Friday, 16 September 2016

First Impressions: The Crew

Ah, Ubi 30, how we love you. The 4th free game in Ubisoft's birthday celebrations, The Crew was not a game I was expecting to be able to pick up due to its comparable young age compared to Prince of Persia: Sands of Time and the original Splinter Cell. But here we are, an open-world multiplayer drive-em-up with a story. Awesome.

After fiddling around with the graphics and controls (automatically set to lefty!) I jumped straight into the game and straight into a police chase I might add. Charging straight forward over farmland and fences to the finish line it turned out that this police chase was, surprisingly, unplanned for the street racer I was controlling. The police weren't just there to draw spectators. Who knew?

Lost the police, now it's on to the racing right? Nope, not quite, as we had to do the customary Ubisoft thing of going to the giant pylon/ariel/satellite so that I could see everything which was available to me in the area. The very small area in comparison to the huge map, which comprises of a scaled-down version of the entire USA. Found the muscle car stashed in a barn and it was time to get to the race and I've got to say, being told to go to lots of markers is much less infuriating if you can drive everywhere.

Won the race nice and easily (I am supposedly the best driver in the world) and am now with my brother Dayton to go and talk to a member of the street racing gang he is a part of - the 501 club. A nice little touch I thought was nice is that the hierarchy is made up of engine sizes with the chief being the V8 etc. Anyway, spoilery stuff happens and we end up 5 years in the future where our character has struck a deal with the FBI to take down some people.

What's great (and a bit odd) is that, due to this being a racing game, everything is settled in the races. I mean, there's no fights or shooting minigame no, just you, your car and your max 60 fps (there is a cap). Off I went to complete the next mission in the story, doing a couple of challenges here and there (they start as soon as you drive over them) but suddenly I was told to drive 7 miles in the opposite direction to participate in an Extreme Challenge.

Turns out this is actually the introduction to the DLC Wild Run, which I don't currently own, but after having a go at what it offers - Monster Truck racing, drag racing and drift races, I might just have to get it sometime. Back to the main game, though, and there I was, driving around in my Japanese sports car, radio on, people driving past. It's actually quite therapeutic and relaxing, just being to enjoy this stretch of open world and is really immersive.

Graphically, the game is great (I do have the graphics overhaul which came with Wild Runs release) and I'm comfortably able to run the game on ultra with 30 fps (although with antialiasing turned down slightly) and I've experienced no connection issues which is always a bonus. The cinematics look even better and the transitions between cinematic and game aren't jarring at all really, another thing which is appreciated.

Conclusion: overall, I've really enjoyed my time with this game so far and have been really pleased with the driving mechanics (even with a keyboard), the story and voice acting are excellent and with it being free to download for the rest of September, what's not to love?

Thanks for reading, Satamer.

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