Not too long ago, I received a free half-case of Session Dark lager. The beer was pretty gross, but I still consumed them. I did this because it was still beer and it was good enough to keep drinking on occasion until they were all finished and out of the fridge. This is what Crackdown 2 is like.
The game begins with a story update on what has been going on in Pacific City since the end of the previous game. The gang factions you’ve brought down are now nonexistent, but there are new threats that have taken over Pacific City in the form of a criminal faction called “Cell” and a whole lot of fast-moving, zombie-like Freaks. Other than this, the story is almost devoid of any further mention. Besides small episodic content in the form of audio logs picked up across the city, one really has no idea what they’re really doing in Pacific City.
What the game really comes down to is collecting orbs to power up your character. Many of these orbs are scattered around the city in various locations, some are in plain view while others are tucked away in dark recesses. Some of these orbs are only obtained with vehicles while others can only be picked up with another player online. These orbs help your character drive well, jump higher and farther, or gain a little skill in all categories. Speaking of your character, one can only pick from four different men but it doesn’t really matter because they’re wearing a helmet the whole time. Ruffian really should’ve just banished this implementation of supposed “choice” immediately.
The problems lie in how the game is presented overall. The game is all about traversing across Pacific City, (by yourself or with someone else,) collecting orbs and causing havoc in the streets, but it’s the terrible control and poor map that causes the gameplay to be a major pain. Your character has a better time moving in the air than on the ground and occasionally grabs onto ledges while ignoring others altogether. There’s no possible way to mark waypoints on the map, which makes it even tougher to track where one has to travel without pausing the game every few seconds to assure they’re on the correct path. Add a terrible targeting system reminiscent of playing an HD clone of Grand Theft Auto III and you have a close to broken game.
Overall, the game isn’t terrible. I’ve played many worse games throughout the years. Yes, I finished it by myself, since I’m not one to play platformers multiplayer. Upon finishing it I was happy because it meant there would be no more of it. If a game is supposed to be more about collecting items than an interesting story, Ruffian should have made sure that the controls were spot on. They should have supplied a map with added waypoints and more. Instead, the game is like a mediocre beer. Just like how a Session Dark lager is drinkable, this game was playable. But would I ever buy the beer or this game? Never. I’d recommend an IPA and Prototype.
If you’re in need of another point-of-view, I recommend the review over at IGN. If you have any comments that I didn’t bring up, feel free to leave them here!