Crackdown 2 is the smoking of video games: it epitomizes the moral that just because something is addictive that doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Once every enemy is fallen and every orb safely collected, you’ll be left drained of any energy with only a sickly feeling to keep you company.
Back in 2007, Crackdown offered an exciting vertical take on the open world genre, letting players explore a 3D space in a whole new way. During the past three years, several challengers to its crown have stormed the scene, with Saints Row 2’s ridiculous mayhem, Infamous’ empowering combat, Just Cause 2’s expanse, and Gay Tony’s resurrected Grand Theft Auto chaos all moving the genre forward. Not only does Crackdown 2 fall behind these challengers in almost every areas, but it also stands rigidly still. Many will deem it ‘Crackdown 1.5’, but that credits this game too highly. Crackdown 2 is more like a remastering of its predecessor, albeit one bereft of any imagination or spice of variety.
It doesn’t help that Crackdown 2 is set in the overwhelming familiarity of Pacific City. Take away the attractive cel-shaded style, the texture touch-ups, and the cosmetic deformations of certain buildings, and you might think yourself a time traveler. Familiarity doesn’t always have to breed contempt, but overwhelming familiarity often leads to boredom. So when you take on your first enemy and realize that the ham-fisted lock-on shooting has returned, you’re already a little weary.