I recently downloaded the demo for Crackdown 2 and found myself very confused. No, the demo itself isn’t confusing; in fact, our narrator tells us what to do with a lot of tongue firmly in cheek, and you can either go after the main demo missions or just run around collecting orbs, jumping off buildings, and shooting freaks until the allotted thirty minutes of free gameplay is up. That I can do. Where I’m struggling here is with the game itself: I just don’t get it.
I never really tried the first Crackdown, save for downloading the demo and running through it once or twice. That one is not timed and is basically just an open world to run around and explore. You can throw cars and shoot people and climb buildings. Had a very arcade-like feel to it, and the graphics were certainly that of the first generation of games for the Xbox 360. Good, not great. And overhead, always there, was the implication that you had to make your own fun in Crackdown.
That seemed to carry over with Crackdown 2. I entered the demo and immediately started shooting people. I was told they were bad, and thus they deserved to get shot. Had to secure the area and all that jazz. A big problem here though–and this is mostly because I’m now spoiled by Borderlands where every gun has a different feel and recoil to it–is that firing weapons felt fairly hollow. I had a hard time even telling if I was hitting these dudes, and then there’s the close-quarter-combat, which, if I can be honest here, felt like my agent was punching a department store mannequin. There’s no sense of realism, and I understand that’s a silly thing to expect from a game like Crackdown 2, but without it everything just comes across as goofy and cartoonish. Driving cars, jumping from rooftop to rooftop, even throwing a grenade; I just didn’t like the way it felt. I guess it’s harder to explain, but there’s a deep love and following for Crackdown 2, and I don’t understand why. The demo graphics did not seem to be a big upgrade from the first game, and the sequel’s big twist is the addition of “freaks” at night, also known as zombies.
Why must every game add zombies now (hi, Dead Rising, Dead Space, Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2, Plants vs. Zombies, and The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned)? They are not the new fun. Try something else. Add…oh, I don’t know…mutated sheep monsters. Anything but more undead!
One interesting thing about the demo is that you can unlocked demo Achievements. Basically, these are the same Achievements in the full retail game, but you can unlock them now, and then they will pop and add to your gamerscore once you buy Crackdown 2. It’s a nice incentive and something I hope other demos will look into trying out. I unlocked two of them, but will never see truly get them as this is most definitely not my kind of game. I’m still have a hard time figuring out why.