Parent Talk: Crackdown 2 can be quite the looker, especially on an HDTV. It’s even better with 1080p compatibility. I continuously forget however to encourage an HDMI connection between your console and TV, as doing such really enhances the picture quality of the game. Audio-wise, Crackdown 2 supports Dolby Digital 5.1, making every environment sound alive with zombies, gunfire and mayhem. Isn’t that what you signed up for?
This game isn’t for the kids though. The ESRB rated C2 as Mature, meaning, 17 years old and up. If you know anything about Grand Theft Auto, you know what this game is all about. It’s a free-roaming sandbox shooter. There’s cussing, tons of violence and so much blood that the Red Cross only wishes humans would donate as much. Bottom line, this isn’t a game for anyone immature, and certainly not for minors.
Remember Realtime Worlds? They developed the original Crackdown, but split with Microsoft after some unpleasantness. Despite Crackdown being oodles of fun, a sequel seemed all but impossible. Fast forward three years, and well, we have Crackdown 2. Amazing how a successful release manages to garner a sequel, one way or another. This time, Ruffian is up to the development bat. For the most part, their efforts have succeeded, as fans of the previous games are sure to love C2. Unfortunately, all the new innovations are duds. The story is forgettable, and the end product doesn’t really outdo its predecessor much. If not for the four player co-op, C2 could be considered a complete copy-and-paste affair with lacklustre additions. Thankfully that is a mighty fine addition, and one that makes the game worthwhile.
Four player online co-op is the game’s best element. Four buddies can scatter about the massive C2 world and do as they please, partake in different races, missions, etc. Everything improves the minute you reconvene, however. Witnessing one player leap 25 feet in the air, as another is only able to jump 10 feet is hilarious. It looks like an in-air ballet between friends. It’s even better once the more powerful weapons are unlocked, because then the more insane achievements can be pursued…like juggling a car between four different players. If you enjoy non-stop, no-brains action with a group of friends, Crackdown 2 is for you. Simple as that.
+ Fast, smooth, and nice-looking too. Visually, Crackdown 2 is a minor step up from the original. Characters are less cel-shaded compared to the realistic environments. They still are, but it’s much less defined. Everything feels so much more alive. At night, zombie hordes emerge to cause trouble, which is always nice. There can be over 20 avatars on-screen simultaneously with no slowdown to worry about. There are practically no load times either. Even with the co-op, I didn’t experience any technical issues. The graphics aren’t flawless of course, but I consider it a Crackdown 2 strength.
+ Can’t…stop…..approaching…….the light! This happens often. It’s night time in this massive city, and as you’re soaring from one rooftop to another, you spot a green orb floating in the distance. It’s just looking at you, mocking! Like any good explorer, you jump off in pursuit. That may be literal in the case of two moving orbs. Some green orbs require a chase, while some purple ones necessitate a car race. Regardless of which you’re after, be warned that the collection is addictive. While playing online, our own Steven spent almost ten minutes trying to acquire one agility orb while I simply stood there fighting countless zombies. Classic!
+ It’s time to evolve! It was addicting to upgrade your Crackdown character. Agility orbs enhanced your jumping and running skills, completing race improved your driving, etc. That same system remains intact in this sequel. I guarantee; everyone who plays will pursue the agility orbs first before moving onto another power. That’s a testament to the allure of green obs in the moonlight!
+ Good ol’ fashioned fun. There’s something about enjoying co-op with three others that brings out the fun gamer in you. I’ve had a blast with it, though the core game is rather flawed. Videogames are about having fun, and that’s exactly what C2 promotes so long as you play properly.
– The story, or lack thereof. I love the narrator; I don’t care what anyone says. People say he’s annoying, but I love his voice and how he doesn’t take anyone’s crap. It’s awesome. But where in the blue blazes is the story? It’s pointless if he narrates well if there’s nothing to narrate. Sure you find voice capsules all over the city, but it’s impossible to stay focused when there’s no clear direction. This is especially true when playing alone. While enjoying multiplayer, you won’t give two hoots. Steven said it best, “What the heck am I supposed to do here?!”
– Boring missions! OK, maybe that’s a little harsh…..missions are REPETITIVE! There. There are five mission types altogether: car and rooftop races, car jump rings, gliding rings, and the “real” missions. Yes, they label what I just listed as actual missions. What I consider as such are the various breaches you have to close, satellite relays to activate and territory zones you need to clear out. Those three repeat until the entire city is completed. That’s far from what I would deem variety. (Thankfully the online co-op saves this too). Carrying these missions out with friends never grows old; it allows for strategic refinement, and depending on whom you play with, the shenanigans add to the experience.
– Kiss logic goodbye. It’s perfectly logical for civilians to gather in the dozens and trek the middle of the street during the day, right? This happens all the time in Pacific City, so it must be a natural occurrence. Because the civilians are brain-dead bots, driving around during the day is impossible, unless you don’t mind killing a dozen innocents. How about the logic of jumping 20 feet out of the water, and 20 feet while on dry land. I know this is a fantasy game, but…certain things make you think, “Huh?’
– Is this an aid or what? The lock-on is one of the worst I’ve ever used. Holding down the left trigger supposedly locks on to your closest adversary. Heh, heh…..heh. I’ve been surrounded by at least four enemies, only to witness my agent pull a 180 and aim at a car behind him. What?! More often than not, you aim at an explosive barrel, etc. Is this mechanic worth using when you’d be shot up plenty before it manages to actually work?
– Competitive online multiplayer. It’s boring, by today’s standards at least. The co-op is where it’s at. If you want to shoot each other, grab the flag, etc, then try the multiplayer, but otherwise you can do all of that and much more within the co-op.
Can I or can’t I? I asked that out loud…..a lot. Playing inFamous, I almost always knew where I could climb up a building. Here, I can’t tell. During one fight, I might be able to jump up windowsills, but then one building over, the SAME windows aren’t interactive. Again, WHAT?! Imagine this problem, now extend that to the entire city. Annoying, eh?
Crackdown 2 ultimately deserves our Rent It stamp, but it’s simply too fun. The key factor is to play O-N-L-I-N-E. Going solo highlights all the game’s weaknesses. Play with buddies, and you won’t stop for days. That’s been the case for me, because it’s fun! At the end of the day, I look at a game’s retail price and compare it to the time I clocked while playing it. In C2’s case, it’s a worthy investment IF and ONLY if you play it with friends online, and thus the game is a Buy It title without question. Otherwise, rent it and see if you can handle all the little frustrations while going solo.