I game few and far between these days, with the greatest slice of my gaming time being made up of online FIFA 13 battles with Ryan. That said, here’s a quick round up of my thoughts on the games that I have played over the last couple of months – funnily enough, all coming my way courtesy of the current Microsoft Games with Gold initiative…

Crackdown (2007)

Realtime Worlds’ 2007 XBOX release Crackdown takes place in the fictional metropolis of Pacific City, whose several districts and areas are divided among four islands. The city is controlled by three crime organizations: Los Muertos, of Central American origin; an Eastern European gang, the Volk (Russian for Wolf); and the formerly above-board Shai-Gen Corporation, from East Asia.

Normally, a police-like organization called the Peacekeepers kept the city under control; their forces, however, were overwhelmed by the sudden rise in crime. The city, therefore, sought additional help from “the Agency”, an organization that, in addition to outfitting and supporting Peacekeepers, has used advanced surgical and cybernetic technology to create supersoldiers known as “Agents”.

And as you might have guessed it, it is your job as a super powered Agent to systematically take these bad guys down!

Crackdown is a third person open world action shooter that adds some fun game mechanics to the genre through the addition of abilities like super strength and super jumping. The result is a fairly fun game that sees you running around three very distinct cities, jumping from building to building in order to collect power orbs while shooting at pretty much everything that moves and happens to be pointing a gun at you. (And seriously, there is a pretty decent selection of guns and explosives to do some pretty enjoyable damage to the bad guys).

As a single player game Crackdown is okay, but as a multi-player it really shines. You and a friend leaping around like mad bunnies really does make this explosive game that much more fun, and all in all I have to say that I enjoyed tearing around the city, hijacking cars, blowing things up and taking out scores and scores of bad guys.

The graphics are okay, the voice acting good, and the AI passable (to a degree). A couple of event trigger glitches did pop while we were playing multiplayer but outside of that, Crackdown turned out to be a lot more enjoyable than I though it would be – and that’s for a game that is six years old already.

crackdown xbox 360 screenshot

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crackdown

Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 (2012)

“Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 is a video game based on the popular collectible card game of the same name, first published by Wizards of the Coast in 1993. The game was released on June 20, 2012 via Steam, Xbox Live Arcade, the PlayStation Network, and iPad, and is the third game in the Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers series. The gameplay follows that of the original card game, however within a more restrained framework.

The core game follows the standard rules of the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering. Each player has a deck of cards consisting of lands and spells, where lands are used to generate “mana”, the resource needed to cast spells. Mana comes in five colors, and cards may require colored or generic (mana of any color) to be cast. Spells come in many varieties, from sorceries and instants which have one-time effects, to summoned creatures which can attack and defend from opponents. Players alternate turns playing land cards, casting spells, and attacking opponents until all but one player’s life total is reduced to 0.”

Right, by virtue of the fact that I pretty much copied the above straight from Wikipedia, you may immediately (and correctly) assume that I am in fact not a particular fan of card games – which then explains why I really found this particular game to be terribly dull and subsequently didn’t give it all that much game time. (It was tedious I tell you!)

However, to be very fair, Magic: The Gathering 2013 IS a wonderfully implemented game featuring fantastic voice-over artists, sound effects, jaw-droppingly amazing fantasy artwork, and a slick gaming interface – in other words an awesome game if you are a Magic the Gathering fan or perhaps harbor the innate enjoyment of card-based games in general.

Magic The Gathering Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 xbox game

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic:_The_Gathering_2013