Everything is more exciting when it’s connected to where you live.
That's why the people cheer on their home countries at the Olympics, or let out a roar when they see their house in the background of a television programme.
Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst knows this as well – in fact, it’s based its whole gameplay around this facet of human nature.
Not in my neighbourhood
Despite having a very similar name to a home console title on the Xbox 360, Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst bears little resemblance to its bigger brother.
The two main enemies – the Cell and the mutants – are the same, but you won’t be sending your agent leaping between buildings in Pacific City to fight them. You’ll instead spend most of the time placing down turrets on streets across the world and sitting back to watch the resulting fireworks.
The unique feature of all this is that the streets in question are based on Bing Maps’s satellite images, so you can set your bases down in, for example, houses where you used to live.
Tiny little enemies then begin flooding down the streets nearby in an attempt to destroy you (by walking around the main building’s vicinity), with the occasional Cell van/bus requiring special attention from your turrets.
Goodwill to all men
Unlike many tower defence games, Project Sunburst throws money at the player with abandon. From the word go, we were gifted 100 million dollars to improve our base defences, which, when you take into account that the most expensive turret costs $12,000 to build, is rather a large sum of money.
To get around this generosity, the game puts an excessively long time limit on turret upgrades – hours, not minutes – so as to effectively shoo the player away for a while. It’s a bit odd to have a message pop up that asks you to come back to the game later, but then there’s always the option of switching to another base should you still need your fix.
There’s also the option of calling in friends from Live to help out with your base defences, which is a nice way of adding a spot of multiplayer without the other players being physically around to join in.
But it’s all a bit shallow. The turrets are so cheap and so healthy that there’s very rarely a time when the base feels endangered, despite the apparent hordes of creatures milling around on the other side of the sandbags.
Manually firing your turrets suffers from some annoyingly inconsistent touch detection, while the satellite maps may have personal attachment going for them but lack the careful plotting, chokepoints, and conundrums of a specially designed tower defence level.
Like the fleeting moment when you cared about who won the rowing at the Olympics, Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst will have you excited for a short time, but the lack of genuine interest in proceedings will soon trump the tenuous connections to your own life.