The first I had heard of The Crew was during Ubisoft’s big E3 press conference. I’m a big racing game fan, and what I saw on display had me rather excited. I was sold on the gorgeous next-gen graphics, and the go anywhere, coast-to-coast world map of the entire (albeit slightly deformed) United States.
Ubisoft had an extensive demo on display within the confines of their E3 booth. The demo was seemingly as long and extensive as the line, but there were enough shennanigans unfolding on Ubi’s large center stage to keep everyone distracted. The in-game iPad/tablet integration also shortened the wait time by allowing me to customize my choice of ride before getting my hands on the Xbox One controller. The customization menu was extensive, but clearly limited for demo purposes. I imagine the retail version of this game will tickle all the right OCD spots for those looking to collect new paint jobs, stickers, rims, body styles, etc.
After setting up my ride, I was handed a controller and a headset and was briefed on the game controls and concepts by my very own, live in the flesh demo tour guide. It was all very familiar to those who have ever played a racing game. I was allowed to choose a zone for my first race, so I figured the sunny confines of the West coast was fitting given my current location.
My first task was finishing a point to point race in either first or second place. It was a blacktop race up a windy mountain pass, and I crossed the finish line in second. After reviewing a screen of race stats, was whisked back out to the mountainous area for some free roam fun. This is a truly open world, and the basic concept is, if you can see it and the surface looks even enough to drive upon, you can!
So when my demo guide mentioned this, I promptly hotfooted offroad. The look, scope and sheer enormity of the game world is breathtaking, and the arcadey driving physics seem very spot on as I was drifting corners like a champ in no time flat. After a little free roam it was back to another game play mode.
This time I was teleported over to the East coast for a little top down cruising through Miami. I believe I could have driven all the way there if not for the limited demo time, which is something I’ve always dreamt of in a video game. But that’s something I guess I’ll have to wait to try out. Right now it was time to show off one of the game’s co-operative driving modes.
The drivers in the four demo stations that were standing in a row were now tasked with taking down a much larger hummer who was tearing through the streets (and beaches) of Miami. It was an absolute free-for-all of carnage and destruction. Unfortunate pedestrians were fleeing this way and that, and and all four participants were maybe a little too aggressive in our takedown strategies. Thankfully there was a convenient reset button for those occasions when our crashes were a little too over the top.
When it was all said and done, the four of us finally succeeded in taking down the rouge Hummer, and my enjoyable time with the demo was over. I’m excited to see more of what The Crew has to offer, and really can’t wait to get a better feel of the whole dynamic of swapping between single player, multi-player, and co-op directly on the fly. If it all works out, this could be my next-gen racing game of choice.