The Crew is one of those games that you may not have heard a ton about because of the dozens of other games coming up this holiday season, but if you really want to make sure you get your money’s worth when you buy a game this year, The Crew is a surefire investment.
Personally, I’m not a huge racing guy, but when I played The Crew, its open-world depth, vast landscape and captivating gameplay, all equaled an experience I couldn’t walk away from.
Ubisoft is known for its open-world prowess, and The Crew further instills that reputation in a way no other game has before. As you know, The Crew encompasses the entire United States and while cities like Orange County aren’t to scale, this thing is massive.
Some games are big just for the sake of being big, and there’s nothing really special about that. With The Crew, this type of big is deep, dense and dares players to take it on. With dozens and dozens of skills to master, players have plenty to do even before they get into story missions or races. By the way, if you want to level up to level 50 (the max level) by completing skill and side missions, you can do so before you even play one narrative mission.
The big focus of what we looked at during our hands-on session with The Crew though, was the end game content and what that looks like to players. Once players have completed the necessary missions and leveled up to 50, they will unlock Faction Wars. These missions are grueling and will test your will.
Faction Wars can last anywhere from up to 10 minutes to as long as four hours. It all depends on which race you choose and the type of challenge you are looking for. One mission we had to do was drive about 7 miles while we had a limited amount of damage we could take to our cars. If our damage meter ran out, that person would become a spectator.
This was interesting because it was very challenging. You couldn’t just blaze through, bumping into every car on the road. The damage meter was sensitive and it only took one severe crash for your car to become incapacitated. If that happened, you were left hoping one of your other teammates would complete the challenge. Once we finished driving the set out distance, we completed it and received rewards for our job done.
Another race we competed in was a lengthier one-hour race that had us simply hit all of the checkpoints set out for us across Miami. Moving through the city’s highway was where the race primarily took place, but it was definitely a challenge of mental focus and skill.
Finally, the other Faction War that was quite memorable was our race through Sequoia National Park. We raced through the massive, towering forest of redwoods and sequoias. These beasts made the race a lot more challenging for obvious reasons, but they also made the race more enjoyable. Second to the mountain race I’ll tell you about, this race was a personal favorite because of the gorgeous setting.
Oh and the cutscenes in The Crew are some of the best looking cinematics I’ve ever seen in gaming. Wow.
Moving back to skills, there are different types of skills you can harness. They are laid out in challenges like speed, precision and slalom. Each of these provide a different type of driving for players to master. The first is pretty self-explanatory with players trying to drive as fast as they can, for as long as they can, without hitting any objects or traffic. The faster, longer and safer players can drive, the greater their rewards.
The second focuses on players staying on a given driving path for an extended period of time, and the longer players can stay on the line, the more they are rewarded. Finally, the slalom course is just like you would imagine it. Players must weave back and forth through various points to complete the course. The amount of depth and variety in The Crew’s world and mission structure is incredible.
To illustrate this, my crew and I were sent to a snowy part of the U.S.’s mountain region and we had to take down an enemy AI. This particular car was a cross between a Jeep and a pickup truck (I couldn’t remember the name of the car). The vehicle had 100 health units and was insanely difficult to take down because of the setting. Not only did this car weave its way through the snow-covered forest, it did so with precision. I can’t tell you how many trees we hit while trying to take this thing down. This was definitely one of the most difficult missions we faced, but it wasn’t punishing or discouraging either.
In contrast, we got into a similar type of mission in Los Angeles where we had to take down a jail bus carrying one of our friends. This particular bus had 300 health units, but the kicker was it was set primarily in Los Angeles’s storm drain system. The wonderful thing about this setting was there were no trees. It was easier to pin one car up against the bus, while another team member drove straight into it, taking the bus down.
Going into that mission, we thought it was going to be more difficult to complete because of the higher health total the bus had, but the ultimate reason why we were able to succeed was simple. It was the driving location that made it beatable; it was the “X-Factor” if you will.
The Crew is such a bigger experience than anything I can say or convey. It’s truly vast, detailed, enjoyable and outrageously fun. For any players that may have felt slighted by a shooter here or there, The Crew is a surefire investment.
Yes, you will have plenty of games to choose from this holiday season, but on your map more than any other has got to be The Crew. I’m not a racing guru, but when it comes to The Crew, I’m a believer and you will be too. The Crew will be launching on Nov. 11 with its new-gen console betas coming up later this month.