GSY PREVIEW | X360 Wednesday, May 26, 2010 | 5:10 PM

Gamersyde Preview: Crackdown 2

Gamersyde Preview: Crackdown 2

Crackdown 2 somehow seems to be able to be slightly forgotten compared to other exclusive titles, especially for a game which will be released in just a few more weeks, so Microsoft France decided to invite us to check it out a couple of weeks ago, with some of the developers from Ruffian available for questions.





Pacific City: It's been 10 years since the event of the first episode. As you can guess quite a few things have changed since then, like the place and role of the Agency, kind of forgotten now. Nowadays the city is under the influence of a terrorist organization named Cell, and chaos is back in the streets. The situation is made even more critical by the very aggressive mutants who roam the streets by night. Once again it's easy to see that the story is just a pretense for the upcoming murderous fights, and we shouldn't hope to ever get good directing or a narration of Alan Wake's quality.

Crackdown 2 is based on the same structure as its older brother: a city to explore looking for the precious orbs (green for agility, purple for driving, blue for fun) which will allow you to strengthen your character's abilities. Character evolution is still at the heart of the game, each statistics cut into multiple levels. You'll have to either collect the orbs, or simply use your weapons or drive vehicles to level up the hero and get him to become more and more powerful. Each level opens new possibilities, allowing the player to use new tactics for the various situations.



As for the new stuff, let's list them: the ability to pilot helicopters (requiring a 5 star driving level though), to skydive and to literally fly around for a little time, "renegade" orbs that have to be caught (either by driving or by foot) and that seem to replace the rooftops and car races of the first game, 4 player co-op (along with more classic multiplayer modes too), and of course new vehicles and weapons. Speaking about weapons, we got to see the magnetic grenades in action, reminding us a lot of Just Cause 2's grappling hook. It's possible to stick one of these grenades to a car, and another to a building, creating a electro-magnetic bolt that will hook the vehicle to the wall. It's also possible to stick a part of a streetlight to a car and to use it as a mace ball! Clearly Ruffian wanted to go all the way in creating the ultimate sandbox experience where the player's creativity will be rewarded.

However, in spite of these new ideas, it is hard not to get some sort of déjà-vu feeling when playing Crackdown 2. The main reason is that Ruffian Games decided to use the very same city. As big as it is, those who spent hours wandering in the streets of Pacific City in the first game will clearly find their way around very quickly. Sure, some new buildings have been built, some areas have also changed because they are now in ruins, but even so, it won't be long before Crackdown fans know the place like the back of their hand. The pleasure of discovery takes a bit of a hit here but thankfully, collecting orbs is just as fun and addictive as before.



The graphics and physics engines also look very similar to Crackdown's. The game keeps its cel-shaded personality, which is nice as it would have been very odd to lose such a visual identity, but we were under the impression that the city felt a bit empty during the daytime, especially compared with the likes of GTA 4, Protype or InFamous. At night though, when the freaks pop out, the streets get a lot busier, reminding the chaos of Prototype's Big Apple. The framerate is smooth overall, which should please those who lost their sight when playing GTA 4, but there were still a few hiccups and some pop-up issues with the build we had the chance to play. Animations look exactly the same as before and the main character's melee attacks are unfortunately still as stiff as ever. There is indeed a clear lack of impact in that area as it never really feels we are hitting hard. Even though melee combat is clearly not the main interest in the game, it would have been nice to see some improvement after three years. The jump animation and the climbing have not changed either, no really, technically, Crackdown 2 looks more like a copy/paste job than anything.

We also noticed a few problems with the auto-lock system, which made a few shootings a bit messy and the character would target monsters that were far behind in the crowd instead of aiming at the closest enemies. Hopefully, it will be fixed in time before the final version ships. Finally, we might be mistaken but, it seemed to us that explosions did not look as good as in the first game, which would be kind of a let down if it were not due to the build we tried.



General Impressions


It is hard to really get excited about Crackdown 2, despite obvious qualities. Paradoxical? Yes and no. This sequel should be at least just as fun as the first game, even more maybe if the multiplayer turns out to be good, but it still remains to be seen if it will have much to offer to those who played Crackdown and got the most of it three years ago. Will the new gadgets, the new vehicles and the new features be enough of an incentive to appeal to them? Maybe, but we will wait for the final version to make sure. When the first game was released, it was a pleasant surprise and it was something new. Since then though, games like Prototype and InFamous have raised the bar in terms of sensations and possibilities. It is probably a good thing to have borrowed a few ideas from other games like Just Cause 2, but players will need more to be convinced. It is now 2010 and they have gotten very picky on about just anything. I guess we will find out soon, as the game will be released in early July.

ViDoc 3

All comments

Page 1 2 >>
Commented on 2010-05-26 17:21:31
It's becoming very difficult to get excited about this game, especially after reading this:
Posted by Driftwood
As big as it is, those who spent hours wandering in the streets of Pacific City in the first game will clearly find their way around very quickly. Sure, some new buildings have been built, some areas have also changed because they are now in ruins, but even so, it won't be long before Crackdown fans know the place like the back of their hand. The pleasure of discovery takes a bit of a hit here
Very disappointing, I really can't believe they did this. Not so sure I'll be getting this one anymore...
Commented on 2010-05-26 17:25:20 In reply to Jato
Keep in mind that we only got to play the very beginning of the game and we did not have time to explore the whole city. Hopefully, the review build will make it to Blim's so we really know if the game is worth is for those who completed the first one.
Commented on 2010-05-26 17:27:18
As of now its becoming very difficult for me to get excited but not for that reason Jato,I think after AC2 and soon RDR,more of the same game will be no longer enough,yes it will be fun but for how long?

And explosions seems a downgrade :/ that was a huge part of teh fun in the first,oh well I hope for the best,Im still kinda excited for the coop.
Commented on 2010-05-26 17:38:39
Raised the bar? Neither infamous or Prototype did touch the Sandbox bar that Crackdown raised, as much as raised it, lol.

Loved that resume, as I read it backwards:
It is hard to not get excited about Crackdown 2, despite obvious flaws.

To each, each own. GOTY.
Commented on 2010-05-26 17:39:53
I for one don't care much about exploring. If the gameplay's good, I'll give it a shot.
Commented on 2010-05-26 17:44:51 In reply to Driftwood
Posted by Driftwood
Keep in mind that we only got to play the very beginning of the game and we did not have time to explore the whole city. Hopefully, the review build will make it to Blim's so we really know if the game is worth is for those who completed the first one.
I've also seen some comparison screenshots going around from various locations in the city, and it all seems way too familiar. I'll hold off my final judgement to see what the reviews have to say about this though...
Posted by IRAIPT0IR
As of now its becoming very difficult for me to get excited but not for that reason Jato,I think after AC2 and soon RDR,more of the same game will be no longer enough,yes it will be fun but for how long?
There's plenty of stuff this game has to improve upon to really get me excited, it's not just the rehashing of the city. For instance regarding agililty, I want to be able to jump much higher and further when fully upgraded than the first game allowed us and the game definitely needs some indoor environments. Plus, I'd like to see some kind of storyline/mission structure. It doesn't have to be fancy, but atleast something to keep me going.

Also, I hate fighting mutants...bores the shit out of me.
Commented on 2010-05-26 18:01:27 In reply to mattdamon
Again, why don't you write my articles so it's your opinion not mine?
Commented on 2010-05-26 18:02:01
Some animations upgrades would been nice I think,Prototype dude IMO was better animated that in this games and that shouldve been one of the main focus,rolling,backflips,all kinds of awesome cool animatios would make this more awesome and different even in the same city.
Commented on 2010-05-26 18:02:03
the fact that it's the same island has been my main concern from the very start. They can talk about giving it a new coat of paint all they want..that still doesnt offer the value of a completely new world to explore..especially when the first game was built around you learning every inch of the existing world.

I also dont like that they removed the cool visual progression of the morphing vehicles as you leveled up - that kept things abit fresh. A helicopter is definatly welcome though..and i can invision 4player co-op being great.

I think, at this point in time, alot of the concerns in the build played are more than likely here to stay for the retail release. Which would be a shame
Commented on 2010-05-26 18:15:43
Nice to read some grounded and honest impressions. I usually never read previews because they always seem to jump on the hype trains the community is riding.

Anyway, it reads just like how I feel about the game (minus Infamous and Prototype comparisons). I'm still reserving judgement since the issue could as well turn out to be a non-issue when I'm playing it with friends.
Commented on 2010-05-26 18:31:24 In reply to Viginti_Tres
I'm not really comparing the games, I'm just saying that we have played other "super powerful heroes" in other games since the first Crackdown was released and they have brought new types of sensations. On a certain level, Crackdown feels old-school. Don't get me wonrg, I loved the first game, but I also had a great time with InFamous and Prototype that had a real story.
Commented on 2010-05-26 18:57:17
Well, I got you wrong there. But for me, Crackdown never needed to have these qualities. I liked the first game because it was the very definition of a sandbox. You have an interesting environment, you have the toys and a few obstacles thrown in and you can do with it whatever you want to do.

If they can recapture that feeling, I'm all in. And really, I think this is what people who liked the first one are looking for in the second.
Commented on 2010-05-26 20:09:04
not looking forward to this. they've taken out a lot of the cool elements from the first game. and it's set in the same city, a major no-no in terms of open world games. you invest so much time into open world games that seeing the city again just seem lazy. i'd be pissed if infamous did it, and im pissed crackdown has done it. and no morphing cars....WTF is with that?
Commented on 2010-05-27 00:05:02
I'm pretty on the fence about this. Part of the appeal of the first was exploring this big environment. getting to the top of the agency tower, exploring other towers and such. It being the same city is a bit of a let down. I don't know, ultimately, whether there is much I can get, experience wise, from this new game that I haven't already got or could get from the first crackdwon.
Commented on 2010-05-27 04:29:28
Same City sounds really like a big let down !
Who came up with this genius idea over there ?

Sounds more like a remake now tome then a new game !
Sad !
Commented on 2010-05-27 07:15:41
Wow, sounds like they really dropped the ball on this game. The first one was fun, but nothing special. I can't see why the hell they would expect ppl to pay full price for this game w/ the same old city.

I'm really baffled as to why such decisions would be made...
Commented on 2010-05-27 08:28:41
It's not made by the original Crackdown developers (Real time Worlds).
Commented on 2010-05-27 10:23:04
sounds cheep to me for having the same city aging
Commented on 2010-05-27 11:43:20 In reply to KORNdog
Posted by Jato
I've also seen some comparison screenshots going around from various locations in the city, and it all seems way too familiar. I'll hold off my final judgement to see what the reviews have to say about this though...
Not to come off as a douche, but shouldn't final judgments be something reserved for when you actually play a game or at least the demo for a game.

Just saying is all. I mean a lot of the reviews for Alan Wake, would make you think the game was an average game at best. And I almost did not get it upon seeing the Metacritic aggregate score. On the advice from a friend who had it, got it anyway, and it's turned out to be some of the most fun, not to mention the most engrossing story I have enjoyed all year, if not all gen.

I guess my point is, everyone has an opinion. And reviews are just that, someone else's opinion. While they may serve as a decent guide toward what you may or may not like, they still can be way off from how you may have taken away from the same experience, as no two people think and feel exactly the same.

Hopefully, you will give Crackdown 2, and every game for that matter, the chance of an actual play-thru, before passing final judgement on it.

Posted by KORNdog
not looking forward to this. they've taken out a lot of the cool elements from the first game. and it's set in the same city, a major no-no in terms of open world games. you invest so much time into open world games that seeing the city again just seem lazy. i'd be pissed if infamous did it, and im pissed crackdown has done it. and no morphing cars....WTF is with that?
Gonna have to respectfully disagree with you on that one. They use the exact same city, Stilwater, in Saints Row 2 as they used in the original Saints Row, and SR2 turned out to be a much better game than the original.

It really depends on what they do with the city, which determines if they can get away with using the same one over.

In the case of SR2, the game takes place five years later, but they Volition Studios) added about 20 years worth of renovations to the entire city. There is a lot which is similar, and a lot which is familiar, but almost none of it is the same. So much so, that old sections of the city that I knew by memory from the first game, I actually got completely lost in upon playing SR2 for the first time. It also helps in the case of SR2, that Volition enlarged the size of Stilwater by 30%, adding in tons of new areas. The end result being, the whole place felt like a completely different city you have to memorize. With enough landmarks left over from the original game, to give it a sense of nostalgia - which was weird, experiencing nostalgia in a video game, but also a very nice effect, that few reviewers bothered to talk about.

So playing in the same city for the sequel, does not automatically equal a 'no-no', nor is it an indicator that the developers have been lazy. There are a lot of things Ruffian could have done to Pacific City to make it fresh all over again. We do know matter of factly from interviews, that they have increased the size of Pacific City, by as much as 40%. And that already is a good start. Depending on how they restructured the rest of the city to augment the addition of all the new areas, the end result could be something just as fresh as the first time you played in Pacific City back in 2007.

Remember, Drift stated, that they only allowed them (the press) to play a small section of Pacific City. Who knows what renovations Ruffian may have made to the rest of the city to make the experience of playing in it, feel new again.
Commented on 2010-05-27 12:27:42
Cool. Going to trade RDR to this since it's multiplayer turned out to be joke and singleplayer is long completed.
Commented on 2010-05-27 13:05:03 In reply to FreeSwag
Posted by FreeSwag
Not to come off as a douche, but shouldn't final judgments be something reserved for when you actually play a game or at least the demo for a game.
That's hardly being a douche. It's a fair assessment. ;)

Anyway, to answer your question: Ideally, yes. But if most reviews agree that the city feels very much the same as the first installment, than I don't see why I shouldn't accept that?

Also, unless there is a demo featuring the entire city, the only way to tell is from reviews, videos and user feedback. I'm sure as hell not going to buy the $60 game to find out for myself they've basicly rehashed the entire city.
Commented on 2010-05-27 13:23:32 In reply to FreeSwag
i thought saints row 2 was much MUCH worse. a game made for chavs basically, a bunch of meaningless minigames that made very little sence. but i'm firmly in the camp that thought GTA4 was a better game becasue it was grounded in reality, the stupidity of saints row 2 didnt do a thing for me. the first one was passible. the second was a disaster, made worse by the repeated city. sure they changed the odd thing or 2, but it was ultimately the exact same road structure and majority was the same buildings too. that's a no-no in my book. i'm yet to play an open world game where a re-used city was a good idea. crackdown 2 probably wont be the exception to that fact...but by all mean, continue to stay possitive. the screenshots alone are proof enough that its the same city, even down to the geometry used. there has been little to no effor involved in terms of the city itself. which frankly, is just sad.
Commented on 2010-05-27 14:56:39
the first crackdown was one of my favorite games for the 360, thanks to the awesome co-op. But everything i have seen from this game so far has been underwhelming, it just looks like a sloppy cash in more than a real sequel, and i can't belive that they used the same city again that is just lazy as hell.
Commented on 2010-05-28 00:16:38 In reply to FreeSwag
Posted by FreeSwag
Gonna have to respectfully disagree with you on that one. They use the exact same city, Stilwater, in Saints Row 2 as they used in the original Saints Row, and SR2 turned out to be a much better game than the original.
I personally found both saint rows terrible, glitch ridden, games. But i think Saints row 2 stood more of a chance of getting away with basing the game in stilwater because Saints row 1 didnt have a gameplay mechanic in it designed to have you explore every inch of the world for hours upon hours - like the much applauded Orb seeking did in Crackdown.
Commented on 2010-05-28 04:23:45 In reply to digi_matrix
Posted by digi_matrix
It's not made by the original Crackdown developers (Real time Worlds).
Actually, Crackdown 2 is developed by almost all the same leads from the first game. And a few guys from Bizarre Creations and Lionhead.
Page 1 2 >>

About the game


What's up?
  • GriftGFX
    GriftGFX Which adds a bit of a tactical RPG flair to it. The only JRPGs I like at all are tactics games like FFT and Tactics Ogre. (7 minutes ago)
  • GriftGFX
    GriftGFX @asdfg: In Divinity, you're given a certain number of AP (action points) to spend each turn, so beyond your combat options you also need to worry about party placement and monster movement. (8 minutes ago)
  • GriftGFX
    GriftGFX @asdfg: Nah, a lot of JRPGs don't even factor placement into it.. and just give you a contextual menu to pick from a limited number of options. (9 minutes ago)
  • alimokrane
    alimokrane @GriftGFX: more like strategy instead of button mashing (16 minutes ago)
  • GriftGFX
    GriftGFX MAGIC/ATTACK/RETREAT? (16 minutes ago)
  • alimokrane
    alimokrane Nothing to do with hair and dinosaurs.. it's all about the combat for me. (20 minutes ago)
  • rayy
    rayy @asdfg: well yeah maybe the difference are only aesthetics. I dont know I just feel they are not the same as western rpgs. Maybe is just the hair and beards :P (29 minutes ago)
PreviousNext
  • Game2k
    Game2k You can watch all GamesCom 2014 press conference on GSY. (7 Weeks ago)
  • Game2k
    Game2k Watch all E3 conferences here at Gamersyde. We'll news them 15 min. before they go live. (> 3 Months ago)
  • BlimBlim
    BlimBlim Big update of the game pages, it's now much simpler to find videos and images of a game :) (> 3 Months ago)
  • Driftwood
    Driftwood 4 videos added to our Left Behind Review. Spoiler free obviously. (> 3 Months ago)
  • Driftwood
    Driftwood PC video of the TitanFall beta now up. Incoming X1 footage. (> 3 Months ago)
  • FireWire
    FireWire Good stuff blim! (> 3 Months ago)
  • BlimBlim
    BlimBlim Coming tomorrow, our PS4 videos of Knack, COD Ghost, AC4, Lego Marvel and the demo of Fifa 14! (> 3 Months ago)
PreviousNext
Top stories