infamous and prototype tried to accomplish

User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Tue 01st Feb 2011 21:38, Post No: 7

i hope crackdown 3 returns to gangs as i loved the first game but the second game just felt like an add-on rather than a new game (freaks = crackdown 2 = carageddon with zombies, crackdown 1= the splatter pack for carmageddon, normal peds not zombies) just a shame realtime worlds went into liquidation, ABP could have been a mass hit on the consoles.

By: Umar Bajwa

Added:Tue 01st Feb 2011 20:38, Post No: 6

@game hunter so diving into the tunnels of the freaks and having a freak bigger than King Kong beat the machine which you have to defend, while in the meantime a sea of freaks try to rip you apart isn't a 'boss battle' in your opinion, and there was a much greater feeling of satisfaction when you watch the beacon blow the hell out of the tunnels then when you beat a basically tougher 'normal enemy' who just has 5 more lives. I hope Crackdown 3 really pushes the franchise forward and not just be another Crackdown 1 with more freaks, apparently Ruffian want to leave Pacific City :( but they said they still want freaks ;)

By: game hunter

Added:Fri 23rd Jul 2010 08:47, Post No: 5

It's a big shame that they've removed the boss battles from the first one and the sense of freedom to approach each gang how you want has been removed.

Its a little bit more "by the numbers" than the origianl one, relying on the multiplayer to entertain.

User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Fri 26th Feb 2010 18:50, Post No: 4

It was for Crackdown 2. I was there. The reason they thought otherwise was because the people there had worked on that game in the past.

User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Tue 02nd Jun 2009 11:55, Post No: 3

its got to be 8 player, at least so it can be fun only 4 player in a huge city youll be constantly miles behind anyone trying to kill them they also need to make the lvling system a lot harder to max the stats out on the first game i maxed all stats out in a few days it needs to be harder making the game last longer.

By: SegaBoy

Added:Mon 01st Jun 2009 20:59, Post No: 2

It's got to be at least 4 player this time...

User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Mon 01st Jun 2009 20:12, Post No: 1

Can't wait for the release of Crackdown 2, I loved the first game and I can't wait to see this. Never really played Left 4 Dead though...