Crackdown 2 First Look

Ruffian Games talks mutated zombies, toy box gameplay, and four-player co-op.

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Crackdown was the very definition of a sandbox action game. It gave players the ability to quite literally leap from building to building, throw cars like they were baseballs, and basically just go nuts on the city. With all that destructive freedom at a player's fingertips, it would seem like a tough game to follow up on because, really, where do you go when a player is already the most powerful force in the city? Well, if you're developer Ruffian Games, you make it so that's no longer the case.

Here at Tokyo Game Show 2009, a few members from Ruffian Games led a demo to highlight some of the new features in Crackdown 2. Chief among these features is a new day/night dynamic to the city designed to add more of a challenge to the player's powers and hopefully make things a lot more fun as a result. The story takes its cue from the end of the original game when players--as members of a federal crime-busting task force--unknowingly unleashed a virus onto the city just as it seemed everything was going to be wrapped up nicely. That virus has created a race of mutated zombies Ruffian has dubbed the “freaks,” and they make up a new class of enemy that comes out at night to challenge you in ways Crackdown's gangsters and criminals never could.

What sets the freaks apart from normal enemies is that they come at you in droves, which Ruffian calls the “Freak Breach,” creating a miniature riot zone around the players. While the original game had plenty of non-player character pedestrians, they were meant to be protected because you were ostensibly a member of the police looking to keep order in the city. Now, though, these freaks can be mowed down in droves without the slightest pang of remorse. What's more, they're able to follow you up and down buildings, thanks to those powers of mutation, so there's not really anywhere you can run off and hide during the game's night cycle.

The onset of freaks has resulted in a city that looks much more beat-up and run-down than the original because even during the day when all you see is normal human beings, it's clear these people's lives have been adversely affected by the new plague that's hit the city. We were shown a fly-through view of the ironically titled “Hope Springs” neighborhood of the city. This new area was actually quite miserable in its rusty signs and citizens gathered around flaming barrels. Ruffian then showed an area from the first game, the Observatory, which time had clearly not been friendly to as it lay mostly in ruins.

After explaining some of the changes to the city and its denizens, Ruffian then took to showing some of the new weapons. The team members want more potential for everyday found objects to be picked up and used as weapons, so one example they showed was a piece of rebar with a few giant chunks of cement on it that was able to carve through giant chunks of freaks. They also showed the UV shotgun, which fires energy blasts that can propel enemies backward in huge numbers.

But the real star of the show was the new MAG grenade, which is a sticky remote-detonated grenade that has the ability to tether objects together with a beam of electricity. You can throw one on a car, then another on a building, and watch as the car flings toward that building and dangles from it, which you can then detonate remotely. But for real fun, you can chain together even more objects to create an explosive chain of cars, people, buildings, or whatever you might find in the world. Ruffian even showed how you can tether a gas canister to the ground, shoot off the cap, and watch it fly around like a self-propelled rocket going in circles. It was quite a sight.

Now take that sort of freeform chaos and imagine the entire game done in four-player co-op, with players able to work as harmoniously or as discordantly as they choose. That's the sort of experience Ruffian is aiming to provide in Crackdown 2, which it claims is “fundamentally a four-player game.” Ruffian is banking on that freedom of player interaction providing the real thrust to propel the experience forward. Because like the first game, the narrative will be less of a traditional story with a beginning, middle, and end and more of a series of open missions that you can take on however you like. Thankfully, Ruffian also recognizes that the stat-building orbs scattered throughout the city were a great incentive to keep players from getting too distracted and throwing cars at pedestrians, so it has added even more orbs into the world to help add a sense of accomplishment when you've built up your character's various attributes.

After the campaign demo ended, we were given the opportunity to get a brief hands-on taste of the 16-player competitive Deathmatch mode. This feature is more or less exactly what it sounds like, with 16 superpowered agents jumping around a large chunk of the city and blasting away at each other. This particular mode didn't seem quite as compelling as the various additions made to the campaign because it seems like we spent a lot more time searching out other players than actually fighting them. We're totally willing to see what happens with the competitive multiplayer as Ruffian tunes and refines it in the coming months, but right now, our eyes are more firmly fixed on the intriguing campaign enhancements. We'll see how it all pans out as we get closer to Crackdown 2's 2010 release.

Discussion

105 comments
GodZxSAINT
GodZxSAINT

at night i will find a alley with a dead end and put like 8 MAG grenades on the entrance and see what happens....

artiebillymac
artiebillymac

Needs offline co-op as well as online but wow sounds great .

ps727
ps727

looks good. first one was a lot of fun, hopefully this one will be as well

sanechupp
sanechupp

I got busted on the last comment I made. It does say fundamentally four player co-op. Yes you can play it by yourself. I think it's more fun and rewarding to play single player and do everything yourself. I'll probably get online after awhile. Anyway I will by this game and I really liked the first one. I'd rather see another city with some countryside but I'll take it. As for being lonely I like getting out of the house. lol I'm not a texter either. Oh I know what fundamentally means, sorry Mr. Cool.

wooly_mamoth
wooly_mamoth

still a good game but APB will be coming out then so i think i'll pass unless there is an awesome demo pre release

yves74zh
yves74zh

Looking forward, lots of fun guaranteed! Seems to be less comic style then number 1... however it reminds of Prototype although probably more shooting than scrambling, smashing and throwing...

DEATH775
DEATH775

This is going to be awesome.

artmaestro
artmaestro

What is this? Like open free running and taking down bad guys and mutants? If so, this game is going to be sick.

Intrakitt
Intrakitt

Can't wait for this. I know it's a different company but from what I hear that have a lot of alumni who worked on the first title. Can't wait for the return of the original super powered sandbox game.

SasukevsLuffy
SasukevsLuffy

Look at the picture, he's holding a hammerburst!

hollow56771
hollow56771

damn...... i loved being the strongest person in the game but now we got mutants

_Sharpshooter_
_Sharpshooter_

the first game was good.. bought the first game but it didnt work tho. i will buy this one too. (Most of the games these days are all about infections :S) (-resident evil dark side chronicles, dead space extraction, dead rising2 left for dead) (they r all great tho.

DFen
DFen

still not sure about this game but from the looks of the gameplay I think Ima just buy it see how it goes, Im starting to like the xbox360 now that I realize I can change the case style and stuff lol

mightEone
mightEone

sanechupp this game is single player lol. Always has. kvan33 Crackdown was made before Prototype, so not sure what you mean. Game looks very good, I think I will have to buy this one. I like the idea of Freaks coming out to fight at night. That adds a lot more to the game since they follow you anywhere you go.

DrkAlx25
DrkAlx25

cant wait for this game it is going to be sick

SpiKeX-Crom
SpiKeX-Crom

hmm, looks interesting, i'll consider it.

SpikedStrider
SpikedStrider

Nkvan33 No Prototype was Crackdown 1.5. It's ok, you must have forgot. lol

-White_Knight-
-White_Knight-

I'll be keeping my eye on this one... but that doesn't mean they have my money yet! ;)

kvan33
kvan33

So...it's basically Prototype now?

awwmanitsdan
awwmanitsdan

God I loved the first one hope the second one is good!

knoetgen
knoetgen

@sanechupp where does it say you cant its just like lost planet 2 or halo 3 or borderlands, if you are online all the better but if not you just play it by your lonesome.

sanechupp
sanechupp

This game needs single player, the first game had it and this is a sequel. All games should have a good single player. If it's just online stuff forget selling a disc. Seems idiotic to pay $60.00 for a game with just online stuff and a few years down the road you won't be able to play it because no one plays it online. That's the way I understand this online stuff to work. I'm not online and I really don't care if I get connected. I'm not cheap and I'm not stupid either. The game does look and sounds good. I am glad to see it's being made and it's supposed to be a franchise anyway. I'd rather take out gangs but this will do. You should be able to play this by yourself.

MisterTingle
MisterTingle

sweet. mutant zombies is just what this game needed to make it a REALLY great game.

jbahari
jbahari

I always thought fighting against rival enemies with the same powers was a cool idea. They could do so much with the story if the gangs had "agents" of their own.

raider163
raider163

The first one was great and very well underrated but hopefully this one will bring on an army of new fans to a great franchise probable game.

toxicmog
toxicmog

Ewwww wtf :P The first one kicked ass, although I am looking forward to this it reminds me to much of prototype.

DFen
DFen

well I cant say the game sucks cus I never played the first one but by seeing a few gameplay videos it kinda reminds me of that saints row game with a mix of a gears of war style idk about this game I'll probably rent it instead

Jae69G
Jae69G

i Loves a game with freaks in it! Deffo be getting this first game was wickeD

MasteroChieftan
MasteroChieftan

i only ask for one thing there needs to be an option to pick up your teammate and chuck them where they need to go the way it could be done is just make the throw be a little further than a jump ( i know that physically doesnt make sense) so that if your teammate isnt as strong as you, you can both hit a button to accept the throw ability (you know so that you dont have a jerk that randomly picks you up and tosses you into danger) that'd be so awesome imagine your buddy chucking you through a window so that you can take on like 30 freaks while he snipes from the background AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!

Soapweed
Soapweed

More zombies? Ugh. At least I'll be able to jump from roof to roof giving them the finger.

hoganms
hoganms

This is going to be a sweet game. I will buy this for sure.

CuR-Archive
CuR-Archive

Dude i read the Game Informer article on this and it sounds purely amazing!!

nrock23
nrock23

I wonder how this ties in with the first crackdown..... Anyways looks great

Fed__X
Fed__X

awesome Zombies! wtf.

DaveyBoy123
DaveyBoy123

looks fun, but idk if it will beat the first

Da_Chief_319
Da_Chief_319

I did not love the first game, but I read the Game Informer cover story for this, and I think the sequel will be better

fateltear
fateltear

awww man this should be fun!

zerolies84
zerolies84

looks cool im surprized thought they never would made a sequal.

bunn360
bunn360

looks great carnt wait to take on hordes of raging freaks

LukeyGee15
LukeyGee15

looks like they wanted to go extreme i wonder if there are still gangs though but monsters will still do :D carn't wait until this game comes out.

Endofme
Endofme

Look good, but wanna see the Gameplay, Why don't they just show that first instead of showing a movie :D

Mobymg
Mobymg

looking forward to this one,i thought the first game was cool

-HCMF-
-HCMF-

Got to give them props for not re-hashing a title, but rather to take a chance and change up the dynamic of the game.

RichBoy22
RichBoy22

Cool. I hope it doesn't have the same game-breaking save glitch Crackdown one had.