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Crackdown 2 X10 Preview: Taking It Higher

I got a look at Crackdown 2 led by the game's producer James Cope here at Microsoft's X10 showcase. In his introduction, he talked about their hope that the game's fairly simple overall objective will help keep that sense of freedom--to just go nuts--that made the first so popular while providing some motivation to keep moving people through the game.

That objective is "Project Sunburst," an Agency initiative to assemble a massive energy weapon that can be used to clean up the streets en masse.

The weapon's necessary parts have been captured by the terrorist "Cell" faction and are secured in strongholds around the city. Part of the tactical play to recover them involves capturing intermediary positions that, once taken, can be reinforced and turned into forward supply points. Getting the pieces then follows a similar process of cleaning out the enemies protecting it and then calling in a helicopter to make the pickup.

Recognizing that players of the original Crackdown loved climbing to city's highest points, looking around, and then jumping, the team put more and taller skyscrapers in the city. But if that's not high enough, a helicopter can be used as a skydiving platform from even higher up. The wing suit adds a glider-like flight ability to free fall and, with careful management of momentum, can be used to fly great distances. As Cope showed in a brief co-op, tandem skydiving and doing stunts holds loads of potential.

Cope went out of his way to note that they ripped this build right from the studio without preparation, but it needed no apologies. Views across the city sectors showed of its expanse, and the destruction was in full effect. The unleashed hordes of genetic freaks provide a tremendous amount of cannon fodder to unload on or just run down. There should be plenty to keep a co-op group of four happily ripping about the city for hours when Crackdown 2 comes out sometime later this year.

The first title out of relatively new development studio Ruffian Games, Crackdown 2 is an Xbox 360 exclusive. A public demo is expected to arrive before the game hits.

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