So here we are back in Pacific City, the glorious city of the future guarded by the Agency and now home to derelict buildings that would make your average dystopian futurist proud. Crackdown 2 takes place 10 years after the original and Pacific City is under the domination of a freak virus, a mutagen that has turned a lot of its population into blood crazed zombie-like monsters. The Agency has reactivated its Agent Program in an attempt to clean up the streets once again.
Only this time thereís a human resistance movement called Cell, Cell are getting in the way of things so itís up to you, Agent, to put down Cell and the Freaks at the same time. You do this by activating absorption units and beacons across the city, whilst empowering your agent through the Ďskills for killsí mechanic that was so prevalent in the first game. In essence itís a remake of Crackdown with new weapons, new abilities and a larger version of Pacific City this time around, one thatís tumbled into rack and ruin.
The control system is the same but gone are the morphing Agency vehicles (boo) replaced by lack-lustre counterparts and a vanilla driving experience. Whilst it might echo Carmageddon at night when the Freaks come out to play, vehicles are no more than improvised throwing weapons when you evolve your agentís strength to its physical peak. Just like in Crackdown you have you various skills.
Agility: is raised by collecting orbs strewn around the city, get 100 in one particular level of the skill and youíll raise it to the next marker. There are renegade skill orbs that run away from you and rooftop races that give you a nice bonus should you complete them in time. Your running speed and jumping height raises each level. Get to level 5 and youíll unlock the Wing Suit.
Firearms: is raised by killing bad guys, and lowered by shooting civilians. Getting higher firearms unlocks more weapons to play with.
Strength: is raised by hand to hand kills, get a high enough strength and youíll be able to lift bigger things, use mounted weapons by ripping them from their mountings, shoulder barge enemies at high speed and performing a ground pound move that smashes lots of foes in one. You also gain extra health for the agent.
Explosives: is raised by chaining explosions, using explosives to kill masses of enemies and explosive weapons like the rocket launcher. Higher tiers give you more boom to play with and bigger explosive radius and damage.
Driving: is raised by doing stunts, hitting jump markers and ploughing through enemies in a vehicle. Get a level and youíll unlock a new vehicle to play with, get to level 5 and you can take the Agency Tank for a spin. You can gain more driving skill if you catch renegade driving orbs.
Once you get to max level donít think youíre nigh on unstoppable, there are still things that can give you a serious beat-down. You can fall farther, you can take more damage but you can still die if you mess up and underestimate the challenge of a situation. Talking of challenges, there are several, there are Wing Suit glide markers, there are rooftop races, driving races and there are tactical locations to win back. Cell has various strongholds throughout Pacific City and each time you take a tac-location in a Stronghold you weaken it, get all the tac-locations and you can win the Stronghold for the Agency, you get a shiny marker and a place to call in weapons and vehicles, you can also store Cell weapons and vehicles there, along with civilian vehicles.
Dying isnít an issue, you just respawn where you want or at the nearest location. You will need to repeat the activity again though, unless youíre playing in multiplayer and have other friends working on the same goal.
Crackdown 2ís gameplay is basically short on story, high on action and if you like to grind your powers until youíre an ultimate badass powerhouse, then this is the game for you. Thereís one little secret that weíll give away right here, get your Agility up to 5 as soon as you can, you can gain access to the Agency Chopper and how to do this is simple, you need to look at the Agency Tower and youíll see a circular helipad with 4 choppers parked on it. Now with a bit of acrobatic leaping you can climb the tower and get to a high point, glide over with the Wing Suit and get yourself a helicopter.
It is also possible to ferry up to 3 people on one. Wait for your pilot to come down low enough so that the chopperís legs fold down, then face the crossbar and hit the Y button. If youíve done it right youíll attach to the chopper. Useful if you want to get the Chopper Stomper achievement or just drop in on the Freaks unannounced.
There are also Freak Breaches that you can clear once you deal with a beacon zone; you can purge these during the night only. It is also important to note that you only get the Freaks at night when the sun goes down, daylight is lethal to them. During the day youíll get Cell.