So, Crackdown 2. I was pretty excited to play the demo when it was released, just so I could get a taster before my already pre-ordered copy arrived. And… oh dear.
The demo left a pretty negative impact on me. It wasn’t… BAD, by any means… hell, it looked and felt a lot more polished than the original… and it played pretty similarly… but there was something missing, something I couldn’t put my finger on. I don’t know… it felt more serious, less fun… and it didn’t help that I didn’t have a CLUE what I was doing. It just THREW you into the game without an explanation of what was going on, which kinda left our four-player team a bit… confused.
After playing the demo, it made me think twice about my pre-order. I was thinking about cancelling it… but I didn’t. I thought I’d wait for it to arrive so I could give it a proper chance.
And it arrived a couple days ago. I started playing it as soon as I got the chance, and I was glad to see that the intro cutscene and tutorial explained EVERYTHING I didn’t understand. The story is a bit ridiculous (not like I really care, because THIS… IS… CRACKDOWN!! *kicks a gang member 200 feet into the sea*), but it makes sense, at least. Well… I haven’t COMPLETED it yet, but it makes sense so far – virus appears that turns people into Freaks, the Agency comes up with the Sunburst Defence System to clear out the freaks, then a gang of some sort appears to stop the Agency from putting their plans into action. That’s the basic gist of it, and it all sounds fine to me. Still no proper explanation about the ending of the original, however.
But… that same weird feeling I had in the demo kept me from enjoying the game to it’s fullest, though. Questions like "where’s the fun?" and "where’s the action gone?" kept appearing in my mind. "This doesn’t feel as engaging as Crackdown 1, does it?" "Isn’t this just the same as the original, just with fewer gangs and a bunch of weaklings that only appear at night?" Technically… it is.
Over time, though, the game slowly started to get into its stride. Tactical Locations and Beacons get more difficult, there are a massive amount of enemies, and there is a real challenge to it. And, as it’s free roam, you don’t HAVE to complete the objectives. Do a road race, do a rooftop race, go orb hunting, try to catch some of the Renegade orbs, try some vehicle stunts, get your skills up… and if you’re with another player, mess around with cars/explosives, or pwn a load of gang members!
Then… I realised. I was CONSTANTLY comparing it to Crackdown 1 when I first started. To really enjoy Crackdown 2… you have to FORGET about the original. Just forget it existed. The original was a great game, and sure, the sequel is very similar to the original. There are a few things missing, such as the gang bosses, but… honestly, I don’t care. If there were gang bosses like in the original, I’d find it REALLY boring. You NEED to change things in a sequel, and I think that the Tactical Locations and the Beacons, although pretty simple, aren’t BAD, and give a pretty good challenge… assuming you’re not a pussy and put it on a difficulty higher than Tough.
People have criticised this game for being too much like the original – same city, same Agency, same gameplay, etc. But what’s wrong with more of a good thing?! Call it what you will – Crackdown 1.5, Crackdown 2… whatever, it’s still as much of a riot as the original… hell, I think it’s MORE fun! And the co-op is still as fun and as crazy as ever, even with only TWO players. Throwing a satchel charge at an enemy vehicle and taking out about ten people in a HUGE explosion, while your teammate jumps through it and shoots another couple of people in mid-air? AWESOME.
And my new favourite weapon of all time? The UV SHOTGUN.
*after activating an Absorption Unit on top of an oil rig*
Me: Hey, Ped, d’ya know what’s funny?
*Mongz fires a UV shotgun blast at Ped*
*Ped flies off the oil rig and into the water*
I’ve been entertained, and had just as much fun as I have done in the original. I’ve laughed just as much playing this game co-op as I have done playing
the original co-op. And really… isn’t that what playing a game is all about?
Ignore those stupid critic reviews – this game is under-rated, and I bet they never even played it for more than an hour or so. Give Crackdown 2 a try, and give it a chance to get going. And if you were a fan of the original, you HAVE to get it. It’s a blast.