July’s big release on the gaming calendar is almost certainly Crackdown 2, the long awaited sequel to one of the best loved sandbox games of the current generation. Featuring a gorgeous cell shaded aesthetic, an emphasis on outrageous power ups and the super-addictive hunt for green agility orbs, Crackdown was an early flagship title for the Xbox 360 back in 2007 and has retained something of a cult status since; proving that not everybody bought it just for the bundled Halo 3 beta.
3 years later though and with development being handled by Ruffian (with Realtime Worlds focusing instead on APB), Crackdown 2 has some yard stick to match if it is to quench the thirst of an expectant fanbase. The embargo’s are up and the first reviews are out of the door. So, what’s being said?
Our pick of the best after the break.
Eurogamer: The cliché regarding this sort of game is that it changes the way you view your own world: I know for sure that I’ll be seeing those last few Orbs in my dreams for months to come. If you need any indication of Crackdown’s brilliance, that’s surely it, right? If you seek its monument, look around you. [8/10]
Game Informer: What hurts the most about Crackdown 2 is that I would have been content with a simple, by-the-numbers sequel with a few token improvements. But this isn’t even a Xeroxed sequel; it’s more like a photocopy of a photocopy. The structure is largely the same, but some of the colors have faded, and parts of the picture are missing altogether. [7.25/10]
Joystiq: That world, by the way, is the same one you already explored in Crackdown, if a touch more run down. Tack that on to the loads of comically plain textures and frequent slowdown and you’ve got a graphical package that’s doing nothing to alleviate the sense of déjà vu. [3/5]
Destructoid: Ultimately, this game is a very sub-par offering that has no real reason to exist. Everything that is good about Crackdown 2 is already in the original Crackdown, and many of the problems in Crackdown 2 are unique entirely to this installment. In essence, all Crackdown 2 does is take the original game and make it worse. [4.5/10]
Not exactly a ground swell of positive support then.
I must admit that I’m a little disappointed by the reception to Crackdown 2 – it being a game that I was looking forward to playing – but after my experiences with the demo I can’t say I’m surprised. I guess the worst thing you can say about the 30 minute demo is that yeah, it’s Crackdown alright, but 3 years is a long time for a games flaws (of which Crackdown had) to remain apparently unfixed and unchanged. For new flaws to have appeared next to them seems like incredibly poor form, but to largely ignore the auto aim system (which is actually worse than Grand Theft Auto’s), introduce a generic wave of zombie mutants and fail to make inroads into the campaign mode could be deal breakers for many.
That will probably include me, for what it’s worth. Color me disappointed.
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