Here's the ten essential facts you need to arm yourself up with for your missions in Pacific City, but if you need to know more, be sure to
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IT HAS A STORY
Crackdown's story could be summarised in a single sentence and that sentence would look very much like this: "Hard bastard kills every criminal in Pacific City, inadvertently supporting a totalitarian state." If you had a second sentence to play around with, it would read "The End". Crackdown 2 is having none of that - half the city's population has been mutated into night-crawling freaks, the Agency is being raked over the coals for corruption, and the terrorist group blamed for unleashing the plague might not be as responsible for the curiously agent-like mutations as you're being told.
IT'S NOT MADE BY FRUSTRATED FILM MAKERS
As Crackdown 2's Producer James Cope has it, the team at Ruffian games aren't "frustrated film makers. We definitely see the story as being a frame for the action," says Cope. "We don't want to keep getting in the player's way or stopping the action to tell them a long story. We like blowing stuff up and want players to be blowing stuff up." Without cutscenes or endless explanatory chats, Crackdown's story is told using discarded audio logs and by the Agency's faceless boss over your radio.
IT'S A TOTAL OVERHAUL
While Realtime Worlds continued their work on acronym-tastic PC MMO APB, a team broke off to form Ruffian games and work with Microsoft on Crackdown 2. With close links between the two companies, Ruffian overhauled the game's engine to handle hundreds of onscreen enemies without even the slightest drop in frame rate, rebuilt the netcode to support four players, and used the original city as a base upon which to build a whole new world. 50% of Ruffian's staff are former Realtime developers who all worked together on the original game.
IT'S EASIER, IN A GOOD WAY
It sometimes felt as though Crackdown was brilliant more by accident than design. Levelling up was massively unbalanced and it took forever to get your combat and driving levels to the point where you could chuck a truck or drive the Agency's transforming cars in their toughest forms. Crackdown 2 rebalances the whole system and loads the night-time streets with so many freaks that you can't help but level up your driving skills as you Carmageddon your way through Pacific City.
IT'S ONE THOUSAND METRES HIGH
The tallest building in Crackdown 2's new city is Hope Tower in Unity Heights - at 500 metres tall it's a full hundred metres higher than the original game's Agency HQ - but it's not the highest point in the world. Pacific City extends another 500 metres upwards in a space occupied by choppers and gliding agents, and 500 metres underground into caverns populated by freaks. It adds up to a rather impressive 1.5km of vertical space from which to drop a truck onto an old dear.
IT SUPPORTS FOUR PLAYERS, ALL THE TIME
Crackdown was a great game on your own but like nights out, training at the gym, and sex, it was better with a friend. Every game which began with two players storming through the campaign missions ended as a recreation of Superman 2's bus-chucking superhuman punch-up when one player inevitably and 'accidentally' belted the other with the broad side of an SUV. Crackdown 2 raises the number of players to four, the potential for griefing to one hundred, and, probably, the odds of success in any mission to zero.