If I could sum up Crackdown with one phrase, it would be “KILL THESE GUYS, THEN SOME OTHER GUYS TEN MORE TIMES, AGENT!” Sadly, while it was a cool looking game, the mission structure was pretty repetitive, and simply required you to raid crime boss base after base, killing similar looking models for about ten hours on end. But while repetition was the name of the game, there was some solace to be found: the ability to essentially jump forty feet in the air, and climb giant skyscrapers in ways never before possible in any sandbox game on the market.
Is Crackdown 2 the same old jump-fest? Take a journey with us as we examine the new Xbox Live thirty-minute “do whatever you want” Crackdown 2 demo.
Yep, it’s Crackdown all right
You can still jump high, still throw cars, and Michael McConnohie’s voice is still as soothing as sin. After booting up the demo, I was pleased to see that the controls are essentially identical, and the weapon-set was comparable to the first game (which may be a bad thing, depending on who you ask). The only unique weapon I noticed was a UV pulse gun that was great against zombies, but had a limited effect on humans (think Blade 2).
The “grab and jump” mechanic from the first game is still there, and as fun as ever. It seems like there is more of a “jungle gym” feel to the game – like the creators knew how fun it was to leap about, and made more connecting terrain for higher level agility agents. Either way, you can’t resist the urge to get to the highest point of any given building or structure – it’s extremely addictive!
The addition of zombies makes the game less fun
You got Prototype in my Crackdown! For whatever reason, Microsoft Game Studios has decided that zombies make everything better: except the secret is they really don’t. Part of the fun of Crackdown was just going about your own thing on occasion, and just messing around in a relatively zen-like fashion. But at night, Crackdown 2 features “freaks”: zombie-like creatures that often take up entire roadways in packs.
It’s impossible to drive anywhere without mowing down a heap of these monsters, and while it may seem like fun at first, it quickly gets old. Hopefully after deploying all the “Project Sunburst” beacons (freak killer satellites), the freaks will be gone forever, and you can earn your right to roam about the countryside in peace.
The mission types still seem repetitive
The included missions are pretty stale: there is a power up the beacons/protect the beacons to kill the freaks style, your typical racing/orb hunts, and “destroy the stronghold” mission types.
The only addition that really felt new in the demo was the “catch the orb” mini-mission, which is essentially a different looking race, because in the end, you still have to follow a preset path in order to catch up to the orb.
Your character looks cooler, which is always a plus
There’s nothing wrong with looking amazingly cool – call me shallow, but it actually helps me get some more enjoyment out of the game, if anything. Delightfully, Crackdown 2 would easily win a fashion contest against its predecessor.
Almost immediately after donning a storm trooper looking costume, I was awarded a very sleek looking helmet – something only a few characters had in the original. Crackdown 2 is really bringing the style meter to eleven.
Truth be told, the demo itself may be enough for you if you’re just itching for a sandbox fix. I was able to get level three in all categories with ten minutes of gameplay left – which is a pretty hefty mix of agility and firepower, and more than enough to have a good time. If you enjoyed the original Crackdown, odds are you’re going to want to pick this one up.
If not, try to get your hands on the demo and keep it on your HDD – it may be all you need (the demo is four player online coop compatible, FYI!). If nothing else, you earn “pre-release achievements” that are worth 100 GS, and are unlocked when you play some form of the retail version.