Wednesday, February 16, 2011

CRACKDOWN 2: This Time It's... the Same As Last Time?

We should be honest with ourselves: No one bought the original Crackdown because they thought it was going to be an awesome game. I would venture a purely unscientific guess that 90% of the gamers that picked up that game got it strictly for the Halo 3 beta. I respect that. However, players who ignored Crackdown and only played the Halo3 beta missed out on a fun game from the earlier days of the 360. It featured an open world sandbox-style environment, multiple ways to beat the game, fun mini games, good writing, and even an unexpected twist at the end. All in all, Crackdown was a great game that offered hours of entertainment and was a completionists dream game. Everyone expected a sequel to come down the pipeline due to the games sales figures, relative popularity, and the cliffhanger ending. That sequel never came.

Rumors Rumors floated around for a couple of years. Would they? Wouldn’t they? Finally it seemed that the game was dead and buried when this quote from producer Phil Wilson came out in 2007:
Microsoft was a little late in stepping up to the plate to ask for Crackdown 2, and by then we had already started working on bigger, better things.
It should be noted that, included in those bigger and better things, they created one of the biggest video game flops since the Atari E.T. cartridge. Dejected, I moved on in my gaming. I kept the original Crackdown around for the occasional casual play, but it largely just sat on the shelf gathering dust. Then, long after I had forgotten all about my genetically altered adventures in Pacific City, the stars aligned (and turned me into a freaking Gemini) and a sequel was announced! I was very excited about the prospects of this new game. The original looked great three years ago, think what they could do with a revamped or new engine! The plot twist at the end just begged for a continuation. What new place would we see the genetically altered Peace Keeper Agents running amok and generally blowing the shit out of everything in?

Well, funny thing, we wouldn’t see a new place. The graphics wouldn’t be updated either. Also, the plot would basically be exactly the same as the first game: Go into an area, kill bad guys. Go to next area, weakened by your first attack. Repeat. This game is what should have happened 6 months after the first game came out, released as DLC to hold us over until the good sequel came out. 

There were a few good things to come out of this game. 
  1. The wingsuit was a pretty cool addition and a great way to add some extra interest in exploring the city. Again.
  2. Two Words: Jet. Boots.
  3. The soundtrack featured some great/odd remixes of bands and artists as diverse as R.E.M., Blue Oyster Cult, and (wait for it...) Johnny 'The Man In Black' Cash. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!
Hopefully they can make a third game that is amazing and fun to play and can serve as an apology to the loyal fans who plunked down sixty bucks for this boring-ass sequel (full disclosure: I bought this game used for $15)

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