The Crew has received some serious attention this year already, as Ubisoft is touting it as a new revolution in the action-racing game genre. Selling itself as a racing MMO in an open world replicating the United States – that’s quite the pitch to sell to gamers. With the release not until November it was time to get an early indication as to whether Ubisoft really can pull it off via the closed beta.
This was the second closed beta on the PC which allowed a number of gamers to test drive The Crew. With any beta there were the occasional initial connection issues but once I was in, wow was I blown away with just how good this game looked.
You are immediately thrown into the open world trying to evade cops in a high speed chase. I was honestly having a hard time concentrating on racing as the landscape was beautifully detailed for any racing game I had come across.
Unfortunately that was the main highlight for me. I wanted to enjoy my beta experience based off all the hype and how good it looks, but I couldn’t get past the cheesy cliché storyline, irritating cut scenes while racing and somewhat jarring racing mechanics.
The Crew is incredibly reminiscent of Need for Speed: Underground, in terms of gameplay and storyline. Why these games insist on a storyline is still beyond me, nevertheless the cutscenes are there to make me irritable at a character that I couldn’t care less about. While you drive between missions in this open world it is very easy to get distracted – there is lots to do. How interesting all these activities are is up for debate.
While exploring this open world is where the MMO aspect comes into play as you can meet other drivers in the area, hook up and join a crew. This pure and simple did not meet my enjoyment expectations. The reality is I don’t want to join a stranger for a race to have them finish first and complete my mission for me when I wipe out.
I don’t find racing with others in co-op mode satisfying in the slightest. If I’m struggling on a track I want to work at it and complete it myself.
The expansive world is impressive and I love the idea of driving from city to city across the States. Ubisoft seems to think exploring this world with other people will make it more enjoyable, but I’m not sold. Especially not on the monuments you can collect while driving around.
Whether it is because I’m not from the United States and can’t appreciate a seemingly normal suburban street and understand its significance I find it superfluous to hunt these down.
The biggest irk I had with this game is the driving itself. I would skim a passing car or hit a seemingly small rocky terrain patch and it would send my car flying. Not only flying but to a super crash cut-scene which while I can skip it – I don’t understand the need to ruin the fluidity of a racing car game.
I sincerely hope Ubisoft do iron out these kinks before the final release because to purchase a AAA racing game and to not have the basics cemented will not cut it.
The variety of cars and systematic way of unlocking more and upgrading your car and levelling up is nothing revolutionary. It works as well as expected but don’t come into this game thinking that it is much different from your standard racing games.
In fact I’d recommend on holding out til release time and keeping an eye out on the reception to the game. If Ubisoft can’t get the basic driving mechanics down pat then I am simply not interested in driving in a super social MMO open world fancy pants action-racing game.