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Crackdown 2

Platform(s): Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: Ruffian Games
Release Date: July 6, 2010 (US), July 9, 2010 (EU)


Xbox 360 Review - 'Crackdown 2' Toy Box DLC

by Adam Pavlacka on Dec. 1, 2010 @ 12:30 a.m. PST

Crackdown 2 will take multiplayer gaming to unprecedented levels for the ultimate cooperative and competitive multiplayer experience, providing you and your friends with the complete freedom to explore, destroy and play as you return to restore justice and peace to Pacific City — by any means necessary.

One of the most popular modes in the original Crackdown was something that wasn't even in the original game. Keys to the City was a full set of cheats that could be enabled or disabled at will, essentially giving players full access to just about everything in the world. Much like the first game, Keys to the City wasn't included in Crackdown 2 by default, but rather added to the game by way of the Toy Box DLC.

What's interesting about the Toy Box is the method in which Microsoft chose to make it available. Instead of a single pack, players have their choice of a free Toy Box as well as a paid version. Unlike many other games, where the free version of a DLC pack typically serves to allow for compatibility in multiplayer match-ups, here the free Toy Box actually includes a decent amount of content.

The biggest addition is the aforementioned Keys to the City mode. Included as part of the free Toy Box, Keys to the City appears as a separate mode on the main menu when you start the game. Selecting Keys to the City is much like starting a standard game, but saving, loading and Achievements are all disabled. You can still play online co-op, but because cheats are enabled, every game is a one-shot deal.

In terms of cheats, there is quite the selection available, and the best part is that you don't need to enter any crazy codes to use them. All cheats are enabled and disabled via a Keys to the City menu, which can be accessed at any time with the Back button. From there, you can quickly scroll through a list that allows you to adjust your character stats, enable god mode and/or infinite ammo, freeze the time of day, make enemies and NPCs spawn into the world or simply erase them all and give yourself an empty city in which to play. All of the cheats can be toggled on the fly, so experimentation is encouraged.

One other nifty cheat is the ability to enable a free camera mode, which allows you to fly a virtual camera around Pacific City at will. It's a useful way to recon hard-to-find orb locations as well as practicing your virtual directing skills, for those into machinima.

On top of the Keys to the City mode, the free version of the Toy Box also includes the Vehicle Tag multiplayer mode. Vehicle Tag is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: tag, except played with vehicles. The goal is to grab the orb and keep it for 30 seconds in order to score. If someone else is holding the orb, you can steal it away by crashing into him. In action, Vehicle Tag plays out a lot like Rocket Tag, only with fewer explosions and bigger targets.

Finally, there are the thrusters, AKA rocket boots. Unlocked once you max out your abilities, the thrusters allow for independent flight around Pacific City. It's one of the neatest toys in the box, though you have to earn it if you want it — that is, if you don't want to pay for it.

As mentioned earlier, there is a premium version of the Toy Box DLC. Priced at 560 MSP ($7), the premium kit gives you everything that is in the free version along with a five extra items and two new vehicles. You also get an additional eight color schemes for your agent.

The thrusters are one of the first items that purchasers are likely to try out in the premium Toy Box DLC, as the boots are available to agents of all levels. Instead of being equipped automatically as part of the suit, lower-level agents can select the thrusters in lieu of a grenade. Skillful players can even use the flame exhaust to damage other characters. Another gravity-defying weapon is the mass driver, which is much like Half-Life 2's gravity gun. You have to be close to something to grab it, but once you do, you can launch it out of the park.

Other paid items include the stickler grenade, which is basically a bouncing grenade that leaves baby grenades in its path, upgraded mag grenades and the portable launch pad. The latter also takes up a grenade slot and is fired in two parts. You drop the destination pad, and then you drop the launch pad. Voilà: instant, custom, point-to-point transportation. While you can't launch yourself clear across the map, you can set up some crazy jump points, such as a direct route straight from the ground to the top of the Agency tower.

Speaking of transportation, the premium Toy Box DLC comes with two new Agency vehicles: the ATV and the squad chopper. The ATV is a combination of the tank and SUV. It is well armed, and it can jump and climb over some crazy obstacles. It can even drive on water. The squad chopper allows you to take to the air with up to four agents, each with the ability to shoot.

Finally, the premium version comes with two avatar items. All in all, there's a good amount of content here, but whether it's worth the cost really depends on the type of gamer you are and how you play Crackdown 2.

For the casual player who just wants to mess around with the cheat codes, the premium version of Toy Box DLC is overkill. The free version is more than enough. You'll have to work to earn the thrusters, but if you just want to play around with them, all you have to do is fire up Keys to the City and max out your skills with a button press to enable the thrusters. Sure, you can't save your progress, but you can still check them out. If you want to play with any of the other items, you just need to find someone else with the premium version and join his game.

Had it been a bit cheaper, it might be easier to recommend it to all, but at 560 MSP, about the only folks who are going to want the premium Toy Box DLC are the hardcore Crackdown 2 fans who must have the new vehicles, those who gun for every single Achievement and those who must have the avatar items. For everyone else, your money is probably best spent elsewhere.

Score: 6.0/10

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