kindredwarr's Crackdown 2 (Xbox 360) review

Why is there less content in the sequel then the original?

I'm really disappointed in this game. WTF Ruffian games? Why does it feel like I'm playing a DLC add-on pack instead of a full blown sequel, huh? This whole game feels more like something they should have been released in the same vein as The Ballad of Gay Tony or The Lost and the Damned. It's the same city (though more   dilapidated ) and adds very, very little to the players abilities.
The story revolves around the city being taken over by 1 gang called Cell during the day and infected people known as Freaks at night. You repair units and kill infected to progress through the games missions.
It's these story missions that just piss me right off. There's.. let's say 4 types really.
1. Take on cell locations. You fight Cell until the meter runs down to activate an agency drop point.
2. Activate absorption units. You fight whatever cell is there (not many) and stand on a pad until the meter runs down.
3. After activating 3 absorption units call in a Beacon into a freak lair. You fight Freaks until the meter runs down.
4. Find Freak breaches and fight them off until a helicopter closes the breach. That is until the meter runs down..
Please tell me you see the pattern here?
In Crackdown 2, you fight things until a meter runs down, them move on to the next one. It feels like one massive grind and it's lame.  At the very least in Crackdown you worked towards something, you worked towards weakening a Gang leader's hideout so you don't get slaughtered on any assault attempts. There were also at the very least "bosses" which may of just been dudes with more health, but it's better then no bosses at all, just different enemy types that plague Crackdown 2's biggest problem.  That problem being the game doesn't do anything at all other then throw a ton of enemies at you. Yeah, it gets more and more difficult and Freaks get bigger, but if this is what you call story progress you have to be Freakin' (haha see what I did there?) kidding me.

A problem I had with Crackdown 1 was that there was no real structure to the game other then finding and killing gang leaders. Why couldn't this have been fixed? Why not be forced into actual missions like in say the GTA games, Red Dead Redemption, Fallout or basically every other sandbox game. This to me feels like it's more sandbox less game. You're given a sizable world and it's up to you how you want to traverse it and which points you want to take on and some side stuff to do, but why not let there be actual story instead of just the previously mentioned "missions". At one point in the game after defending a beacon doest the pretense of a story seems to take place, but at this point in the game for me, I'm 99% done and it comes far too little, far too late. Why even bother trying to shoe horn a story in there when most players will probably be almost done with the damned game? Why bother with a lame cliff-hangerish ending when through the rest of the game there wasn't any kind of story in the first place?

Another bummer is something that was also present in the original Crackdown, that being when you get knocked down your character doesn't get up right away so can just be kicked around on the ground over and over again. So say you're taking on a ton of Freaks and a large freak just runs you over, you're on the ground, you get surrounded by a bunch more that just beat on you and then you can't get up. So you get killed by just being knocked over. It's not fun, it's very frustrating, it's also present in the PvP multiplayer. It's this total sense of absolute helplessness and it's awful, the mere fact that I can just be knocked over and killed because I can't get my character stand back up. Why is this in here? Same thing can happen if you get barraged by grenades and rockets BTW, which will happen when Cell gets angrier and angrier.

Also I want to point out that the new glide ability you get when you max out your agility isn't the best. I've never flown a helicopter easier then I have in this game, the cars control tightly, the character jumps from building to building with very little effort, so here's this cool new glide and it takes actual skill and practice to get used to? What in the holy hell? Everything else is arcadey and easy but something that did look awesome is difficult to do? To do the glide you need to get up to a high building, then you need to hit Y during the fall of a jump and go straight down until your contrails turn red, then you can pull up and and you can keep doing this to get around, problem is it's too easy to lose altitude and bump into anything you lose it and need to start over. It is fun when you get a good enough jump going and and you can go over whole islands it is actually pretty cool when you get it going. But it would be so much more fun if you could get it going a lot easier I would say on the average Glide try I had, I would end up right at the street before I could pull up to get some height and get going and by that time it's too late to pull up.

One more thing I have issue with, and this may just be pure ignorance on my part is the map. The map will only highlight certain events, Freak Breaches, Cell strongholds, Races, etc. There's no single over view map showing you everything and no way to create a waypoint so it's easy to get turned around when you think you're going to the right let's say Freak Breach but the one highlighted on the minimap on your HUD is actually one on a totally different island and not the one you're closer too. This was a minor annoyance at first but later on it's just a bit aggravating to be on one island a block away from a Freak Breach and the map not highlighting the closest one but instead one the opposite island you're on. Did I miss an option here? A single thing on the screen I just over looked when it comes to the world map?

Crackdown 2 isn't a very good game, it's decent fun if you enjoy blowing stuff up and only blowing stuff up. Are you the kind of person who plays GTA just to screw around? Then by all means, go for it. Personally I need a little more story structure, or hell just structure period otherwise it just feels like I'm doing the same damn thing over and over again and in the case of this game, that's what it feels like. Just doing the same few things with not enough changing  for me to enjoy it. Then it ended (in a really stupid way no less).

Edited by padrino

I totally agree. Though I still find it fun (for a while) I am very disappointed in this "money grab" of a game. Instead of taking what worked in Crackdown and expanding on it and fixing problems, they just created an even less deep game story wise (I was not even sure that was possible) and added a bunch of zombies that are pretty much useless fodder.   
While I would probably score it a bit higher because its still fun to collect orbs, I am completely disappointed with what they have done (and not done) with the franchise. This feels more like a $20 add on pack than a $65 game.  The only redeeming quality is 4 player co-op but thats all the fixed after 3 years. Shameless...

Posted by Kindredwarr
@padrino:   Thanks for commenting and the review recommend!  You helped me complete a quest!
I was tempted to give it  two stars at one point because there is fun to be had in this game, like you said collecting orbs and I do enjoy gliding when it works, but other then that, what was the point of this sequel and why was it full price?  It's actually really disparaging to know that everything this game has to offer was basically in the demo too, that's another thing that really bugged me.. in a half hour demo, you can get the sense of everything you can get in the singleplayer, it wasn't even a taste.. that's the full experience.   It just seems so... I dunno, like Ruffian didn't even really try, they thought "zombies" "YES!!!" and that's this game...

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