Ubisoft’s next-generation line-up is trying it’s best to cover all bases, with action, strategy and racing all at the forefront of the new consoles’ agenda. The Crew is the publisher’s taste of that third genre, building on the open world racing ruleset established with Test Drive Unlimited six years ago and evolved overtime on current-generation formats. Now, with next-generation horsepower, there’s no longer a divide between hitting the streets and calling you mates in to play with you.
The name suggests that this is a videogame designed around setting up or becoming part of an online gang; a group of players who work together to takedown rival teams and dominate the streets not as individuals, but as equal parts of a whole. While this is of course possible The Crew promises to be equally entertaining when playing with only a few friends. All missions in The Crew can be played solo or co-operatively whether that be a member of your team, a friend or a stranger.
The Crew is spread across the entire of the US (minus Alaska) though of course some liberties have been taken. Fourteen carefully selected cities are included in the videogame and each is a reasonable interpretation of its real world counterpart. Landmarks are featured and are accurately represented (and also present a collection mini-game) in their locality. From the very start of the videogame all of this will be playable, with the player given the opportunity to drive across the map or fast travel to discovered locations if they so wish.
Of course, with such a drastically varied arrangement of cities and states The Crew features some very different terrain types. The player will have to adjust their vehicle to accommodate new challenges, and as such The Crew features an impressive customisation system. According to Ubisoft each car is a nineteen piece puzzle, with players able to drilldown to the very core of their vehicle and see where the parts that you are earning for successful races fit, and exactly what they do to benefit your vehicles. As players will need to constantly make adjustments they can do so on the fly – at any point outside of a race – equipping new tyres, brakes or even engine parts to ensure that you can take to the terrain with confidence.
The handling itself is a reasonable facsimile of real driving whilst still remaining fun: The Crew isn’t a simulation along the lines of Gran Turismo or Forza Motorsport, but rather an accessible racing experience more closely related to the DiRT series. Players will soon learn to swing their backend out and take corners sideways, where to hit the hill to get the best airtime and exactly how hard they need to hot rival vehicles to knock them off their driving line. The Crew is a rush racer that stands aside from DriveClub and Forza Motorsport 5, and this will undoubtedly work in it’s favour this winter.