Microsoft Game Studios has announced that its Xbox 360 title Crackdown is now available at North American retailers. Developed by Scotland’s Realtime Worlds—who were also the driving force behind Grand Theft Auto—Crackdown is an action/driving hybrid game which invites players to clean up the streets of Pacific City by any means necessary, upgrading their Agent’s arsenal, strength, and skills as they go. Any tactic is acceptable, so long as the crime gets put down. Microsoft previewed Crackdown on its Xbox Live game service, where it became the most-downloaded demo within 24 hours, and set a record for total downloads during its first week of release—to date, the demo has seen more than a million downloads.
Crackdown features a 3-D playground and a deep physics system which enables players to use anything they can get their hands on as a weapon: throw trash cans, ram vehicles, even use people as weapons. Players are invited to build barricades, assemble mammoth amounts of explosives, and push the limits of the game, which offers highly detailed, stylized rendering akin to a graphic novel. Xbox Live Gold members will be able to participate in an online multiplayer freeform campaign.
Crackdown is rated M for "Mature" by the ESRB for blood and fore, intense violence, sexual themes, strong language, and use of drugs. (Sounds enchanting!) The game carries a suggested retail price of $59.99.
Microsoft also wants prospective buyers to know Crackdown is one of three ways to get admitted to the "highly sought" Halo 3 beta—launch copies of Crackdown will sport a Halo 3 beta sticker, and owners will be able to use their retail copy to access the Halo 3 beta when it goes online later this year.
[Microsoft is also thumping its chest over Xbox 360 sales in January, citing as-yet-unpublished figures from NPD showing consumers snapped up 294,000 Xbox 360 systems during the month: if the numbers hold, that would be an 18 percent improvement over sales during January 2006.]