Saturday, October 9, 2010

Lazy agents and kosher beats

Well, that was just barely amusing.

All of the 'story' missions in Crackdown 2 were finished in just a little over eight hours. That pretty anemic for a sandbox game, especially when all of the non-story missions are boring. Supposedly there was a winged suit hiding in the world somewhere, but I either never found it or never ground my agents abilities up high enough to earn it. After about three or four levels there just was not reason to go searching for glowing orbs anymore. Plus once I could get the homing missiles from every drop point no other weapon was worth my time. There was something of a boss encounter in the end, but it was filled with the same freaks that I had been fighting for the rest of the game, just with more hitpoints. Honestly, if this came out as a twenty dollars expansion to the original Crackdown (and came out two years ago) it would have been a good time. Now? It feels empty and low budgeted, which is odd coming form Microsoft Game Studios.

There was only one 'wow' moment in the entire thing, and even that was less of a 'wow' and more of a 'well, that was cooler than everything else that has happened, which still isn't saying much.' After defending the agency tower from freak invaders (who just happen to be infected agents from the previous game, an idea that would have made sense if used in the beginning, thus creating natural bosses to go out and hunt, but feels needlessly tacked on and silly this way) the leader of the only other faction in the game shows up in a helicopter, ready to start blowing shit up. The faceless narrator yells at you, in cut scene form, to stop her no matter what. The agent leaps off the top of the tower, firing a machine gun at the copter as he falls. He succeeds in forcing it to break off the attack, but neglects to avoid the spinning blade. It a moment more graphic than the rest of the game combined, he is hamburgerized, the largest piece remaining being a hand that lands in the cockpit as it makes an emergency landing.

You can see where this is going. After the credits the hand is shown in a lab, setting up Crackdown 3 where you are a cloned agent working for the other side. This is all fine and good, but it defeats the entire purpose of a sandbox game by killing the character you want to wander around as. Take Red Dead Revolver: yes, John Marston dies, but you are introduced to and play as his son in an excellent final chapter, so when being allowed to free roam as him makes sense. In Crackdown 2 the only way for them to make the free roam work is to reset time back to before the final mission. This is just lazy story telling in a game that has been lazy from beginning to end, and I am glad that it only took eight hours.

I wish I had a good game to play, but Naughty Bear is next, a game added to the list just because it was produced by the same guys who did Wet. And after that is Quantum Theory, which most reviews have placed somewhere between cringe worthy and actual self abuse. Neither of these may matter, as I have to decide very soon is Activision gets any more of my money with DJ Hero 2 dropping very soon.

There better not be any pig men in it.

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