The other advantage the Freaks have is strength in numbers. Ruffian shows us a night-time scene where dozens and dozens of them are lumbering through the streets, complete with varied animations and move-sets. "As you can see there's a huge amount of them in there just now, and hopefully we'll have the ability to have thousands on screen at any one time," says Iannetta.
It's a good job, then, that your character has new combat moves at his disposal. "The hand-to-hand combat in Crackdown was pretty weak. It was very repetitive, basically the same moves over and over again," Cope observes. "We wanted to create a situation where you're fighting against many AI-controlled characters and without good a hand-to-hand combat system it just wasn't fun, so we've completely redesigned it all." Sure enough, the Agent's melee moves seem a lot more complex and powerful now. Punches are crunchier and he's able to pull off some impressive roundhouse kicks, causing Freaks to explode in a shower of yellow goo and gobbets of blood.
Ruffian has also taken a fresh look at the way objects can be used in combat. "You could always throw things at people in Crackdown but it was a hit and miss affair - more miss than hit," says Cope. "So we've introduced a new system, one that's very physical. Crackdown is a very physical game and we want to make sure it's over the top." To demonstrate this, the Agent grabs a concrete pillar which has a steel rod sticking out of one end. He starts wielding it like a giant mallet, smashing away at whatever happens to be in the vicinity.
Naturally there are new firearms too, such as the UV shotgun. It's an energy weapon which is ideal for attacking Freaks directly as it can send even huge gangs of them flying. However, there's also scope for using it on physical objects - so you could shoot a truck high up into the air, for example. "With all the YouTube videos of the first game, we've seen people do things we never thought were possible," says Iannetta. "Now we want to offer them a range of toys which really allows them to push the boundaries."
That'll include the mag grenade, which can be used to attach two objects together by creating a sort of electrified elastic band - one which explodes on demand. "That's the premise. How you then use that as a player, it's really up to you and your own creativity," says Cope. But to give us an idea, he sticks one mag grenade to a wall and another to a truck to create an improvised slingshot. He then picks up the truck, stretches the slingshot right back and lets go, sending the truck smash-bang into a big group of enemies before it explodes.
We're also shown an example of another new addition, gas cylinders ("Probably my favourite thing we've put in the game," Cope says). Shooting them any old how will cause an impressive explosion. But shoot the cap off and they become improvised projectile weapons - they whirl and fly around the environment like deflating balloons before detonating. Cope uses a mag grenade to stick a cylinder to the ground, then fires off the cap. The cylinder zooms round madly but remains tethered to the grenade, creating a spinning deathtrap.