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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.

  1. I bought the first one from the bargain bin, played ten minutes and shelved. Might try the demo if I’m bored one day.

  2. I didn’t play the first, but tried the demo to the second. Seemed a little repetitive to me as well. In 30 minutes I learned that I will not be buying Crackdown 2 since I like substance to my game.

  3. I loved the first Crackdown mostly because I was playing through the whole thing with a buddy. The mindless destruction and over the top gameplay is nice every once in awhile, should be even more fun with 4 player co-op. Good preview though, I’ll have to try the demo later tonight.

  4. I was kind of excited for this, but then I tried the demo. I’d rather play Dragonball Origins 2.

  5. The demo actually ended up reassuring me. I was a little worried after playing it at PAX, as the team deathmatch multiplayer just didn’t appeal to me. But I’ve already played through the demo twice, and the improvements that are there make me certain again that I’ll be playing the living nuts off of this, especially when I get a good group of people to play regularly with me.

    • I just figured out why I am mesmerized by Crackdown 1 and 2 – it is essentially a grindy JRPG in Action form (I love grinding, by the way).

      Unlike GTA, which makes packages and other such add-ons optional, Microsoft Game Studios makes orbs (orbs that must be found by running around jumping, essentially grinding) directly related to Experience Points.

    • Good point, and mix that with the idea of collectibles, which is essentially a treasure hunt for thousands of different treasures, yeah, it’s definitely a recipe for addiction. The best part is that in games like Crackdown, it’s mixed with the ability to do absolutely ridiculous stuff at the same time.

  6. I’ve played through the demo three times. This is a rental to me – which I don’t think is a mark against any game – but games like Crackdown 2 speak volumes to me about the need for differentiated price points for games.

    I’d pay $39.99 for this, but not $59.99. The only reason I bought Crackdown was for the Halo 3 beta key, but had some fun with the game afterward. It wasn’t $60 worth of fun, however, and Crackdown 2 is pretty much the same thing as the first game in terms of how it feels.

    • avatar Bruna

      make sure you get the $page var by adding $page = $_REQUEST['page']; to the top of your sprcit.I really need to update the sprcit/demo.If that doesn’t work, try echoing the SQL query being made and running that through phpMyAdmin or something to see if there are errors. I’m guessing the SQL query is not being put together correctly.

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