I can see my house from here!
It has been three years since Crackdown was vaulted into the spotlight for sporting the Halo 3 demo. It later took the spotlight in its own right for being the poster boy for emergent sandbox gameplay, spawning a series of imitators which tried to capture Crackdowns free wheeling gameplay, or perhaps take a cue from it and go off in its own direction. Now a lot of these games have seen the light in the past three years with varying degrees of success, but many improving on the the originator Crackdown. Crackdown 2 has taken a different approach. Instead of turning the genre on its ear again, the developers at Ruffian seem to have taken an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach. This approach has met with, in my opinion, mixed results.
Now I would like to preface that last statement that at the end of the day, I really like Crackdown 2. I like it because it has taken the best parts of Crackdown and tweaked them to give us a greater tool set in the sandbox with more objectives and more things to collect. Crackdown 2 has also given us more multiplayer. There is now four player co-op and 16 player modes. Unfortunately beyond what I just mentioned and the laundry list of things to collect in the game I do not think they made significant enough improvements to the game to call it a sequel or perhaps even to charge a full retail price.
Pacific City in the first Crackdown if vibrant, colourful, and frenetic. The things that I saw in that game just with the A.I. interacting with the other A.I.’s was crazy and hilarious. Through the Agents and the Gangs into the mix and and you have some emergent experiences you just do not see in the new game. The colourful, wonderfully textured city of the original truly outshines new Pacific Cities’ drab skyline and near post-apocalyptic, zombie (freak) infested streets. I have recently been going back and forth between the two games and if you do the same you will find that Real Time World’s rendition of Pacific City is superior to Ruffian’s take.
At the end of the day the following is what I wish would have happened. Rather than a sequel, I would rather have seen Crackdown 1.5. The original game with Crackdown 2’s gameplay additions as well as some of the other improvements they made behind the scene (in particular, multiple save games), rotating and additional collectable, as well as downloadable mission packs. All this and a $40 price tag and I think we would have had the new Crackdown we have waited three years for. At lease we do have a new Crackdown, and while it is far from perfect and perhaps not up to the chops of the first game, you will still find a lot to do and enjoy in the dilapidated Pacific City of the future.