Crackdown 2 Review

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Pacific City needs your help

★★★★★

With its mutant monsters, wild weapons, maniacal multiplayer and pumped-up heroes that can leap tall buildings in a single bound, Crackdown 2 promises action fans a world of thrills. Sadly, it only partially delivers on its promises.

While exploring the crime-ridden urban sprawl of Pacific City is huge fun – especially as your hero’s powers evolve as you collect orbs around town, in turn allowing you to use ever-more exciting moves – your vertical shenanigans are hampered by dodgy climbing action. Scaling skyscrapers is a particular source of stress as you constantly worry about slipping at a crucial moment. And while getting to know your way around the maze of streets is by far the most rewarding part of the Crackdown experience, a poor sense of storytelling and a narrator who often repeats himself undermines the exploration, to the point where you eventually start wondering why the hell you should keep playing through a story you really don’t care for.

Elsewhere, the explosive combat quickly becomes repetitive and tiresome, with your super-powered cop able to defeat most enemies with his basic weapons or a well-placed punch, while most other aggressors are easily dispatched with a blast from a rocket launcher. Unrealistic explosions that often leave your hero bouncing around the streets for extended periods also adds to the frustration, while the ability to self-heal just by ducking behind buildings and hiding for a few minutes can lead to cheesy gameplay strategies and rob set-pieces of much of their challenge.

On a brighter note, the four-player co-operative mode is a riot, especially when you and your pals have mastered a range of outrageous stunts and can show-off in Crackdown 2’s stylish sandbox world. And while the single-player game doesn’t have what it takes to grip you until the end, the multiplayer mode will keep you coming back to the game for months to come.