It wasn’t to the detriment of The Crew that its line was small; the doors had just opened and as thousands of Men, Women and people dressed as League of Legends characters flooded the EB Expo, priorities were set and decisions were made. The scramble for the likes of Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty Ghosts was to be expected, but while the lines were growing I managed to find an unassuming open world racer for the next Gen and PC that could become a contender in the often contested racing genre.
The Crew seems to be all about proving the benefits of powerful hardware. For my demo, things started small with a limited city area to roam around in and produce shenanigans with my fellow demo players. Even at this early stage, the beauty of The Crew was immediately apparent; the cars were shiny and detailed, the city felt alive, and the promise of a gigantic open world interpretation of the USA upon release in Q1 2014 had me ready to do some burnouts, and crash, a lot.
While I assume the new console hardware will be up to scratch, I spent the demo playing on a fairly high-end gaming PC with a controller plugged in, and this furthers my assumption that Ubisoft Reflections and Ivory Tower are aiming for the scope and technical prowess to be high while leaving the basics of driving largely untouched. Certainly if the game can deliver on its visuals consistently, as well as the size of the map and various multiplayer features, there still needs to be some fun things to do within that world.
After the free roam session had ended, we got a rundown on the possibilities of customisation, everything from changing the engine, to tearing everything down and rebuilding a car from the ground up. For the purpose of the next section our cars were fitted to be off-road.
With three other people, the goal was to smash into, and immobilise an evading armoured truck, working as a team in a mode aptly named Takedown. Racing through the city streets we swerved between oncoming traffic as the truck neared. Soon the off-road tyres came in handy as we were lead towards a populated beach area. While trying to avoid the civilians, I managed to cause what I thought would be bodily harm; however my car phased through the NPCs in an immersion breaking moment of oddity.
Rounding off the session, one of the other players managed to disable the truck while I was probably hanging upside down from a tree. There was satisfaction to be had and the hope that playing with some mates online would yield even more team based fun, both in Takedown and the other modes. After trying out The Crew, I’m confident that it might be able to get a foothold against genre behemoths like Forza and Gran Turismo. As we approach the release of the new consoles later this year, the game’s success is hinged on potential player’s willingness to accept a new member into the already highly valued racing game scene.
The Crew is coming to the Xbox One, PS4 and PC – Early 2014.