Like comic books, your character, simply known as Agent, has superhuman abilities. He starts out just above normal, but after you power up your agility, strength, shooting and fighting skill, you can pick up and throw cars and jump to rooftops.
The graphics even look like they were drawn by comic-book artists.
Like Grand Theft Auto, the action takes place in a city you can explore at your own whim. You can go to certain places to trigger missions or just drive around and check out the scenery, get into races and find hidden items.
Agent, of course, works for The Agency, a CIA-like organization out to stop the three main gangs wreaking havoc in futuristic Pacific City.
Enemies come in droves, but they're usually easy to dispose of, especially after your skills are enhanced.
Unlike Grand Theft Auto, however, there are no deep, involved characters, plots or missions. Crackdown has a simple setup: Defeat myriad thugs, defeat leaders within the gang, and ultimately defeat gang leader.
More plot and mission variety certainly would have added to the interest factor. That's forgivable, though, because Crackdown is still a lot of fun. The races and hidden items throughout the city keep you playing when you don't want to fight bad guys.
The only downfall is the map on the pause screen. It would have been more useful had you been able to zoom in and see the city better.
It's still adequate and doesn't detract from an overall good game.
MY WIFE, HOWEVER, HAS A VERY DIFFERENT OPINION OF CRACKDOWN: From a viewer's point of view, Crackdown is boring. There's no character development, and the environments are generic, she says.
Reach Dustin Turner at (706) 828-2903 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Genre: Free-roaming action
Platform: Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: M, for Mature
The verdict: *** out of *****