I’ve always had a penchant for racing games. That being said, I think it’s hard to find a racing title that presents something fresh. With Ubisoft’s The Crew, you can drive across the entirety of the United States. You can therefore, if you wanted, drive all the way from San Francisco to Miami. The world’s map is ridiculous in size, and whether you drive to explore or drive to race with friends, The Crew allows you to choose where to go and how you get there. This fact alone clearly shows its huge ambition, alongside something I’ve never quite seen before; something fresh.
I should probably note that the game is always-online, which may turn some people off, but ultimately makes for a much grander experience. For instance, with a such a large world to explore, you need to ensure the wilderness is always populated. With everyone playing on one huge map, that should mean that streets and roads will always feel alive and vibrant. Unfortunately I didn’t get to confirm whether there might be a limit to the number of players in one world, but I expect there to be plenty nonetheless.
In the final hours of E3 I managed to play against the game’s creative director, as well as many of the other devs, but as a newbie to the series I didn’t perform as well as I’d hoped. Set up with a short race, a marker was placed down on the map and it was my job to get there before the rest of the team. Kitted out with a racing car modified for off-road use, I jumbled out through the town we were in and raced across the icy mountain landscape ahead. Whilst I sped across the snowy fields, I narrowly avoided trees and crashed through countless telephone posts.
I almost felt out of control for most of my time on the track (or not on the track, in my case), but that’s not too surprising, I was driving like a maniac. Somehow, however, amidst the mayhem, I lost sight of my objective and before I knew it everyone had finished but me. If I didn’t make it to the marker in time, it meant that we’d draw the match. It wasn’t long until we did in fact draw, and standing beside the creative director, I couldn’t help but cringe and apologise for my amateur skills.
Just the thought of having the entire United States to explore is outstanding. Add the fact that you can form a crew with your friends and travel together – I might end up losing a fair chunk of my time to this racing sim. I look forward to how the gameplay will hold up even if you don’t have a solid internet connection, but with games like Destiny and other MMOs proving popular nonetheless, perhaps The Crew will be the next big thing to happen to racing in video games.