July 8, 2010

861 words 5 mins read

Review: Crackdown 2

Crackdown 2 came out earlier this week. I was slightly surprised when I got the shipping notification, because I thought it came out in September. When I broached this topic with Jon he informed me that I was thinking of Halo Reach.

After playing the demo (back when I thought it came out in September), I considered canceling my pre-order. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy the demo (I certainly did), but it didn’t seem like it was worth paying the $60 Day 1 price. That was back then. This is now. I’m still not sure if it is worth $60, but it is a ton of fun. Oh and Amazon had a pre-order bonus that I had long since forgotten about until they emailed me: codes for 4 more sets of armor (“Xbox Agent” — Green, Gold, Black, and Gunmetal — which looks almost identical to the light grey suit).

The game starts out with an amusing video detailing what’s been happening in the last 10 years (the time that elapsed between

the first game and this one). Basically, “freaks” have overrun the city and The Agency is only now getting the the Agent Program back up and running (the cloning facilities were destroyed during the intervening 10 years). You start out on Agency Island and they have you run through a training program to acclimate yourself with the basic controls, and then they have you hop into an Agency Cruiser (the most basic vehicle) and they lift you out of there via helicopter and give you an amazing flyby of Hope Springs, the starting area/island (which you were able to explore in the demo).

You get dropped off in the same place that you started in the demo, right outside a Cell stronghold. You need to capture this location and one nearby and that gives you your first resupply point. Veterans of Crackdown will recall that you need to bring collected weapons and vehicles to the resupply points in order to store them. Crackdown 2 has made the storing of vehicles much easier, as all the resupply points are on the ground (this is likely due to the resupply points offering vehicle drops as well as weapon drops). As was the case in the first game, your enemies (more on them in a second), at least the human ones, have the best weapons in the game. Right after I got to a sufficient Firearm Skill level to equip the Agency Machine Gun, I found an enemy Machine Gun that was much better, which of course has no level requirement, so when Jon gets started I will be able to hook him up with that weapon right away.

Enemies are everywhere! In the previous game you were dealing with a gang war, however this time you have only 2 enemies: Cell (human group that dislikes the Agency) and “Freaks”. “Freaks” are the enemy of everyone and will attack anyone who isn’t a freak. They come in various sizes and colors and I recently ran into some that are absolutely massive (forget the bullets, you need explosives for these guys), though on the plus side they only seem to appear while attempting to detonate beacons. Cell also comes in various sizes and colors, from the guys packing beginner assault rifles and shotguns (both of which are better than your starter gear, so store them immediately) to armored (actual armor, as in they look like they have steel belted to them) guys carrying turreted weapons. Bullets aren’t really a problem for your Agent; explosives are though. As you progress through the game, more and more Cell warriors are carrying explosive weaponry — rocket launchers, grenade launchers, flocket launchers (I don’t know what a flocket is, but they are launched explosively), and homing launchers (which is like the firefly in the first game).

The Agility and Hidden orbs are back, but they aren’t alone. New this time are the following:

  • LIVE Orbs — Orbs that you can only get if you are playing Co-Op and have someone nearby.
  • Renegade Agility Orbs — Orbs that run away from you. Difficult to catch, and some require higher levels of Agility to even attempt, fortunately the game tells you when this is the case.
  • Renegade Driving Orbs — Orbs that run away from you, but you can only catch in a vehicle. If you are like me, Driving is the skill you neglect, so this would be a good way to get it built up.
  • Audio Logs — Backstory information. There are 5 different kinds of Audio Logs:
  1. PCNN — Following news reporter Chris Stroker as he details the fall of Pacific City
  2. Freak — Following the reports of someone studying the freaks, provides intel on the danger level of the various creatures
  3. Surveillance
  4. Catalina Thorne — Head of Cell; so far seem to be gloating
  5. Whistleblower — Someone feeding info to Catalina Thorne

All in all, this is a very fun game and I highly recommend it. If you find the price of admission a bit high, head over to a redbox and rent it for a day or two, it is definitely worth it.