Crackdown 2 Review
Crackdown 2 box art
System: X360 Review Rating Legend
Dev: Ruffian Games 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Microsoft Game Studios 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: July 6, 2010 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 - (2+ Online) 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Mature 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Familiar Territory
by Adam Brown

The first Crackdown was an entertaining open-world game that mixed the elements commonly attributed to this genre of games with superhuman powers and the ability to level up one’s own skills. While the game was great, I believe it had a hard time not getting overshadowed by the main reason so many people bought the game. Of course, I’m speaking of the Halo 3 beta access that came on every copy of the title. It’s a real shame that so many people probably picked up Crackdown for little more than access to that beta because the game itself was quite good and certainly deserving of a sequel. Thankfully, Crackdown 2 is finally here and completely free of any type of beta shenanigans to distract players from the real game.

Crackdown 2 screenshot

Players are once again taking on the role of an Agent, a genetically enhanced super cop, who is tasked with cleaning up Pacific City for the Agency. However, this time around, crime is the least of your worries since there has been an outbreak of what the game calls the Freaks. Freaks are essentially ghoulish looking mutants who come out at night and wreak havoc on the city and all of its inhabitants. While most of these Freaks are clearly no match for your Agent in a one-on-one situation, they rarely come alone. Going down most streets after the sun sets can be pretty risky, as you’ll be swarmed by every nearly Freak aware of your presence, unless you’re in a vehicle and splattering them into a fine green mist.

To help cleanse the city of this plague, the player must complete Project Sunburst. This project entails activating a series of absorption units around the city and delivering beacons to several strategic underground Freak areas. After activating a beacon’s necessary absorption units, you’ll need to head underground and protect the delivered beacon long enough for it to charge and detonate. This is easier said than done, as droves of Freaks will continue to crawl out of the woodwork and attack you and the beacon from every angle. These portions of the game can feel overwhelming at times, but successful detonations feel rather rewarding, as the resulting blinding light evaporates any and all of the Freaks that remain.

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Aside from the Freaks, Pacific City has also become infested by a terrorist faction known as Cell. Cell has set up strongholds all over the city and you’ll need to take over each in order to regain Agency control. These consist of finding Cell’s tactical locations and then wiping out enough of their members in order to safely call in Agency support. These function somewhat similarly to the beacon detonation segments except that the only thing you’re tasked with protecting is yourself. While this does make these portions somewhat easier, Cell members access to heavy and explosive weaponry helps provide a good amount of challenge, especially later in the game.

Crackdown 2 screenshot

Besides this game’s focus on taking over Cell locations and detonating beacons, this game is similar to the original Crackdown in many ways. Players will once again be able to upgrade several aspects of their Agent by performing certain tasks or by picking up orbs. Killing enemies with your fists, guns, grenades, or car will give you experience in strength, firearms, explosives, or driving skills respectively. However, hidden orbs can also be found throughout Pacific City that will give experience bonuses to all of your skills at once.

Agility orbs once again litter Pacific City’s skyline, seemingly calling players to climb, explore, and jump about every inch of terrain. Of course, with five hundred to find, this task will take even a skilled player quite a bit of time to fully complete. This time around you’ve also got a host of both rogue agility and driving orbs that are much tougher to get your hands on. Whenever you get close to one of these rogue orbs, they will attempt to run away. Whereas the rogue driving orbs will stick to a fairly straightforward pattern, making them easier to catch, the agility orbs are very good at changing up their patterns and adapting to your strategies. I’ll admit that going into the game, I thought these orbs sounded gimmicky and annoying but I’ve since come to appreciate the challenge that goes into collecting them. While collecting the multitude of various orbs was an incredibly fun part of this game for me, it was also when I fully realized that I felt like I had done this all before.

Crackdown 2 screenshot

Screenshots / Images
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