Despite David Gardner's recommendation of the stock in Motley Fool Stock Advisor, Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI) is a company that I've never liked. Before the blockbuster Tony Hawk Pro Skater series, the quality of virtually all the company's games was questionable. And while Activision has been able to leverage that extreme sports brand into a snowboarding game, a BMX game, and most notably Kelly Slater Pro Surfer, Activision is still a one-franchise company.

Its other products certainly don't command a premium valuation. For example, Street Hoops -- Activision's answer to Electronic Arts' (NASDAQ:ERTS) 3-on-3 basketball hit, NBA Street -- was a waste of investment capital. Street Hoops is a clear knockoff, and not even a good one at that. It never had a chance.

Thus, it should have come as no surprise that, along with earnings, Activision announced that it had cancelled the development of 10 games, including sequels to the Shaun Palmer snowboarding game and Street Hoops 2.

Last week, Rick Aristotle Munarriz suggested that investors look past Activision's second-quarter results and into the holiday season. But unlike its other titles, last week's release, True Crime: Streets of L.A., might just give Activision an ace-in-the-hole -- a potential second blockbuster franchise, and a reason to look even further into the future.

At first, True Crime looks like a knockoff of Take 2 Interactive's (NASDAQ:TTWO) blockbuster Grand Theft Auto. Like Grand Theft Auto and Atari's (NASDAQ:ATAR) Driver series, True Crime offers players the opportunity to cruise 240 square miles of the streets of Los Angeles, solving crimes on foot, by car, with-or-without weapons.

As a loose-cannon cop in a clichéd-but-entertaining storyline, you are treated to a good fighting game, a good action game, and a decent driving game. In one episode you're fighting strippers; in another you're chasing a limo incognito. Though True Crime doesn't do any one thing exceptionally well, its attributes really do come together in aggregate, with an authentic atmosphere in an authentic environment.

You ever been to Santa Monica, or downtown L.A.? How about the Staples Center?

Further accentuating that authenticity is a soundtrack powered by West Coast rappers, including the likes of Snoop Dogg, Jay-O Felony, and Warren G. This is sure to resonate in a Hip Hop generation.

I'm still not an advocate of Activision as a company, but even if True Crime actually is a Grand Theft Auto knock off, it is a pretty damn good one. And the fact that it plays second fiddle to the original won't diminish its chances for success. Unlike sports games, there are few penalties for being second best in this genre.

Think about it: We might end up having "True Crime" in every city. And for Activision investors and video game enthusiasts alike, that could be a very good thing.

Discuss True Crime or any other games you like or hate on ourActivisionorVideo & PC Gamesdiscussion boards. Jeff Hwang owns a copy of True Crime, and can be reached at