Crackdown may have not been the perfect game but it did manage to generate a huge cult following for itself. Sure it got a tad repetitive along the way but there’s no denying the fact that the game was an utter blast as both you and a friend went around Pacific City kicking criminal butt co-operatively. And then there was the whole ‘collecting orbs to power up’ bit that converted gamers into obsessed orb collectors for days on end.

Content with the way the first game played out developer Ruffian Studios haven’t deviated from the successful formula. You still collect orbs, kill enemies, power up and pull off all sorts of crazy stuff. That doesn’t mean there aren’t a whole bunch of significant tweaks made to the game. You can now pick up pretty much any object and use it like a weapon and your repertoire of weapons has been vastly improved to include UAV versions of your existing arsenal (Blade would be proud).

Like its predecessor Crackdown 2 includes a day and night cycle but in Crackdown 2, the time of day influences the kind of enemies you would encounter in the game world. During the day you’ll fight criminals, overtake gang strongholds, uphold mob bosses etc but in the night you’ll be cleaning the streets from zombie scum called Freaks. Wait what! Oh yeah, that’s right. Your actions in Crackdown unleashed all sorts of freaks from the research facility onto the streets of Pacific City and it’s your job to clean it up. At any given point in time you’ll encounter hundreds of these freaks roaming the streets and running them over is highly cathartic.

While car handling has been greatly improved from the first game, combat – especially the lock on system felt a bit clunky and unresponsive. Maybe it’ll improve as I level my agent up but I’ll have to wait for the full game to test that theory out. Visually I was disappointed with what I saw. Crackdown stood out from the crowd at the time thanks to its cel shaded art style that hasn’t been improved for the sequel; in fact they’ve gone with a darker, grittier color palette that really doesn’t suit this game. Texture work and character models feel extremely bland as well but then again the game does render hundreds of enemies on screen compromising quality for quantity.

From what I’ve seen the sequel outdoes its predecessor in nearly every way except for the visuals. There’s a lot more variety thrown up in there and even if you don’t have three friends to co-op with, I’m sure you’ll spend hours on end collecting orbs once again.

The Crackdown 2 demo is now available via Xbox Live. It has a 30 minute timer and can be played co-operatively by four players.