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'Crackdown' sequel, one big yawn

July 23, 2010

By John Powell - G4 Canada

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Crackdown 2Pacific City. What a sludge pit. You thought Gotham City was bad. Right. Pacific City would make even the indomitable Dark Knight hang up his tights and shut down the bat signal for good.

After weeding out all the Pacific City gang leaders in the original 'Crackdown' and dispensing with their corpses in some very satisfying and creative ways that The Punisher himself would be proud of, it seems our fair metropolis has fallen from grace once again. Day or night, the city is in desperate need of our help. Zombie-like monsters or mutant Freaks come out at night and run amok destroying property and some people here and there. More bothersome than dangerous, one of the game's most fulfilling moments is driving through the city streets at night and ploughing through dozens of Freaks.

Splat! Splat! Splat!

Crackdown 2If that wasn't enough, a terrorist group has also sprung up in the place of all those gangs you wiped out. The frenzied Cell tote enough advanced weaponry to invade a small country never mind a small city like Pacific. In taking them on, prepare for battles in which you will scratch and claw for every victory, especially if their forces are bolstered with armoured Cell members carrying Gatling guns or rocket/grenade launchers.

Your armour is tissue paper. You will die.

Besides those two additions, some new locked vehicles-weapons, a better orb tracking system and four player co-op, 'Crackdown 2' doesn't look or feel much different than its predecessor. Although it is so good to be running and jumping around Pacific City again gathering orbs, completing tasks and improving your futuristic law enforcement officer, the same bothersome targeting and environmental issues still haven't been addressed. The glitches return worse than ever and it seems no real effort has been made on Ruffian Games' part to clean them up.

Crackdown 2With only a wisp of a storyline, there are two types of missions you will be assigned to complete, if you set aside the ability challenges, that is. You must reactivate beacons strewn across the city and take control of Cell strongholds. To do so, you must find the correct location, slaughter all resistance and stake your claim. To complete the beacon missions, you have to stand at an activation point to increase a meter, sorta like you would do when taking control of a command post in 'Star Wars: Battlefront' or sometimes you will have to defend it from attackers.

In the stronghold missions, to come out on top, you have to defeat all the Cell members hunkered down in a specific area and then call in reinforcements when you have laid them to waste. Finding those lingering Cell members hidden on rooftops or hiding out in doorways can be a chore sometimes since the radar system does not display height or depth. It is hard to know whether to go up, down or where to look around.

Crackdown 2You will also occasionally lose strongholds and have to reclaim them. Finding the beacon sites too (like locating the gang headquarters in the first installment) by gingerly leaping and jumping up buildings, gets exasperating, especially if you fall to the street and must start all over again. Not sure why this remains a major gameplay element when it could have been improved by just putting some thought into designing better locations.

'Crackdown' climbing sucks and sucks badly.

The kind of fun 'Crackdown 2' offers though never grows old or tired especially if you have a few buddies along for the ride. In 'Crackdown 2', there are special orbs that can only be retrieved by playing with up to four friends. What still cannot be overlooked is that Ruffian Games hasn't improved the gameplay and doesn't offer very much for us to be excited about. It is disheartening for the franchise not take that monumental leap forward due to hasty and ineffectual development.

With so much lost potential, 'Crackdown 2', one of the biggest disappointments of 2010, plays like an add-on, a frail and empty add-on we've waited three years for.


Transformers'Crackdown 2'
Format: Xbox 360
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Developer: Ruffian Games
ESRB Rating: M For Mature
Official Site:

Rating: 4 / 10


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