Crackdown 2

Review

posted 7/5/2010 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: 360
On paper it sounds a lot more complicated than the first game (where all you had to do was kill a bunch of low-level mob bosses), but these new objectives end up feeling surprisingly similar.  Much like the first game, the biggest problem is that there isn't much variation between these different events.  As the game progresses they'll throw new enemies at you and make you play in increasingly complicated locations, but these missions always play out exactly the same way.  What it does is turn Crackdown 2 into a repetitive mess, which immediately takes me back to all of my complaints about the first game.

It's not just the main "story" missions that are repetitive; the whole game seems to subscribe to this way of thinking.  One of the first things you'll need to do is take back the city streets, which involves you killing dozens of armed Cell soldiers.  All you have to do here is kill enough bad guys and then move on, making this nothing more than a huge endurance challenge.  These events will get harder as you play through the game, but the mission structure remains the same from start to finish.  By the time you've taken back the 27th street, you will wonder why the developers didn't shake up the pattern a little.


The repetition is only compounded by the fact that you're doing all this in the exact same city as the first game.  Outside of a few structural changes, very little has changed in the past ten years.  Don't get me wrong, visually this looks like a bombed out warzone.  But at the same time, once you start leaping from building to building you'll have a sense that you've done all this before.  Sadly, you HAVE done all this before.  From the orb placements to the extra race missions, it all feels like it was copied directly from the first game.  Even with all of the fire and rubble, I never once felt like Crackdown 2 had anything unique to say.

The troubling sense of deja vu haunted me from beginning to end.  I openly questioned why I was being asked to collect the hundreds of glowing orbs scattered around the city, especially since they are largely in the same locations as the first game.  I remember doing this the first time around, and it wasn't exactly the highlight of 2007.  Perhaps I would be more willing to perform this trivial task if we were in an exciting new city, but sadly that is not the case in Crackdown 2.


And then there's the announcer, who never shuts up.  I know teenage girls who talk less than this guy.  This is the kind of guy who starts talking and never quits, no matter what you're doing.  He wins you over early on by offering helpful advice and guiding you back onto the mean streets of Pacific City.  But then he keeps going.  When you miss a jump, he comments on it.  When you're in the middle of a firefight, he suggests you try harder.  When you get an achievement, he's there congratulating you.  And this is not just for the story-based achievements; he has something to say every time you unlock anything.  It doesn't matter how insignificant it is, he has something to say about it.
 
Beyond complaining about a completely optional announcer, Crackdown 2 has a few real serious technical problems.  For one thing, the game is plagued with rampant slowdowns.  Because so much of this game relies on the engine pushing hundreds of zombie monsters on screen at once, I found that when the action started to heat up the game's frame rate would slow way down.   This was especially pronounced in some of the underground skirmishes, where the game would slow down to a crawl.
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