If Xbox had more than its fair share of driving games and first-person shooters, judging by the games on show at Microsoft's X05 event, Xbox 360 will be home to a slew of free-roaming crime games. There's thug-fest Saint's Row, and now there's Crackdown, a GTA-like creation that's being worked on by the creator of, well, the original GTA.
You play as a quasi policeman, working for a secret agency that uses drugs to create super-human agents. This agency has been tasked with cleaning up a city - and a pretty dirty city at that. A total of 21 kingpins rule the place, each with their own area of expertise. You need to find every one of them and put them out of action. Unlike its genre buddies though, Crackdown ditches realism in favour of over-the-top physics, explosions and graphic novel-like visuals. The massive city is packed with tall buildings and skyscrapers, which you can jump and shimmy around as if you were in a platform game. But, with more in common with Prince of Persia than Tony Hawks, jumps can last for five seconds, almost as if you're flying. Your athletic stats need to be built up first, though. There are five skills you can level up, from driving to shooting - but once you've had some practice, almost anything is possible.
Probably the strongest element of the game is the controls - they're simple, even though the game seems like it'd demand more complex ones - and co-op play. Online or offline, you and a friend can take on the thousands of criminals that are controlling the Crackdown universe. It's an ambitious game, and one that still has plenty of development time left to perfect it. Hopefully it'll be the start of something as special as the GTA series.