Crackdown 2 Review
We like to think that games have changed significantly since their inception (this word brought to you by Warner Bros. Pictures) decades ago, but maybe they haven’t changed as much as we thought. Crackdown, being as formless and generally storyless as it was, had a structure that was more like an old arcade game than anything current, and the inclusion of “freaks” — mindless, mutated humans — in Crackdown 2 makes that comparison all the more apt this time around.
Crackdown 2 (XBox 360 [Reviewed])
Developer: Ruffian Games
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Released: July 06, 2010
Fighting against only human enemies that all shoot back in the first game, and the various ways you could take them on — like taking out a gang’s recruiter so you’d have fewer enemies to fight later — at least gave the impression that you were playing a modern game. Crackdown 2 has no such dynamic, and so it becomes Galaga with shiny current-generation graphics, and the change surprisingly makes the game feel more like its own thing than just a rehash of the first game.
The arcade-adaptation style of the game is not a bad thing. While, yes, the entirety of the game is shoot, shoot, shoot mindless enemies that ether stand in place while shooting — the humans — or rush headlong at you — the freaks — along with street racing and other activities, and it feels like one long grinding session are you hunt for orbs and level up your other skills, it’s undeniably addictive and fun while you’re playing, particularly once you get a hold of weapons like the UV shotgun, which can take out groups of freaks with a single blast, and the flocket launcher, which shootings rockets that home in on whatever you’re aiming at. Whether or not you ever feel the compulsion to go back after a day of not playing is dependent on your personality, however.
The point of this game is to kill all the bad guys. That’s it, really. There is an overarching story, but it’s not really important beyond it requiring that a really annoying person yell at you constantly. You just go to a place and kill a bunch of terrorists or freaks, and then you go to another place and activate a thing, and then you go to another place an defend a thing while freaks attack, and then repeat. These battles get more and more frantic as you progress, and it can be quite thrilling, even if some of the later battles are actually impossible (from my perspective) when played alone on any but the lowest difficulty setting.
There are specific things that annoy me about the game as well. That guy yelling in my ear made me want to quit playing on numerous occasions; he berates you about everything, from walking anywhere near a driving orb to touching a co-op orb when you’re not in co-op (even though some of these orbs are directly in your path) to failing to defend that thing you defend. And when I have to feel around a corner from the enemy stronghold I’m attacking to heal he yells some more. And for some reason the developers felt the need to have him offer up reminders of other stuff you can do in the game when he doesn’t have a story reason to talk, which is awkward because that means every time you just tool around hunting for agility orbs, he’ll remind you to hunt for agility orbs.
And though it seems like auto-aim always gets some bitching, I’m gong to do it again. Not because it doesn’t always aim at what I want it to, though; here the problem is that it constantly locks onto cars, even though you won’t have much reason to shoot at cars since the bad guys pull over and get out every single time they see you roaming around.
Co-op, which is now up to four players rather than two, certainly enhances the experience, and competitive multiplayer is a decent diversion (granted, I had little chance to play online as few others were playing before release). And that sums up the game nicely. It’s a decent diversion, just like Galaga is today. It works, and its fun, but after you tear through it in a week/15 hours of playing time, you’ll move on and not think about it any more. That’s how I feel now that I’ve finished playing it for review, and it’s unlikely that I’ll revisit it.
Given that, I question whether its wise to lay down $60 for this game, although it’s likely the best option for now considering the next six weeks are pretty barren in regards to new games, and Crackdown 2 will certainly help you pass the time.
- It’s a lot of fun
- Keeps it simple
- Feels like an old arcade game in current-generation clothing
- It’s pretty
- Great freaking weapons
- Shut the hell up, voice in my ear
- Jeez, stop aiming at cars!
- Generally forgettable