Review: Crackdown 2

Microsoft and Ruffian Games brings players back to Pacific City in the recent release of Crackdown 2.

Players can customize their Agent with tons of different armor options.

Crackdown 2 places players in the shoes of an “Agent” sent by a mysterious organization only known as “The Agency” on a mission to clean up crime on the streets of Pacific City.  Players must not only battle gangs attempting to take over the city from the Agency, but also mobs of mutated humans who come out at night to attack anyone unlucky enough to stay out after dark.  The game plays like a typical third-person shooter, but with some added RPG elements.  Players can upgrade their Agent through ability orbs, which are released by defeating enemies using the Agent’s various skills. Such as, beating up an enemy will net Body Orbs which upgrade the Agent’s strength and health bar, shooting enemies releases Firearm Orbs that upgrade the Agent’s ability to shoot faster and more accurately.  There are also explosive, driving, and agility orbs to upgrade the Agent.

Graphically the game is only a bit of an improvement on the last game.  The cel-shaded art looks pretty and fits well with the “superhero cop” style of the world, but there is only so much one can do with that style of art.  However, it does give a comic book feel to the game, which is a nice departure from the “normal” graphics in most shooter games.

The only negative part of the game is that it does not feel different enough from the first game.  The controls are the same, the way players upgrade their character is the same, and even some of the gang locations are the same as gang locations in the first game.  While the story is new, the narrative is not the draw to either of the Crackdown games.  This may make it hard for players of the previous title to justify purchasing the sequel.

Players can also team up with up to four of their friends to clean up Pacific City.

Overall, Crackdown 2 is a great third-person action/RPG hybrid.  Running around Pacific City and mowing down gang members and mutated humans is a lot of fun, and it is incredibly satisfying when the player’s Agent levels up one of their skills.  The graphics fit well in the comic book style of the game, but they are nothing to write home about.  While players of the previous title may not want to drop the money on the new title, this is still a great game for anyone looking for a new third-person shooter/RPG.


  1. I recommend buying a television for this game!

    Also, are there armor customization options? I only found the options for changing the color, which was pretty disappointing. Other than that, I really enjoyed Crackdown 2, but I also really enjoyed Crackdown 1, and like Nate said, they really didn’t change much. 4-player co-op’s a great addition, though, and this game will probably drop in price fairly quickly. It’ll probably be a great deal by the time next summer rolls around!

  2. @Darth: That’s one thing I totally forgot about until just now. I was a bit disappointed with the lack of customization in the game. The armor only changes color and doesn’t give your Agent any special perks and there are like four Agent model to choose from.
    Kinda half-assed on the developers part.

  3. Yeah, I remember being a bit disappointed about that as well. Especially since the 4 “faces” you can choose from are all covered by the same helmet the second you get 1 level in anything. Really seems like a “why did they bother” type feature, you know?

  4. were they under staffed or something. the game looks good but they seemed to have cut so many corners. I remember a weird article on kotaku were a developer said that there wasn’t going to be an option to be female in Crackdown 2 because it would take up too much of their resources or something to that effect.

  5. I think they were rushed or something (a lot of the game feels that way, to be honest). From what I’ve hear on podcasts and such, Microsoft didn’t OK Crackdown 2 fast enough for Real Time World (C1’s developer), and they’d already moved on to making APB. When MS finally did give the go-ahead to publish C2, a bunch of the RTW guys “quit” and formed their own studio down the street (not sure where the two were located, but I’ve heard they’re literally in the same town and swap employees back and forth pretty regularly), which then started work on Crackdown 2, but this was less than 2 years ago, so they didn’t have much time to make a full-blown game. Crackdown 2 was announced about a year ago with a teaser trailer, so I’m not sure how far along it was in actual development at that point, but I’m sure starting a new game studio isn’t exactly something you can do overnight.

    Anyway, long story short, I wouldn’t be surprised if this game was rushed out pretty quickly. I do think it’s funny, though, that it ended up coming out within a week of APB.

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