Kat "ShadokatRegn" Pawlowski
With any sequel it can be expected to see familiar elements as well as many new experiences. Crackdown 2 completes both of these objectives with perfect style. For instance, you can still climb and reach outstanding heights, but now your agent is much more likely to grab a ledge that he may have missed by that much. Climbing is much less frustrating alone, as well as in co-op since it’s a lot harder to punt your buddy clear across the map if you accidentally land on their head.
I was a bit disappointed we didn’t have morphing Agents in this round of Crackdown, like the guy with dread locks changing as you gained skills, or the one with the mask - but the only real flaws were purely aesthetic. The armor still morphs as you progress your skills, and are available in a few colors (four of which are a pre-order exclusive). I feel the agents just lost a bit of the individuality of the characters - Maybe that is the goal in some sick, twisted way. The cars losing the ability to morph didn’t phase me as much, and driving is a lot easier to handle at the lower skill rank.
Of course, there are also the very familiar things that we all love from the original, like blowing everything up - and I mean, everything. I thoroughly enjoyed blowing up Freaks, Cell, and even myself and company. Sometimes it’s annoying to be hit by a stray rocket, but mostly I just laughed at how far I’d be launched in the blast. The original charm and enjoyment factor is fully intact for Crackdown 2. Overall I’d say they did a phenomenal job at fixing what was broken, and leaving the rest well enough alone.
Jim "txshurricane" McLaughlin
I love the new look of Pacific City, but honestly I don’t see much resemblance to the original. Maybe I’m missing the major landmarks...I just feel like it’s a different city altogether. There are a ton of new handholds and ledges (I’m especially thankful for the ability to grab the sides of lateral pipelines); unfortunately, I’m finding that I have a harder time grabbing the smaller ledges. The new Renegade Orbs (Orbs that you have to catch, either on foot or by vehicle) are a stroke of genius and just as addicting as collecting the classic stationary Orbs.
In addition to the new Orbs and climbing environments, my appreciation also goes to the “Regenerate” experience: you can quickly hop back into the action at the nearest drop spot, or choose one anywhere in the world. If you go the long route (choosing to Regenerate manually), you are given choice of weapons and vehicle to spawn with. It’s really handy, and I found myself sometimes committing self-inflicted atrocities...just to come back with a full loadout and a shiny new vehicle.
The plot in Crackdown 2 seems much better thought out, to me, although there is still a lingering odor of repetitiveness (activate that thingy, Agent...now go activate that other thingy, Agent) - which is where ingenuity and co-op come in. True to the original Crackdown, the game is what you make of it. That’s great for some people; not so much for others.
Finally, a quick word on versus multiplayer: it’s serviceable. I like that word, because it describes the versus modes as being decent enough, but makes it clear that I was not overly impressed. Fun for about an hour, the versus multiplayer plays a bit like Halo in third person - it played well enough. As you level up, you gain access to nifty perks - like the glidesuit - but after my first 45 minutes I hadn’t reached level 2 yet...and with minimal matchmaking support, a lack of personal progress tracking, and very little player customization, I knew this wasn’t the type of competitive multiplayer that would suck me in long enough to get anywhere above level 1 or 2 anyway.