I fucking called it, Crackdown 2 sucks the sweaty bald spot on the bottom of a man's ballsack, at least when it is compared to the first game.
Now, I'm nowhere near forgiving when it comes to videogames. In fact, my judgement can be harsh and overly-critical at times, but we're talking about the sequel to one of my favorite games this generation! I was wanting this game to make me all moist in my trousers, so it wasn't through lack of hype that I realized this game would not be very good.
I simply read between the lines.
Before the game came out, my two biggest complaints seemed small and petty to other people. I was beefing on the game for having a crap soundtrack and poor character design in the case of the Agent. Now, things like that matter to me more than most other people in the first place, but it does tie in to the overall game in some subtle ways. I was mainly beefing on the inclusion of a Johnny Cash song to the Crackdown 2 soundtrack. Most people would argue that you can't judge an entire soundtrack by one song.
I say you can, as long as you read between the lines.
Personal taste aside (i.e. I think Johnny Cash is shit), the addition of country rockabilly music to a game like Crackdown is just plain wrong. That'd be like adding gangsta rap to Portal, it just would not fit with the game whatsofuckingever. And no soundtrack has ever had only one song of a particular genre, so I knew there would be more country and rock-n-roll where that came from. Turns out I was right (as usual), seeing as how the full soundtrack list also boasts names such as Bob Dylan and Blue Oyster Cult.
Not to mention that the addition of this type of music would say further things about the entire soundtrack, and even perhaps the game beyond that. After all, anyone stupid enough to add rockabilly to Crackdown 2 must not be very good at compiling a good soundtrack. Lo and behold, I was right again! Whereas the first Crackdown boasted a songlist of over 100 tracks, all from great underground electronica and latin musicians, the list of songs for Crackdown 2 is a pitiful 50+ songs, consisting of a honey-nut clusterfuck of songs from random genres that not only fail at fitting the setting of the game, but don't even mesh well with the other songs. Because Public Enemy goes so well with Bob Dylan, don't it?
And to think I deduced all of this from one song on the list. How did I do it?
I read between the-- ok you get the idea.
Another early complaint I had about the game was the fully-armored look for the Agent. Again, some of it was pure personal preference, but most of it was because I saw the new Agent as a complete downgrade from the original. The first Agent in Crackdown looked the part perfectly, a super-powered law enforcer, like Judge Dredd on steroids. What does Crackdown 2's Agent look like? Well, he looks more like a third-rate Master Chief clone than anything resembling a cop of the future. So what does this say about the game once you "read between the lines?" Well, for starters it, like the soundtrack, showed that Ruffian, the developer of Crackdown 2, cared little, if at all, about the setting and tone of the Crackdown universe, as laid down by Realtime Worlds, the people who made the first Crackdown. It also showed a game design downgrade, as now the character customization would be less than the first game, and less is never a good thing in terms of sequels.
Whereas in Crackdown 1, you were given a multitude of unique faces and identities to choose from, in Crackdown 2, you get to choose from a limited list of palette-swaps for the color of your armor! Awesome! Oh, and whereas Crackdown 1's character selection featured very unique-looking characters of various origins, including Viking, Goth, Awesome Black Guy who's on the game cover, and others, Crackdown 2 boasts a total of 4 selectable characters, those being generic white guy, generic black guy, OTHER generic white guy, and generic Asian guy. The character models themselves were downright hideous, which actually made me appreciate the fact that your very first skill upgrade covers your Agent's head permanently behind a helmet, never to be seen again, which of course makes selecting character heads in the first place completely fucking meaningless.
What does this have to do with reading between the lines? Well, if they fucked up this bad on something as (relatively) simple as character design, and render entire portions of their own game design moot, what hope is there for the more intricate and complex parts of the game?
I'm just saying, ignoring even the littlest bits of info will cost you dearly once the game's release comes around the corner and you have to decide whether or not to blow 60 bucks on the game. By the time of Crackdown 2's release, I had already prepared for a game that was far inferior to its predecessor, and thus when the demo came, I expected it. Of course, I was right again. Reviewers be fucked, a game cannot be forgiven for the number of fucked-up bullshit this goddamn game had, just in the motherfucking demo. Magx said he had fun with the demo, so he must have downloaded the Crackdown 1 demo by accident or some shit! A lock-on system as broken as hell that seemed to have an intense fixation with empty stationary vehicles, manual aiming that does jack shit, continuous grinding mission objectives, it's fucking horrible, and had I not been expecting all of this before the demo's release, I might have tried to convince myself the demo was somehow wrong, seeing as how I actually did want this game to succeed, and thus I would have wasted 60 bucks on a sequel far inferior to the game I already own. This game isn't the godsend I thought it would be a year ago, it's a Cthulhu-send. I'm guessing magx wasn't so ready, hence why he has become so traumatized by the conundrum of Crackdown 2 not being a gift from the god neither one of us believes exists. It's ok, I'm here for you magx... and your wallet, but nevermind that for now.
Some people say never judge a game until it's released, that's bullshit. I had already expected the game to be less than I hoped before the demo came out, not because of the information about the game given at the time, but more so the information that wasn't directly stated, but could still be deduced from what they did say outright. As I said:
Read between the lines!