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Crackdown 2 360 continues the compulsive game play with just a few new twists. Leaping tall buildings, throwing cars and a ludicrous arsenal make it great to don the agent's uniform again.
When the announcement of a new game is greeted by standing and cheering, it's always going to be hard to meet that expectation. The moment Crackdown 2 arrived, I worried it wouldn't live up to what I'd been imagining for the past year.
This led me to analyse what I actually wanted from Crackdown 2, since a sequel usually exists on the knife edge of improving and consolidating, whilst not losing what made the original so delightful. I realised I just want Crackdown 2 to simply provide a fresh reason to collect 500 agility orbs.
The repeated messages full of sarcasm never got tired and, such was my mind in this role, often prompted my own mumbled reply.
Collecting agility orbs might be the main draw, but that is probably a reduction too far, it's the effect they have on the rest of your experience that really draws me in. Crackdown 2 is a game of improving abilities to get ever closer to the ultimate superhero. Orbs make you jump higher, but there are also rewards to be had for driving and killing, each one making the exploration of the open world a more satisfying journey.
When Ruffian made Crackdown 2 they stayed as close to this recipe as possible. Others have criticised this for a lack of ambition, but for me more of the same is the right answer.
Crackdown 2 does make a few changes though. Gone is the reliance on the Agency tower and the resupply points are replaced by aerial drops providing a new set of weapons that feel just as satisfying to use. Pacific City is now a shadow of its former self, with buildings overgrown and in various states of disrepair, but knowledge of the previous layout will still make it seem very familiar. The crime lords are also no more, replaced by a terrorist element attempting to thwart the Agency and these are joined by the freaks. These are zombie like creatures that roam the city at night, but these are easily avoided or just cannon fodder.
Other than the setting there are a few new mechanics as well, such as agility orbs that actively try to avoid being collected. Glide suits and access to helicopters after sufficient levelling also make an appearance, which could be game breaking, but somehow fit into the absurdity of the setting.
But this isn't the reason I pull on Agent jacket and shirt to play Crackdown.
Unchanged though is the voice and the tone of the Agency announcer, providing commentary on your every move. This time the script demonstrates a greater awareness of why I'm playing; announcing every time an Achievement is unlocked or when the next milestone in collection is reached. The repeated messages full of sarcasm never got tired often prompting my own mumbled reply.
Co-op grows from two to four this time. But this isn't the reason I pull on the Agent's jacket. It's hard to lose yourself for hours looking for the green orbs, when you have the chatter of friends in your ears.
Unusually for my role-playing want, the lack of narrative and character is no impediment to living the life of an agent. Here I am a tool to get the job done. There is a story that follows on from the first game, but the fact that I'm switching on a powerful weapon to rid the world of the freaks, doesn't enter my fun equation.
If you were expecting this to be a departure or improvement from the first Crackdown, you'll probably be disappointed. I'm not one of those people and I've lost hours bounding round the same old city already and I'm still only half way to collecting everything.
Crackdown lets you wear the uniform of a superhuman badass, leaves the story in the background, and offers constant rewards that call you ever forward to your next play session - within minutes of switching it off.
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