After the events of the first game, a viral outbreak began to turn the citizens of Pacific City into despicable mutants, affectionately referred to as the Freaks. While Cell runs things during the day, the city is surrendered to the Freaks at night. As soon as the sun sets, the creatures pour out of the woodwork, cluttering the streets and sidewalks with their aimless lumbering. At times, there'll be literally hundreds of enemies on screen at once, surging towards you like a zombified hive of bees. While the frame-rate seemed to hold up admirably under these conditions, the low-poly character models looked less than admirable up close. Still, such numbers of enemies wouldn't have been possible with high-poly models, and you'd lose out on the joy of mowing down hundreds of mutants in an Agency super car.
Visually, it wasn't just the character models that had me worried. The game as a whole seemed to have lost some of its charm on its way to becoming a sequel. Perhaps it was just me, but it didn't feel like the Crackdown I knew and loved. It was hard to put my finger on exactly how, but visually, the game was a disappointment.
The customisation aspects at the start of the game felt lacklustre too, with very few attributes that could be tweaked to inject some personality into an agent. There was a stock of perhaps four or five face types, each one more unattractive than the last. I was in one of those situations where I would never be happy with the character I was about to create. Thankfully, my agent's shortcomings in the facial department were of no consequence in the grand scheme of things, as it wasn't long before my efforts in game were rewarded with armour upgrades, the first of which being a menacing face mask. I looked bad-ass.
My concerns about Crackdown 2 were short-lived, quickly fading into the background as I slipped into the familiar routine of levelling up my Agent. Like many others, my fondest memories of the original game are of the obsessive hunt for agility orbs. The 'crack of Crackdown', as they became known, have returned for the sequel. 500 of the blighters, in fact, placed in awkward and seemingly inaccessible spots all around the city. Whilst primarily serving to increase your agility (collect enough and you'll 'level up', increasing your jump height and movement speed), the orbs also make the often laborious task of traversing the game that much more entertaining.
Crackdown 2 also introduces Renegade orbs, which aren't half as easy to snap up as their static counterparts. Renegade orbs require a much more active pursuit to obtain, as they flit about the city with complete disregard for your patience. Catching these will require all of your skill as an Agent, providing the game with even more of the challenge that Ruffian was so keen to bring to the sequel.