The original Crackdown was literally crack for me. I knew deep down that the game wasn’t good for me, but I still would spend hours climbing buildings and looking for orbs while throwing buses at random thugs. I was surprised by the announcement of the sequel, and pleased to hear they ramped up the online aspect of the game and included four player co-op. A lot has changed in Crackdown 2, but the same sweet hit of addictive game play is still there.

Crackdown 2 is an open world third person sandbox title that has you playing the role of a super powered Agent. Basically they put a super hero inside of a master chief suit from Halo and let them loose in GTA. The best part is they allow you collect experience and orbs which make your character grow in power and skills. You gain experience from doing things in the game, shooting enemies gives you gun skill points, using explosives gives you explosives, beating people with your fists gives you strength, running over people in cars adds to your driving (the DMV totally doesn’t follow that logic) and jumping and climbing around the city to find hidden agility orbs adds to your agility. There are 5 levels to each skill, opening up new game play mechanics, like being able to jump higher, lift bigger objects, driver better cars or use better weapons.

The game really doesn’t get too complicated, the missions are very simple and usually consist of going to a point, killing everything and waiting for a timer to go down. You have to turn on some beacons, hidden up on the roofs of buildings by standing on a switch plate until it powers up. You have to find about 26 of them to turn on all the power networks in the city. Then you have to secure tactical zones, again about the same number by clearing out human gangs. You also have to enter “freak” zones with mutants that are apparently popping out of the ground and setup some sunshine bombs that flush them out. That’s about it so far, you run around doing all this to setup Agency Tower.

The missions never change, but they are different when you play them. Enemies will get larger and crowds will get bigger. Human enemies get rocket launchers, turrets and some of them are decked out in heavy armor which looks awesome and proves to be a huge pain in the ass to tackle, even fully powered up. Freaks come in a few flavors too, the normal ones are not much of a problem and it is actually fun to plow through them and hear them squish in your car, it reminds me a lot of Carmageddon!  Some freaks explode on contact while others get huge and Hulk like. During the sunshine bomb missions, a massive freak comes out and takes a ton of damage to put down.

I was finding the game really hard to beat alone and actually needed friends to join me to help beat certain missions. The 4 player co-op is the best addition to the game. Friends can jump in or out at any time in your world and help you defeat missions. They can also collect orbs because the game allows them to find their own orbs in your world, even if you collected them already. Plus the online orbs only appear when another friend is around. Multiplayer achievements are available too. The party bus is a fun one to get.

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