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3.7 out of 5 stars
Crackdown 2 - Xbox 360
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58 of 62 people found the following review helpful
Verified Purchase
I really went back and forth on this game, and had a lot of trouble deciding whether this game deserved three or four stars. As I thought about it more, I felt that even though I had a lot of fun playing it, this is just not a four star game. Allow me to elaborate...

A common joke is that the first game in this series would have completely tanked if the Halo 3 beta code had not been shipped out in this game (and maybe they are right). I just thought the game looked like a lot of fun, so I bought it, Halo 3 aside. The original was not heavy on plot, and, like this second game, a lot of the "missions" feel grinding and repetitive. However, the first game made that grind a lot easier to bear in a number of small ways, all of which have been completely left out of this incarnation. I'm getting a little tired of developers 'fixing' sequels until they're broken.

>>Plot:<<
So let's talk about the plot, although this will be a short topic. Crackdown 2 has even less plot than the first one, which is hard to do. Now, my entire review won't just be a comparison of the second to the first, but I think for people who didn't play the first game, it is necessary to make a comparison to the first games' plot. So...in the first Crackdown, your goal is to fully eliminate three gangs that have taken over Pacific City. Reclaim it, area by area, one step at a time. You start with rank and file gangsters, and work your way up the gang hierarchy until you finally are able to go after the gang leader in their stronghold. There were personal dossiers on all the important players within that gang, how this effected that, how it would improve your chances of success if you took out every single one of the under-bosses before going after the heavy hitters.

Incidentally, this tiny feature was something I REALLY liked in the original. For those who didn't play it, every time you went after an important gang member, your "Chances of Success" would be displayed. So if you were going after an under-boss and you had already taken out the four lieutenants working under him, your odds of success would be displayed accordingly, a much higher percentage than if you had only taken out one -- or none! So occasionally if you accidentally stumbled into the stronghold of a more senior leader and you saw "Chance of Success: 12.2%," I can't speak for anyone else, but I personally thought 'Sweet, this should be a real challenge then!' Of course if I kept dying, I would just give it up for a while. It was a tiny thing, but it added a bit of tension that is needed when you're playing a character with superhuman abilities.

Now as I stated before, this second game has even less plot than the barely plot of the first one. But let's face it, Crackdown is not really meant to be a story-based game. The fun comes from being able to leap fifty feet from one rooftop to the next, pick up a streetlight pole and bash your enemies, chain together explosions to cause some massive destruction, kick enemies off of rooftops, shoot out a tire on a fast moving car and watch as it slides -- and then flips over...it's an action game, completely. And like a good action movie, there doesn't have to be a whole lot of plot or character development to have fun. And so it is the case of this game. So why do I give a non-story-based game three stars if I am not taking the story into account? Let me explain...

The story is that ten years have passed since the events of the first game, the original agency tower was bombed, a virus leaked out of one of the three gangs' labs, and infected parts of the population (cue 'Freaks'). To go along with this, a new gang has essentially taken over the city. Your objective, your one objective (seriously, in the game there is only one objective [with numerous sub-objectives leading up to it]) is to rid the city of the Freak infestation. You do this by powering up energy sources in groups of three that shoot some sort of magical beams of blue light, and where the three points meet, then underneath that is a Freak lair, where you have to go and defend a beacon that is dropped via helicopter until it powers up, at which point it eliminates all the Freaks in the area. You defend the area by murdering every Freak that attacks the beacon as it is charging. Couldn't the helicopter just let the beacon power up first, and THEN drop it down into the lair? I mean then there would be no need to show a beam of light shooting up out of the beacon to meet the points of light above it...Apparently the beams of light know to shoot straight down to power the beacon remotely...or something. I don't understand...but I don't think the writers and developers really did either. So whatever just go with it. Yeah just don't ask them any specific questions though, ok.

There are no plot twists, no secrets are revealed, you just do this. You activate 27 energy things, and detonate 9 beacons across the entire city. Along with that, you can also reclaim 25 (?) tactical locations from the gang inhabiting the city (basically they become strongholds or safe havens after you reclaim them where you can switch your weapon, grenade, and vehicle load-out). Talk about a drag. The same thing 25 times. As soon as you start the battles, about thirty enemies immediately spawn all around you, some of which have grenade or homing rocket launchers. You better run or jump out of there and take cover fast, because otherwise you're going to get pounded and will not be able to return fire. It's a bit of overkill, but I suppose they couldn't make it too easy or it would just be boring. Either way it does end up getting boring. But I guess it could have been worse, there could have been like a hundred of these tactical locations though. ALTHOUGH, then there are Freak Breaches, places where your beacons have damaged the ground and Freaks are pouring out. Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't the beacons sole purpose to eradicate the Freak presence in that area? So please tell me how Freaks are going to pouring out of the ground at or very near a beacon epicenter. Honestly, do they think we're stupid? Basically it is the exact same thing as taking back the tactical locations. Kill a lot of them until no more come out. Boooooooooring. And that is the whole game. I don't say that's basically the whole game, it is the entire game, plot-wise. Obviously there are still things like rooftop races and road races, and agility orbs to collect. But that is the extent of the plot. Also, the beacon detonations are the only thing driving the plot. The Tactical locations and the Breaches are secondary objectives, and are not necessary at all to complete the story, which is extremely short. What lengthens the game is the desire to upgrade your character's abilities, and this, like the first game, is the real fun.

The ending of the game is another gripe. So...the game ends, I won't spoil anything. And it leaves it open for...downloadable content? Or a third installment ($$$). But the way they did it is dumb. Basically they end the game where you cannot continue playing after you complete the game. You can just go back and reload your last save game after you beat it. But far from making me look forward to a Crackdown 3, I really feel like it's just a cop-out. Plot is a rare commodity in these games, so why not continue the story? God knows it could have use a change of direction...but whatever, we'll see where the downloadable content takes us, if anywhere.

>>Graphics:<<
I have read a number of reviews already about Crackdown 2 having lame graphics...but I don't really understand this. The graphics look nearly identical to the original, which is intentional. I would have been upset if the game started to try to take itself seriously and NOT have used cell shading. The game has its own style, and it's one of the reasons I like this franchise overall, because it is original in that way. I know I might be in the minority here, but honestly, can't people stop whining about graphics? Those games you loved to play ten years ago? Horrible graphics, compared to where they are today. Honestly people need to get over having things look nice. Avatar looks amazing too, but I hated it because everything in it was so one-dimensional. So basically what I'm saying is that a game should be judged by what is under the hood, with one caveat: Obviously there are games that boast amazing visuals, or where it would actually be expected of the game, and where this is the case, it can be judged likewise. But Crackdown 2? If what you're looking for is epic visuals or gritty textures, then I'm afraid you have missed the point entirely about what Crackdown 2 is aiming for.

>>Gameplay:<<
I had a very love/hate relationship with the gameplay in Crackdown 2. It seems like they made it more complex and accomplished even less than the original. I have read numerous other reviews detailing how awful the targeting system is in this game...but for the most part, it's a relatively small annoyance (But don't get me wrong, there are parts when it will really frustrate you. When I went to lock on to one of the ten enemies all firing around me, why did I lock on to an agency (Those are your allies) cruiser way off in the distance? To add on to that, when you are battling a horde of 'Freaks,' (Zombie-like enemies that try to overwhelm you with sheer numbers), I think it would have been better, when you go to lock on to one of them specifically when there are fifty all rushing you, to have it lock on to the one that is the most dangerous to you. I don't know, it makes sense to me. Kinda pointless otherwise.

I had a few issues with clipping and with seeing some npc's start to descend a flight of stairs and then fall straight through them (though I had no problems with that myself, so I don't really hold that against the game, it's just worth mentioning). I did, however, have some problems with on-again off-again grappling when I would try to jump to a ledge. In certain locations (few, but still irritating), I would jump to a ledge, hang there, then try jumping to another ledge, and if I missed, I would try to catch the ledge I had jumped from, but my character would not grab it. Then when I would try to jump to it again, he wouldn't grab it. When I came back at other times though, it was fine...so...I don't know, doesn't make sense to me.

>>The Silver Lining:<<
I should talk now about what the game does right, or, to rephrase, what the developers didn't change from the original. The agility orbs. There are 500 once again, and once again, they are fun to track down. Crackdown 2 also has implemented a twist on this, called Renegade Orbs. There orbs will streak away from you, dive, rise, turn sharply -- as you try to catch them. At first I thought it was irritating, but there is a sense of accomplishment when you do mange to catch one as it slows down to change direction. It just requires some patience and a little luck. They do the same thing with the driving skill. There are Renegade driving orbs as well. 30 of each kind.

The weapons are pretty cool, though one frustration they didn't eliminate (go figure) from the first game is that you will have to equip and carry any new found weapons back to a tactical location so that you can use it in the future. It would be nice if you just unlocked them as you leveled up the weapons skill. But whatever, minor gripe. And it just occurred to me that they also did away with pistols in the game altogether, though obviously since I am just now noticing this (after playing through the entire game without noticing it), it isn't anything you will really miss. The weapons are essentially the same as the first game, but with different names. I would have liked to see an introduction of melee weapons though. Since you can pick up environment objects and swing them, it would have been cool to be offered a sword or a baseball bat or something actually designed to be used as a melee weapon (as opposed to picking up a car and smashing it repeatedly into enemies' faces!). Some vehicles also have weapons on them now. The Agency Buggy has a gatling gun, as do some Cell (gang) cars, as well as a rocket launcher variety. The Agency supercar also still has the 'Scoop' ability (You can drive under other vehicles and it scoops them out of your way without interrupting your driving).

>>Conclusion:<<
My final advice is not to expect too much. I think a number of people did, and then were let down. This game should be played for fun. The over-the-top-everything in this game has to be the ends in itself, and not the means to the end of the story, because there isn't much of one. I still think that this game is extremely fun and addicting, even taken with all of the flaws it has. This game can provide you with hours of fun if you don't try to force it to be any more than it is.
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57 of 68 people found the following review helpful
Crackdown was never intended to be a game that relied heavily on story telling. It wallowed shamelessly on its grinding, its overblown violence and explosive pryotechnics. But whats come down the tube wrapped in the same packaging with a #2 on it is so... ordinary.

Graphics are original Crackdown, with some additional cel shading on your player character, literally. 3 year old graphics, coming out of a develop that should still be sitting on a pile of gold from the initial games success. I've seen Oblivion mods that put more effort into improving backgrounds and other graphical elements.

Gameplay is the formula you love. Jump, hit, and shoot like a superhero. The only problem is they've apparently decided that the only thing missing was areas that could be turned into a crater with a single stray shot. You have to spend five minutes clearing explosive barrels so that you aren't sent pinwheeling into the sky after 45 barrels all explode simultaneously. And while you're flying through the air, twenty enemies with semi-auto rocket launchers and pinpoint accurate grenade launchers will aid you in your sub-orbital flight. Again, otherwise, crackdown 1 gameplay. There are some new mini-games, but its basically go here and kill everything that moves. And some gratuitous finding missions. While those are as annoying as they ever are, they've at least made the concession that they're are fairly easy-to-spot markers to let you know something is nearby.

Probably the most annoying thing is the announcer. I like me my achievements, but when you're getting one every 30 minutes, and having it all but rubbed on your face, its loses anything resembling a feeling of achievement. "Your first agility orb? Achievement!" "You fired a new weapon? Achievement!" "You managed to operate a toilet unaided? Achievement!"

Story is where is game runs straight down the tubes. After an opening cut scene, they is nothing in the way of briefings. You have one target, not the normal gang dossiers, and otherwise, one mission: kill stuff in this location, and move to another location. Not surprising, but when you're performing the exact same actions and just changing backgrounds, with nothing backing it up, it starts to feel like quest grinding.

Overall, Crackdown 2 is a clone of the original with pieces removed. That alone makes it a massive disappointment. So little effort was put into this to make it almost insulting that it took 3 years to complete. Apparently the thought was that removing story and making virtually every action warrant an achievement would gloss over the fact that all they did was add a multiplayer function, but what comes out it just a time waster. It may be just as much raw fun as the first, running, racing and blowing up stuff to your hearts content, but it feels like a empty husk of something that used to be great.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2011
Im not sure why this game has received so many negative reviews. I think this is a great game. Sure its not the best, and it has some issues here and there, but overall its such a fun game, and thats what im all about. The only real problem with this game is the lack of a story, much like the first one. Basically your main objective in the game is to activate beacons across the city so that once they are all activated, the massive amounts of freaks in the city will be destroyed. There are other less important missions like taking over tactical locations controlled by the Cell, a terrorist group, or finding and destroying freak lairs. Despite these missions, there is really not much else. But still, even though the game lacks a storyline, there is much fun to be had jumping from rooftop to rooftop fighting endless amounts of enemies. Many new things have been added to this sequel including new weapons, new character models, and new abilities such as gliding and a jetpack of sorts that boosts your jumps. Overall this game is very fun. It may not last you very long if you just stick to your objectives, but if you run around making up your own fun either by yourself or with your friends, or play multiplayer, you will have a long fun time with Crackdown 2.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2010
I'm not too into playing games online, due to the overabundance of annoying 13 year-olds that play multiplayer online games, so I can only speak for the single player. I've been looking forward to Crackdown 2 for a long time, since Crackdown has been one of my favorite games. I have to say that Crackdown 2 is quite a letdown. There are literally almost no improvements over the original. It feels more like an expansion pack than a new game. In fact I would have given this 5 stars if it was a $10-$20 downloadable expansion instead of a $60 new game, at least then I would have felt like I got my money's worth.

The graphics are the same, the agency voice is identical, the city is almost identical, everything is pretty much exactly the same as Crackdown. The only difference is that instead of fighting against a varied group of gangs, you fight against ONE gang, and also a bunch of boring zombies (zombies in a shooter, how original!). Like the Flood in Halo, the zombies (AKA "freaks") get real old, real fast. They basically just run straight at you and try to hit you or spit acid on you, making it so the enemy AI is completely dull and requires no strategy. The gangs in Crackdown kept you interested because each had a different story and different characters that you have to take down. Crackdown 2 has a boring, almost uncomprehendable story, and the one gang that you have to fight (the Cell) has no interesting characters or sub-bosses to defeat. It seems that the developers spent about an hour coming up with the enemies in this game.

The gameplay is a stepdown from Crackdown. With Crackdown, you needed strategy in order to take down the higher level bosses. In Crackdown 2, once you get the more powerful weapons like the rocket launcher, strategy is completely unnecessary. Go into an enemy controlled area, kill all the bad guys, capture the area, repeat. That is literally all you do for the whole game.

I gave the game four stars for the "fun" aspect because I still love the elements of the game like leveling up, finding new weapons, etc. But I wouldn't recommend this game to anyone unless they loved the original Crackdown, because this sequel does not offer anything that the original already doesn't.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2010
Verified Purchase
"Disappointing" sums this game up for me and I don't want to spend more time reviewing this than they spent in development. Considering the original was a decent, fun romp, I assumed they would build on the original and make it even more fun. They didn't. They took the same game and added a few new vehicles and zombies. (They call them "freaks" thinking we won't notice that they're just run o' the mill zombies.) If anything, they made the game LESS fun. The zomb...er freaks aren't even a threat. You can just wade into a crowd of them and melee away endlessly without fear of dying or even stubbing a toe....and this was BEFORE I leveled up. I didn't level up far because I just couldn't find anything enjoyable about this game. They did eliminate a lot of the lag in multiplayer, which was horrible in the first game.
What the deal breaker was for me is the objectives NEVER change throughout the entire single player game. It's always the same sequence; start some power sources (mysteriously, the baddies can't figure out how to turn them off a second time), find the location to put the beacon, defend the beacon while it charges. Rinse. Repeat as necessary. After the third or forth time of doing this, I asked myself "why do they drop a beacon before it's charged? Why not just hover above the location, let it charge and THEN drop it!" :o It doesn't need to be plugged in. So, why drop it early? They could save so much money on making these exceedingly expensive agents. Of course, politicians and the general "powers that be" using logic would be too unrealistic.
If I ran Pacific City, it would be a mini-game where you fly a heli around dropping beacons. With all the $$$ I saved, I could offer it on the 360 Arcade for 5 bucks and it would probably be a lot more fun than this game.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2011
I will admit straight off the bat that I didn't give this one a whole lot of time. I gave it a couple of hours, and just simply realized it wasn't what I was hoping it would be.

I felt like, particularly compared to the first game, Crackdown 2 wasn't having enough fun. It felt kind of serious in a way that Crackdown 1 didn't, and had spent way too much time telling you about some vague and uninteresting plot. One of the things that I enjoyed the most about Crackdown 1 was the voice of the narrator guy, and he's back, but they've completely and utterly over-used him. I was sick of hearing from him within minutes of Crackdown 2, he's in your ear _constantly_.

Artistically and visually, the game is solid, as are the sound effects. It doesn't control too poorly, and I can see how some people enjoyed it. But it seems to have a much slower pace than Crackdown 1 which didn't sit well at all with me. It seemed like it was 20 plus minutes before you even got them to quit giving you tutorial information, which most people didn't need in the first place. And as an added annoyance, they run a lengthy credits session (several minutes long) right after you start some of the beginning levels (maybe it was during the tutorial, in fact) that you cannot skip - why give me credits for people _before_ I've had a chance to evaluate if the game is any good?? If I cared who worked on the game I'd read the manual, or watch the credits after I've played it through. Grrr.

It's a shame, the developers seemed to have fun making the game and I wish it was better. But as it is, I will be re-buying Crackdown 1 for my fix of blowing up stuff and driving over bad guys after a long day at work.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2010
I loved the first Crackdown to death and can honestly say that I would not choose to play any other game in preference. Crackdown 2 hasn't changed this except I now need to decide which Crackdown I want to play.

What really works for me is the open world where you can just ignore the missions and go off exploring. It's a lovingly created environment - each building has been individually designed with exploration in mind. The new Pacific City can be a sad place as all the buildings you knew and loved from the first game are dark and broken. If you spent many happy hours exploring before then the whole feel is different now, more dirty and run-down in parts, for example. I still get the sense of vertigo when climbing the really tall buildings, though - this feeling of immersion is such a positive aspect of the game.

Orb hunting has been extended with the addition of ones that have to be chased down and those that are static, available in Coop-only XBL mode. The HUD has a short-range scan feature to help locate the orbs which is a nice touch that I make use of a lot.

Roof-top and road races are as before, as are the stunt rings except with the addition of those for the gliding ability added to the Agent's suit at higher agility levels. This limited form of flight is sweet and helps remove the risk of pancaking when climbing the Agency or Hope Towers (the latter building being a new addition). The star of the show, though, is the helicopter which allows you to navigate to anywhere in the city and blow things up.

There are missions to step you through the story, should you so wish. The Cell are a straight swap for the crime groups of the first version and don't offer too much of a challenge if you take your time. Dealing with the freaks in their homes, though, is another matter as you are battling a horde and need to quick and resourceful.

Other people have complained about the plot and I don't really understand what they are griping about. There is actually a story which unfolds - first through the five downloadable webcomics and then with the in-game audio tapes that you can discover around the city - and one I am interested in following. Sure, you don't have any deep Fable-style RPG interaction but Crackdown isn't that sort of game - Crackdown is ... Crackdown.

In summary, with Crackdown 2 you get an FPS, a driving sim, a flying sim, an Easter egg hunt, and puzzle solving (how to climb buildings), all in a co-op sandbox world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2010
i loved crackdown 1, seriously one of the most underrated early xbox games. this one is good, but not that good. they really improved on the agent mechanics, the abilities you gain as you level up are far and away better and more impressive than before, having a real melee system is a god send, being able to pick up a lamp post and baseball bat some poor schmuck is almost worth the loss of a cohesive story, key word being almost. for all the neat stuff they added to your character they took away something in the enemy department. instead of gang liutenents you take out to get more info and weaken a gang leader. you have one gang with no leaders and just bases that you have to eliminate by killing a set number of enemy troops. which in case anyone missed it was probably the most irritating part of crackdown 1, the constantly respawning enemies in basses. it made killing gang officers like a mad smash and grab or an assasination, which was fun, but this is no more grab, it's just smash.

the other thing is the freaks. the occasional freaks of the last game were an interesting add on and i wouldv'e liked more of them. but this is way too much. at night the streets are flooded with freaks, wall to wall. it's not so bad really but the entire city? they couldv'e done it to a few slums or maybe just one of the 3 islands. and the freaks are removed by the very same means as the gangs, a few isolated bases where you defend a light bomb till it detonates and removes the freaks from the surrounding area. not the worst idea ever but with that being all there is it's like the game has become one big collectible sandbox. it feels like there is no game here, just a base that if you put a story into it might be fun to run.

the only other really big gripe i have is with the agent looks, they are all the same, you have 4 heads to choose from but once you level up once the heads are covered so the only difference between each agent online is color. i much much prefered the different heads that evolved as you leveled up, gave your agent some character and some uniqueness. overall i'd say this is a downgrade and really makes me pine for the days of crackdown 1.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2010
Put simply, this is a game that should have been released as a downloadable add-on to the original Crackdown, as the gameplay is nearly identical to the original.

What is new/different:
The factions and bosses that controlled the city in the first game are gone. They have been replaced by two sets of antagonists: a terrorist group known as The Cell (active during the day), and mutants (active during the night). Instead of killing bosses, as in Crackdown 1, you must kill several waves of mutants, protecting a beacon for a certain period of time.

There are a few orbs around that, rather than staying still, try to evade your touch. They are like the stationary orbs that give you powerups, but are more difficult to catch, and give you (slightly) larger power up bonuses.

Your character now has the ability to do a controlled glide around through the air during a fall, once you reach the highest agility level.

What is the same as the first game:
Overall gameplay: moves and controls are essentially identical.
The graphics: they're no worse, but they're not really any better either.
The city: it's damaged now, but essentially the same.
The orbs/races/jumps: you win a race, grab an orb, jump a hoop, etc, your abilities go up slightly.
The weapons: slightly changed, but nothing that you would notice.
The vehicles: essentially identical. Fun to use, but not significantly different.

I could go on at length, but it would essentially be more of the same: the new elements of the game are minor tweaks rather than innovations.

The game is not without redeeming aspects, of course...the things that made the first game fun (rampant violence, weapons, explosions, improving abilities) are still here, and slightly better balanced than the original. Still, if you have the choice, you would be far better off buying the original at bargain basement prices than picking up this game, since they are so similar there is no compelling reason to recommend one over the other.
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27 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2010
Verified Purchase
I seemed to vaguely recall enjoying the original Crackdown when it was first out for Xbox 360. But as I started playing Crackdown 2, two thoughts immediately hit me: (1) Crackdown 2--like its predecessor--is a total grind: repetitive and frustrating (up-leveling your jumping/shooting/driving/fighting skills takes FOREVER) and there are just hordes of mutants at every turn--a complete button-mash job. So maybe the orginal Crackdown--in retrospect--wasn't as fun as I had remembered it being. And then (2)... most of the time with sequels you expect an upgraded experience. There is NOTHING like that here. Nothing. The city even seems/feels the same, layout-wise. The graphics and environments and physics are as bad as in Crackdown 1. What did they do differenty here, other than offer ne-ish missions (which are given to you OVER and OVER). But I don't remember the targeting being nearly as awful in the original. In Crackdown 2, you'll have 5 enemies nearby, wailing on you... and when you go to target one of them, suddenly you're shooting a fire barrel way off beyond them in the distance and--when it explodes--your POV follows it as it shoots way up into the air... all the while the same five bad guys continue to fill you with lead. I'll be honest: I played this game for 3-4 hours and then just simply turned my Xbox off. I'll put this up for trade on Amazon (fyi: I bought it on Amazon to begin with--yes I realize I only had it for 48 hours), and suck up the difference I spent between the new price and the trade-in price. Very, verrrrrrry disappointing. I hope I'm able to save a few people their $60.
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