Crackdown 2 Hands-On

We go on a murderous driving rampage and see a man about a beacon in our first hands-on with Ruffian's open-world action game.

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Ploughing through a horde of monsters in a pimped-out tank is a very satisfying experience. The roar of the engine, the sound of splattered guts, and the sight of gore flying through the air is not to be missed. But maybe you're not into roadkill. Don't worry, Crackdown 2 has you covered. Whether you're a fan of murderous rampages or prefer to glide effortlessly onto your enemies, its open-world gameplay allows you to play however you like. Fancy using a car as a giant slingshot? Want to beat monsters to death with a street lamp? The possibilities are endless.

The story of Crackdown 2 takes place in Pacific City, the fictional metropolis that was featured in the original game. A dangerous virus has been released into the city, creating grotesque zombielike creatures known as "freaks." The city's law enforcement, the Agency, is unable to keep the problem under control. This has given rise to an underground vigilante resistance group that goes by the name Cell, which has taken matters into its own hands to tackle the freaks. Cell distrusts the Agency, which has led to a three-way power struggle between the two groups and the freaks. You play as a newly recruited agent tasked with destroying the freaks and restoring peace to the city.

We joined the game as a fresh-faced recruit, and a training section took us through the basics of being an agent. We were guided through the training by the booming voice of the head of the Agency, who was quick to make fun of incorrect button presses or errors. His sarcastic tone follows you throughout the game as he guides you through the city, commenting on your progress and explaining missions. We learnt to shoot, jump, launch melee attacks, and throw grenades during the short tutorial. The grenade section in particular was a lot of fun. We were told to make our way to a large black room where a group of freaks were holed up inside a pen. We had to pick up grenades and practice throwing them into the pen, which blew the freaks up into a gooey mess. They constantly respawned, allowing us to keep hammering them and creating piles of dead bodies on the floor. The controls remain the same as in the previous game, so Crackdown veterans will have no trouble picking them up. We were also taken through the Agent's regeneration ability. This was represented by a small bar and functions like a shield, allowing you to absorb a number of hits. If you stop taking hits, the bar goes back up, but if you take too many, it's game over.

The training finished with us getting into a car, after which a helicopter picked us up and took us over the city to our first mission. We arrived at a Cell stronghold, an area filled with crates by the docks. Cell had stolen a prototype beacon, which was part of an Agency project known as Sunburst. The project's aim was to build a massive solar-powered energy weapon, which could take out all of the freaks in one fell swoop. With Cell in possession of the only prototype, it was the Agency's number-one priority to get it back. However, before we could call in air support to pick up the prototype, we had to secure the area. The entrance to the stronghold was surrounded by Cell members, all of whom were armed with guns. We set about taking them out, which gave us our first taste of combat.

This wasn't your everyday stop and search.

By default, you're armed with a standard-issue Agency rifle and armour. Though not massively powerful, the rifle does hold a reasonable amount of ammunition, and it reloads quickly. As you progress, you're able to upgrade your weapons and armour with much more powerful versions by levelling up your character. Each time you fire weapons, drive a vehicle, or launch melee attacks, you earn points. The more points you earn, the better you become at handling weapons, driving cars, or beating up people. When you level up a skill set, you are issued with new items from the Agency. A number of new weapons have been introduced, which include a UV shotgun, mag grenade, and wingsuit.

The UV shotgun uses electromagnetic bursts to project a massive shockwave. It's particularly useful for ripping freaks apart in crowded areas because the blast does not affect humans. However, it does produce kinetic energy, which you can use to fling cars, lampposts, and other objects into enemies--freaks or otherwise. The mag grenade is a sticky remote-detonated explosive that you can use to tether objects together. You can throw one onto a lamppost, throw another onto a car, then rip up the lamppost, and use it as a giant flail. You can also create a giant slingshot by attaching grenades to opposing buildings. By attaching a grenade to a car, you can pull back on it and let it fly through hordes of enemies, creating a massive gooey mess. Finally, the wingsuit lets you glide, swoop, or dive bomb down from tall buildings. If you dive bomb straight down, you strike the ground with a massive thud, which creates a huge crater in the ground and destroys any enemies in the vicinity.

To make full use of the wingsuit, you need to get up high. Like the first game, the verticality is as important as its horizontal size. At first, you can only jump a small distance, but by collecting agility orbs, you can leap to tremendous heights, scaling buildings and clinging onto window ledges. The orbs themselves are scattered across the city, usually in places that require a small amount of platforming to reach. There are also purple driving orbs that zoom around the city requiring you to chase them in a car. There are a range of vehicles you can drive, ranging from small civilian cars to armoured Cell trucks. As an agent, you have access to the best vehicles the game has to offer. There are standard vehicles, such as the supercar, truck, and agency buggy, as well as more pimped-out ones, such as the Agency helicopter or tank. The helicopter is armed with machine guns and rocket launchers, allowing you to rain down bullets on crowds of enemies. The tank, meanwhile, is a heavily armoured four-wheeled behemoth, which is especially great for ploughing through freaks.

Cell vehicles range from small buggies to heavily armoured trucks.

The freaks themselves only emerge at night. Crackdown 2 employs a full day-and-night cycle as you play. Streets that once seemed safe are overrun with freaks at night, and we found driving through them was one of the most fun ways to spend our time in the game. Car handling is pretty forgiving, having an arcadelike feel, so we found it easy to stick to the road. This handling coupled with the splat sounds from running over a freak brought back memories of violent racer Carmageddeon. Each street had hundreds of freaks on it, which showed off the improved graphics engine that has been expanded to allow for more enemies onscreen at any one time. Fortunately, this hasn't affected the same huge draw distances that were present in the first game, allowing you to leap to the tops of buildings and spot agility orbs around the city.

After taking out the Cell from our first mission, we spent some time free roaming around the city, checking out landmarks and causing chaos. You can take out common civilians or even fellow agents if you like, but you are penalised for doing so. The announcer warns you to back off, and if you continue to ignore his advice, he sends the law after you, which will relentlessly hunt you down until you're dead. After which, the announcer tells you he hopes you've "learnt your lesson." We sometimes ran into Cell-infested areas when driving around, which proved to be a costly mistake. As the most hated enemy of Cell, you will not be greeted with tea and biscuits when you stray onto its turf. Instead, we were met with streams of bullets and a dose of car shunting. Though we fought back, the sheer number of Cell units made it difficult to escape alive. Once we'd had enough of being pummelled, we took on some more missions. These are clearly marked on the minimap at the bottom of the screen, so they're easy to find. One mission required us to activate some absorption units at the top of a tall building. The building was heavily guarded by Cell, and we chose to sneak up the building via a set of platforms to launch a surprise grenade attack. Because the game is open world, you are free to tackle missions as you see fit, using whatever equipment you have at your disposal.

Hey dude! Can I get a ride?

Visually, the game is much like its predecessor. Characters and objects have a thick black line around them, but realistic-looking textures are used to give them a unique look. It's looking a little long in the tooth, but it does boast massive draw distances and large enemy numbers. As well as single-player, Ruffian Games has confirmed there will be four-player co-op, complete with seamless drop-in, drop-out support. There will also be 16-player deathmatch with a new mode called Rocket Tag, though we were unable to see these in action. Crackdown 2 is due for release on the Xbox 360 on July 9.

Discussion

135 comments
madg23
madg23

well guess its time to preorder but cant shred online cause got dialup:(

KO4U
KO4U

3 weeks to go! got the pre-order down (to show I'm a man of commitment)!

TheoleDominion
TheoleDominion

@im-a-roustabout - I get what you're saying, but responding to trolls is entertaining and just something to do. However I also engage in intelligent debates to, when the opportunity presents itself.

moxomule
moxomule

'long in the tooth' is a phrase that means getting rather old.

moxomule
moxomule

'long in the tooth' is an phrase that means getting rather old.

Serentor
Serentor

first one was awesome, but it sucked online, only because no1 ever played it... might get this first buy too. gotta see if the money is sufficient enough

fi3ldsy
fi3ldsy

I loved the first one. Actually bought the first game on day one, not for the Halo 3 beta like a lot of people did. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Can't wait for this one!!!

turtlebird95
turtlebird95

@sstavros4 Just get the hell out of this page. None of your comments make any sense and almost all of them have 10 thumbs down. If you want to praise the ps3 and trash on the 360 go ahead. But please, this is gamespot, not Sonyfanboys.com.

turtlebird95
turtlebird95

Any of the stupid idiots who are calling this a prototype ripoff. Prototype isn't even a year old yet. Crackdown 1 recently turned 3. I'll let you be the judge of your stupidity.

DarkSpidey69
DarkSpidey69

@ im-a-roustabout As much as I agree with you, post a comment OR write a novel, these are your options.

im-a-roustabout
im-a-roustabout

I'm trying to figure out what the author meant by "it's a little long in the tooth but....." The "but" makes me think it was a negative comment because it was followed by a positive comment "but it does boast massive draw distances....". Idk. If anybody knows what that phrase means help me out here.

im-a-roustabout
im-a-roustabout

@TheoleDominion The argument that's being presented is just because something is in last place does not mean it's a P.O.S. Take, for instance, my favorite car the Dodge Viper. Now lets see how many more Toyota Carollas have been sold than the Dodge Viper. It's in the millions and millions. Does that mean the VIper is a dumb car that nobody drives and "sucks". I don't think so. In the future though when a troll is in the forums why don't you just leave them alone? When you keep fighting like this you're only making them win because they do this to get a rise out of you. Just don't answer to any more flames about a console b/c if you truly didn't care, you would never have posted rebuttals in the first place.

im-a-roustabout
im-a-roustabout

Looking at the comments it only seems like 3 or 4 ps3 morons are here so 360 users (me being one of them! check my profile) please quit generalizing ALL ps3 fans. There are so many more out there who don't pull this childish crap. You'd be surprised. some people just LIKE to troll! They probably own all 3 consoles. They just do this because they know it pisses you guys off, and it worked! Look at all the complaining and crying the 360 users are doing now? Mission accomplished I say! Next time you read a "360 suckserszsss" etc, just LEAVE IT ALONE. Don't stoke the fire let it burn out!

im-a-roustabout
im-a-roustabout

@renigade16 Lol, clearly you've never actually visited a PS3 preview then. Trolls like SalarianChemist enter my thoughts but I'm not here to name drop. Just know that like 360 previews, so to are ps3 forums so quit making it seem like you know EVERY LAST PERSON on Gamespot that posts an does not post. Cuz you don't.

renigade16
renigade16

Why are there always PS3 fanboys at every 360 game review. But barely any on the PS3 reviews? Why must you guys come here acting like a bunch of 8 year-olds?

blackmetalwar
blackmetalwar

There are a few borrowed ideas from Prototype--but I can live with that if the fun factor is through the roof. I wish the editor would give some sort of closing comments on his/her overall impression of the game. I mean, did they like it a lot, was it ok, did they notice certain faults, etc.

robulastage
robulastage

I was hoping to come here and not see flaming going on. Poor guys.

hagen
hagen

is that THE AMAZING IRON MAN GANG???

mattiberg
mattiberg

loooooooool prototype rip off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

hydn631
hydn631

I had no idea this was a console war comment page and not a discussion of the related article above comment page.

gavlah
gavlah

The first one was pretty fun ... got old for me though so wasn't much for replayablity. Probably cos of the lack of xbox live for me so no co-op :( Still a more polished version with zombie-like freaks with live and a good few years since i played the first one? I just might be sold.

TheoleDominion
TheoleDominion

@sstavros4 Posted May 29, 2010 10:38 am GMT TheoleDominion you cant admit that ps3 is by far the best...that is the problem....lol -------------------------------------- Sony are best, in "holding up the rear."...lol You can't tell the difference between a bigger number from the smallest, that's the problem...lmao

AZE160
AZE160

What the hell is the matter with you all XBOX,PS Fan boys,Yeah I mean I've got XBOX 360 but wouldn't mind buying a Playstation 3. C'mon each has it's own great stuff.

sstavros4
sstavros4

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

gibbey531
gibbey531

really sleepnsurf? going to win the console wars all by yourself eh.....I actually traded in one of my 360's to get a ps3 slim and when they side by side the ps3 is pretty sexy.... better luck next time there biggie lol

sleepnsurf
sleepnsurf

PS3 owners are all babies because they have nothing coming out for that Foreman grill. I put the old fat PS3 next to my Elite and it looks like a pile of garbage. Sony sux.

sleepnsurf
sleepnsurf

Most anticipated game of the year for me. 4 player co-op=greatness

HavocV3
HavocV3

diabloakaSAHA _____ Sony fanboys are walking advertisements. Kevin Butler and the 'it only does everything' slogan. both completely enveloped the dying shells of such fanboys and they're cursed to flame anything related to the Xbox 360 as long as Sony lives. theory, at least =p.

diabloakaSAHA
diabloakaSAHA

why do i always find sony fanboys flaming a review/preview of any 360 game , and most of them cant even speak english or type. :P . Very very sad.

sstavros4
sstavros4

TheoleDominion you cant admit that ps3 is by far the best...that is the problem....lol

drago9876
drago9876

Looks good, but is there a huge jump from the first? Kinda looks alot like the first in gameplay, but the characters look pretty sweet

TheoleDominion
TheoleDominion

@ sstavros4 - sounds like an excuse to me...last place is last place period...lol

sstavros4
sstavros4

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

TheoleDominion
TheoleDominion

@ sstavros4 I didnt say MS was better, the sales numbers do...lol

sstavros4
sstavros4

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

TheoleDominion
TheoleDominion

@sstavros4- just stick to hard data and facts. x360 is ahead of Sony. Go do your homework for yourself. Numbers don't lie, people do. Unfortunately it's people who put out the numbers..lol

Xx_Hopeless_xX
Xx_Hopeless_xX

Looks pretty good...just hope it doesn't turn into a mind-numbing, button mashing game that revolves around turning zombies to mush..

TheoleDominion
TheoleDominion

@ sstavros4 Posted May 28, 2010 6:20 pm GMT no no m fault sorry.... i wanted to compare ps2 with 360..my fault...i think in that case 360 must be better...hahahahahaa Correction: X360 is also better with their online service and console/attachment rate and software sales....lol And apparently marketing strategy too in order to dethrone Sony in such a short period of time.

TheoleDominion
TheoleDominion

@ Traumerei112 - Really? Your bias list alone shows pure fanboyism. You quote "already released" and i don't recall Gran Turismo" being released yet. And what about some titles you conveniently left off the x360 list? Where's Crackdown? Too Human? The Last Remnant? Risen? Absolute Blazing Infinity? Perfect Dark? Blue Dragon? Divinity II: Ego Draconis? Infinite Discovery? Kingdom Under Fire? Lost Odyssey?, Tengai Makyou Ziria: Harukanaru Jipang? Kameo: Elements of Power? You get my point, I took liberty with some titles but not all the titles on your PS3 list aren't all commercial hits either. I'm not gonna even mention the exclusive DLC's and the dozens of great games only on xbox Live. Both systems have their advantages, but at least be fair when presenting both sides.

sstavros4
sstavros4

no no m fault sorry.... i wanted to compare ps2 with 360..my fault...i think in that case 360 must be better...hahahahahaa

ChudWarrior
ChudWarrior

You can take you incredibly lame pro ps3 comments to an incredibly lame pro ps3 forum and leave them off this article. Which is btw about an incredible Xbox 360 exclusive, and has nothing whatsoever to do with the ps3. I'm sorry it's not coming out on the ps3, but hey that's just the way it is. Don't be mad. Don't try and put the game down with the same old stupid comments: "looks like prototype, graphics look bad, I'm stupid..." Prototype came along well after the FIRST Crackdown was released, which was back in February of 2007. Which was also before Crysis 1 was released. The graphics are unique and are not really done any justice by the screen shots. If they are not your thing then thats fine. Sure there is a lot of sandbox games out there, but what ones can you do the entire campaign co-op with your friends(4 of them!), and play a basically super hero and not some dirty thug? Plus Ruffian games is an awesome development company formed from a rogue group of heroic individuals who worked on the first game. This games is going to be awesome. I can't wait. I'm having a blast in New Austin right now, but I'm sure by the time this comes out, a big city will be a nice change.

sstavros4
sstavros4

hahaahah you're so funny man!!!!