Hands-On With Crackdown 2's Tribes-Like Multiplayer

Earlier this week I had a chance to sit down with Crackdown 2's multiplayer, leaping between towering buildings, and throwing cars at fellow agents in a city-roving free-for-all that felt like one part Halo and one part Tribes.

A group of journalists gathered on the 25th floor of the New Otani Hotel in Japan to run around the game's Pacific City trying to take one another out with UV pulse guns, assault rifles, grenades and chunks of their surroundings.

The Xbox 360 game's multiplayer, heavy on jumping and running, had a more fluid feel than most shooters. The inclusion of jump pads, which launched armored agents across the map in high arcs, added an interesting twist to the game as well.

The launch pads always came in pairs, one that sent you flying and the other marking where you landed. A thin pulsing line shows the trajectory of each pad as well.

Using these pads gamers can fling themselves much further then they ever could with their super leaps, making multiplayer Crackdown 2 much faster paced than you typical shooter. The one downside of the pads seemed to be that landing a melee kill was as simple as camping out at a landing spot and shoving a rifle butt into a landing agent for an instant kill.

I didn't notice any other hang-up with the early build of multiplayer that we checked out. I test an assault rifle, a shotgun and a UV Shotgun while playing. The UV Shotgun really just knocks agents back, but if you do it enough times and there's a wall behind them, they will eventually die.

While we didn't play single player, earlier, Ruffian showed us how the UV weapons can essentially evaporate mutants, who come out only at night.

I also had a chance to check out grenades and proximity mines in multiplayer. The grenades were fairly straight forward, though I wasn't able to throw them as far as I would have liked. The proximity mines when set created a sort a web of red lines around it in a bubble. If you stepped into the bubble it exploded.

A Ruffian Games developer told me that the team plans to allow gamers to pick up the jump pads and use them as weapons. While the two pads will remain linked, he said, gamers would be able to set them up in ways that would shoot an unwitting gamer into a building or other solid, fatal object.

He also said the pathway of pads can be spiked with floating proximity mines, killing gamers in mid-jump.

While we only got a chance to check out a free-for-all deathmatch mode on a single map of Crackdown 2, the game's allure, its limitless destruction and absurd bounding, offers a lot of promise for high-energy matches of competitive gaming.

Stay tuned to read what we learned about the game's single-player and four-person coop modes later today.