Back in 2007, gamers were introduced to Crackdown, a third-person action title jam-packed to the brim with outrageous action, challenging boss battles and a large sandbox world to explore. It is arguably one of the most underrated games of this generation, particularly between gamers. While the game received modest reviews, it didn't burst onto the scene like Modern Warfare 2 or Bad Company, instead slowly developing a passionate cult following that would eventually become the catalyst for its sequel, Crackdown 2. While a different developer in Ruffian Games is helming the second game, it seems to still maintain the core gameplay mechanics as its predecessor, while also going that little bit further to offer an even wilder and more explosive experience.
Crackdown 2 takes place in Pacific City, a town that has become infected with urban-gang warfare. You'll once again aim to take down all of the gang leaders based across the city, using your unique abilities to get through hoards of enemies. The city will also be infected with mutants that have escaped from the research facility featured in the first game.
The worst kind of road rage
Crackdown 2 is quite obviously modeled off the first game, with third-person shooter gameplay incorporated once again. You'll play as a super-human law enforcer known as an "Agent" and employed by the city-funded "Agency". Unlike the first game, Crackdown 2 has an extensive range of character customization options. Orbs return from the first game, although the powers associated with them have been enhanced quite considerably. The Agility Skill, for example, allows your character to jump considerably higher than in the first game. Each skill will also have an associated maneuver, adding a considerable amount of worth to each one.
The orbs form a very important part of the core gameplay experience. Many are easily accessible, while others are almost impossible to reach. Online orbs have been included this time round, giving you an opportunity to search the city with a group of friends, which should be great fun. The difficulty level has been upped quite considerably, with some orbs even moving away from you as you approach them, meaning you'll need to be at a certain skill level to reach them.
Thankfully, co-op gameplay returns for this sequel, with support for up to four players. Competitive multiplayer will pit you against fifteen of your mates in a component very similar to the first game. The original Crackdown supportered System Link, although Crackdown 2 will unfortunately not feature this option.
Campbell Brown and his sniper Hawthorn teammates
A great dynamic day and night cycle has been implemented. During the day, you should expect to take on urban gangs as you fight to get the city back from the hands of organised crime. Stay out after sunset and you'll see the mutants come out from their hiding places. Some areas of the city are more populated with mutants than others, which acts as a subtle difficulty setting. Considering the entire city is open to explore right from the get-go, some parts are more violent than others, meaning you should only venture into them later on in the game.
If you enjoyed Crackdown, chances are you're going to have an absolute blast with Crackdown 2. While it still doesn't hold up graphically to other sandbox titles currently on the market, it offers a memorable gameplay experience that is quite unique. The development team has taken everything we love about the first game, improved most aspects, and added a whole bunch of other great aspects that will hopefully make Crackdown 2 a more than worth sequel.
Crackdown 2 will hit store shelves in Australia on July 8th, 2010, exclusively for XBOX 360.