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Crackdown review

Playing a superhero is fun, but playing with two is classic

Equally empowering is your hero's development and its natural extension from your playing style. If you enjoy climbing and free running your way across the urban landscape to collect agility orbs, you'll be rewarded and encouraged to continue with a nimbler character, one that can then reach even more precariously placed icons. Prefer simply shooting people? Spray enough deadly bullets and your aim will improve to the point where you can pinpoint specific body parts. Which, of course, makes it easier to shoot lots more people and increase your targeting skill even further.

The agent's other attributes - strength, driving and explosives - all grow in a similarly logical manner. Before you know it, you've got your own personalized, custom-built Spider-Batman... or Incredible Flash... orsome other bizarre comic book mash-up. It certainly beats ending up with a buff guy or a fat guy in the latest Grand Theft Auto.

Unfortunately, once you begin making the GTA comparisons, Crackdown loses a bit of its initial wow factor. Although the game bounds ahead of the rest of the sandbox genre in one HUGE aspect - the hero's abilities - it comes up short on many of the smaller details. The music is forgettable. The graphics, while technically gorgeous, lack personality. Likewise, the city itself is extremely well designed and laid out, but it's never the living, breathing entity that Vice City or Liberty City was.

Most importantly, it lacks a compelling story and robust mission structure. The plot is told only through pop-up briefing windows - never in the game itself - and you'll probably skip through even those. Why? Because no matter which boss they're introducing, which hideout they're detailing or what strategy they're recommending, the mission will almost always play out the same way. Rush in... shoot, kick and explode indiscriminately until you notice the leader's slightly longer life bar... run past anything and everything to get to the leader... kill the leader. Repeat.

More Info

DescriptionTake control of a futuristic vigilante and rid your city of the criminal element. With guns, explosives, stunt cars and superhuman powers, "by any means necessary" should be implied.
PlatformXbox 360
US censor ratingMature
Release date20 February 2007 (US), 23 February 2007 (UK)