An ‘arcade’ flavored driver with a big old chip on its shoulder, The Crew is about racing other people, and it’s about doing it over huge spaces. Calling themselves ‘The World’s Greatest Playground’ the folks at Ubisoft are nothing if not ambitious, and it might be the world’s largest driving playground, with a map that covers all the continental US.
The Crew Was Developed by Ivory Tower, and published by Ubisoft
Release Date: Dec 2, 2014
Genre: Open-world, Driver
Part of an ongoing trend which is seeing games become destinations of gameplay, a sort of digital theme park dedicated to a genre, rather than simply pre-boxed single serving experiences. I’m sure in a decade or so, that’s exactly what they will be. For now, games like this remain open ended, open world, just… well, open, open and available for you to drop in and define your own experience. We can probably thank multiplayer in a world of financial hardship for the trend, where one game can endlessly generate content at the direction of the players involved. But enough of this speculating, where does it leave us? With a big ole world full of roads, just waiting for someone to rip down them at unreasonable rates of speed. Ubisoft have proven themselves adept at delivering experiences loved by the masses, let’s see what they can do for driving cars in a huge amount of space, with, The Crew.
An open-world, driver, The Crew is very much about multiplayer. Driving is fun by yourself, but, let’s face it, if you’re doing something ill advice in a vehicle, its a lot more fun if there’s other people too. Besides, you can’t race alone (unless you’re trying to top someone’s time I suppose, then you can totally race alone). One of the setbacks that will have some nerds up in arms is the requirement of a constant internet connection. Yes, frustrating if you want a race and can’t get online, but in a few years, expect this to be a much more common experience.
The title speaks to it’s nature as a Co-op experience, and I think we all agree that a high speed police chase is a lot more fun with 3 or 4. and it’s not just a multiplayer, it does have a storyline that spans an fairly impressive stretch of hours and missions. With a plot like something out of a Fast and Furious movie, players ‘take the wheel’ as street racing anti-hero, in a ‘race’ against time and the cops as he tries to clear his name. It’s the standard sort of fare, seen in other similar Arcade sort of drivers. It’s not genre bending stuff, but it’s as good an excuse as any to take the wheel and hit the road.
So, like, just how ‘open’ world are we talking?
Well friends, should you fancy a bit of a drive, players are free to drive from coast to coast along the map, a mind boggling achievement, which covers all of the continental USA. Granted this has been scaled down to game size but a trip from the Big Apple to Venice Beach will still take about 40 minutes… and that’s if you don’t take the scenic route. All this scenery means you should expect some truly awe inspiring vistas to race amongst, with so many things to choose from, you could hardly blame the designers if they cherry picked some stunners.
Dedicated to ‘the drive’ the folks at Ubi have built what I hope and expect will become a sort of high water mark for games of this sort, an entire American countryside to enjoy at high speeds, preferably with friends. Though it does require a constant internet connection, and it’s plotline won’t be winning any awards for originality, for those of us with a four wheeled itch to scratch no one can boast quite as many roads as The Crew.