Though Crackdown 2 didn’t prove to be the blockbuster sequel fans were hoping for, the improved if not particularly innovative return to Pacific City’s superhero sandbox makes for a fun summer distraction. But it seems an average Metacritic score doesn’t sit well with developer Ruffian, who have been compelled to respond to some of the game’s criticisms, including its repetitive missions, flimsy narrative and familiar setting.
“One of the things we are worried about is that there are elements of repetitiveness in the game, but that is through necessity of how the game is structured for being this completely open experience that can be approached from any angle with many players,” defended producer James Cope in an interview with MTV Multiplayer.
“The couple of design challenges we faced with the Crackdown franchise was that it’s built around a completely free-form and open world. Go-anywhere, do-anything in any order. Trying to tell a story in that is very hard. You can’t tell a linear narrative and you can’t direct or expect people to be in certain places at certain times and make anything cohesive in that environment. It’s one of those things that you just have to sweep under the carpet a little bit and focus on the gameplay experience,” he added. “Expanding the storyline too much beyond what was already set wasn’t what people wanted.”
What people wanted is agility orbs, and Crackdown 2 delivers that in spades. Personally, I don’t think Ruffian has anything to defend – they chose to go the safe route, fine tuning an already proven formula for a game that’s uninspired but far from unentertaining. But defending a conscious choice and making excuses for lackluster game design are two different things, and I’m not sure which side of that proverbial fence Ruffian is straddling. Methinks the producer doth protest too much.