Crackdown: Free-roaming! Free!

Skills for kills, Agent. Skills for kills.

Crackdown is free on the Microsoft Store and if you have a machine hooked up that can play it, I earnestly recommend it. On the surface it does appear to be a very generic open-world title rather akin to Grand Theft Auto, but there's a free-wheeling madness to Crackdown that sets it apart from its contemporaries. It has more in common with something like Spyro the Dragon than GTA, with its collectable Agility Orbs as far as the eye can see. For me, it was compulsive collecting that defined the game for me - not shooting, not driving, not completing missions.

Never completing missions.

Never the best-looking game in the world, but it's so beautiful on the inside.

The city in which Crackdown takes place is, on the surface, quite uninteresting. What makes it compelling is that there are no shortcuts to traversal; you must leap and climb. There's no Assassin's Creed style parkour - every ascent is very much a challenge. That makes it compelling; you know that your superhuman antics - while sufficiently over the top and eminently upgradeable - are very much at your command, requiring your skilled input. You'll climb to the rooftops and see Agility Orbs dotted over the horizon and it's downright exhilarating. You know with each one you're edging ever-closer to an Agility Upgrade, allowing you to leap incrementally further and run incrementally faster. Movement and action is satisfying from the off and only improves as you upgrade your Agent.

I'm trying to avoid making a joke about the word "crack". I'm very wary of lowering the tone.

It's not a game for everyone - the unstructured open-world experience is mostly appealing to players like me who find simply moving around in a world fun, regardless of distractions like "missions" or "a point to anything". But for the low, low price of "nowt", I can't recommend Crackdown enough.

Get it here, free, while you can.