Having superpowers to fight crime must be the wet dream of any law enforcer. In reality, unfortunately, this isn’t possible but luckily Realtime Worlds back in 2007 released Crackdown. In this game you were a super cop who could use all means to fight crime. We’re now 2010 and Ruffian Games got to make a sequel to this succesful title.
Crackdown 2 is set ten years after its predecessor. The city to fight crime in is still the same: Pacific City. In those ten years, a couple of things have gone quite wrong resulting in the city being a “bit” destroyed. The two enemies responsible for this are the zombies and a terrorist group called Cell.
The zombies are inhabitants of Pacific City who got mutated after the breakout of a virus. These “freaks” wander around breanlessly during the night will remaining in hiding in sewers during the day. Cell is just the opposite: you’ll fight them during the day and they’re a lot smarter. The reason they’re your enemies is because they blame the Agency for all problems in Pacific City, including the breakout of the virus. The group is lead by Catalina Thorne, a former Agency scientist who wants to get back at her former employer.
A problem you quickly encounter – just like with its predecessor – is repetition of gameplay. While the first Crackdown had the simple mission of destroying three gangs, here you get the same but with two groups. There’s no real variation and you constantly get assignments to exterminate zombies or sabotage certain Cell structures. The difficulty does increase but because you become so strong as agent you just barge through missions as if they were a cardboard wall.
The missions against zombies for instance. At the start you have to be careful because you’re not strong enough. After a couple of hours, however, you’ll just walk up to them and mow them away with one weapon or ability without any problem. The zombies come in bigger groups, but their strength remains the same so in the end they become hardly a threat. The same can be said of the human opponents from Cell. I can imagine the devs wanting you to have the feeling of being a supercop, but doesn’t there need to be something of a challenge?
Lukcily the collecting of the famous orbs does provide some of that. These orbs now come in a couple of variations. There’s the standard version which you can grab on their location, a mobile kind which needs to be chased, and even an Xbox Live version which can only be collected when other players are near. Next to that you can also collect various audio logs, each with a different voice and story. These bring more depth to the world, something that you don’t get through the main storyline.
This sequel also has multiplayer. Instead of two-player co-op you now can get busy with up to four. Fun is the fact that you can easily invite friends to join your character while playing without having to start all over again. If you’re not into co-op then you can still check out some typical modes like deathmatch, tag with rockets, etc… with up to fifteen other players.
Graphically the game remains faithful to the first part. The same 3D engine is used but polished. The cel-shaded graphics are sharper and darker which adds more atmosphere. The main character looks completely different and he now has full gear including a helmet which makes him look a lot tougher. On the other side, however, this is a bit sad as there’s less adjusting that can be done to the body but the gear does make up a bit for that.
The sound effects and voices are quite good. The explosions sound clear, the music perfectly fits certain scenes and best of all is that the voice of Agency is still present. It’s more bitter due to the circumstances though, but fun remarks when you’ve unlocked an achievement remain.
Crackdown 2 cannot be seen as a true sequel as it isn’t innovative enough for that. There’s plenty of improvements over the original to the multiplayer but that makes it look like Ruffian didn’t really pay enough attention to the singleplayer. As such this isn’t a completely bad thing, but is this what we had to wait three years for?