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The Crew 2 review

I really enjoyed playing through The Crew; its ambition was hard not to fall in love with and the miniaturised digital playground of the United States was a lot of fun to race around in. The Crew 2 promises more – with a bigger representation of the US and more toys to play with but is it in danger of becoming a jack of all trades, master of none?

Let’s get this out of the way… it’s hard not to draw similarities with Forza Horizon and the two can exist in much the same way that Pro Evo and Fifa do. Rather than lean heavily on racing physics, braking and racing lines, The Crew 2 goes for a more arcade experience – think the Need for Speed Underground series.

Boats and planes are new to the game and add a neat dynamic to the action. Racing on the waves needs consideration of how your boat sits in the water and how to use the wake of your boat to slow your opponents. Meanwhile flying is split into racing and acrobatic events. While failing to produce adrenaline pumping set pieces, the acrobats have you flailing about in the air to complete sets of requested stunts before having some freestyle time. Racing through the air can’t quite recreate the excitement of the Red Bull air races and while laboured, they are still fun to play through.

Other pastimes that provided me with much amusement were stomping around an arena playground doing stunts and collecting points in a Monster Truck. Drag racing, which while hardly an exciting game mode, is well implemented by challenging you to perform burnouts and accurately change through the gears to get the best time. My favourite though was the drift racing. Sliding around the track without clipping the sides while chaining moves together was a lot of fun and provided a challenge I relished, although it’s a shame that drift races versus another car wasn’t recreated.

By playing through just these few events it’s easy to see that The Crew 2 is distinctively different from Forza Horizon. Rather than produce a ‘me too’ game, Ivory Tower have tried to create something special and if it wasn’t for the lackluster online environment, odd bugs and game mechanics, The Crew 2 could quite easily have overtaken Horizon as my go too vehicular playground.

Jumps, bumps and grinds are all very solid on the ride of the car, striking that arcade racer genre firmly on the piston head. Bumping off the sides of the road is done so with comedy effect, meaning you can ignore braking and just pinball around the track, but it also makes the racing less fluid because the cars don’t respond with the same camber mechanics that Forza is renown for.

Some races are also plagued by rubber banding, which is really frustrating when you shoot wide of the track and the AI go sailing past appearing to make little to no mistakes. Another frustration I had with the game was the long load times – I appreciate the world is huge – but loading a small track surely shouldn’t take as long?

The worst bug I suffered was confounded by my initial lack of understanding of the upgrade loot system. Win a race and grab some loot, which is randomly generated, before slotting it onto your vehicle to upgrade its abilities sounds simple enough, but when I hit a roadblock in progression and returned to an earlier race to grind out some parts, the time limit I was given was impossible to achieve. Was I doing something wrong? I couldn’t find a way to buy additional parts so was I expected to grind for cash to buy a better vehicle? I eventually found the solution – quitting the game entirely and rebooting.

My final frustration with The Crew 2 concerns the opening sequence, which takes place during the game’s main event – LIVE XTREM – racing across all disciplines. As you finish one type of race the world zooms and twists like something out of Inception or Doctor Strange before your vehicle transforms into a new one, it’s absolutely awesome but is unfortunately only prevalent during this opening sequence and is a missed opportunity to inject some additional personality into the game.

Despite this, there are some cool moments and The Crew 2 makes great use of its environments, offering chances to make giant leaps from building-to-building or plunging from the Hoover Dam. Unfortunately, with a fast travel system that allows you to hop from event to event, you won’t see much from the excellent landscape that has been crafted, unlike Forza Horizon, there’s little incentive in driving from race-to-race. While I applaud the option of jumping from event-to-event, taking away the need to exist within an open world makes the whole experience much more like any other racer where you just select one track after another.

Despite the size of the world, it is very devoid of life and activity. During races animals skimp past your vehicle often narrowly missing death, while pedestrians jump in horror if you career wildly off the road, but traffic is otherwise absent. I caught glimpses of brake lights as cars in front disappeared like ghostly apparitions. After a reboot traffic issues seemed to be remedied slightly but the world was still too sterile and planned, it was like I was in the Truman Show.

Sadly, my initial question wraps up The Crew 2 neatly. Despite great vision with some truly wonderful moments and some fantastic arcade racing, the game has set its sights too high. With such a vast canvas and an array of events aiming to please every petrol head, the game struggles to show its soul.

Thanks to Ubisoft for supporting TiX

The Crew 2 gets a release date of June 29th 2018 – Beta sign-up open

The Crew 2 has finally been given a release date of 29th June 2018 and will be available on Xbox One, PS4 and PC. The sequel to the 2014 game expands on the open-world setting but introduces other vehicles such as powerboats and planes. Ubisoft have also released a lovely new trailer which you can see below.

The Crew 2 originally had a release date of March 16th, but was delayed to Q3 2018 in order for developer Ivory Tower to “deliver an experience that fulfils both our fans’ and our own quality expectations.”

If you wish to pre-order there are a number of different editions available to you. As well as the Standard edition, which comes with a legendary car pack featuring the Mercedes-AMG C 63 Touring Car 2016 and the Harley-Davidson Iron 883TM 2017, there is also the Gold edition, Motor Edition and the Deluxe edition. Visit the official website for further details on each of these packs.

There is also a beta planned and you can show your interest by going to the official beta sign-up website.

The Crew, The Police and a bunch of Diamond Parts

A couple of weeks ago we announced a new expansion was coming the The Crew. Titled Calling All Units, the expansion would add law enforcement into the game and allow you to either run as part of your 510’s evading the cops or be the cops trying to shut down the illegal street racers. Well more information has now come to light on what the next expansion will include and just how you can get hold of it.

The Crew Calling All Units Lvl 60

Currently the game caps out at 50 and to be honest it won’t take long to reach that, but with the introduction of Calling All Units this has now been increased to 60. However it won’t just be the expansion players that can reach this new level, players of The Crew, The Crew Wild Run, and The Crew Calling All Units will have access to the new lvl 60 cap from the go.  Experience will be gained in the usual ways:

  • Missions
  • Skill Challenges
  • PvP
  • Exploration

But now with the addition of Police Chases thrown into the mix to add a little spice, mayhem and adventure there is even more ways to level up. The slight change comes when you hit level 51, as this is where you can start picking up Diamond Parts. Diamond parts will confer more than one bonus stat at the time, scaling from two bonuses at lvl 51 to all 4 (Acceleration, Top speed, Grip, Braking) bonuses at the same time at lvl 60. Therefore collecting and fitting these to your cars is essential if you want to achieve top performance.

The Crew Diamond Part

Finally there is smart loot, which has undergone some minor changes as described below;

  • Smart Loot will now be won at all levels.
  • As such, all Skill Challenges in the game can now be played by absolutely anyone – no matter their level. For example, a level 10 player can access any skill on the West Coast!
  • Players will only win parts that they can equip.
  • The drop will also vary according to the type of activity. The longer and more challenging the activity, the better the reward!

So that’s a brief summary of what to expect but the question is how do you get hold of it?

Players who don’t own The Crew will have the opportunity to grab the whole experience in one go, with The Crew Ultimate Edition. This includes The Crew, The Crew Wild Run and The Crew Calling All Units expansions, as well as all 19 cars from the Season Pass. You will be able to get it at your local store or online at the price of £39.99.

However, if you’re part of the 9 million players who already own The Crew, you can pick up The Crew Calling All Units expansion, available on all digital stores for the price of £19.99. This will come with The Crew Wild Run for free.

Finally for players that own the The Crew Wild Run already, when they pick up their copy of The Crew Calling All Units, you will automatically get the Nissan GT-R 2016 for free, which is a Calling All Units exclusive vehicle. This is available to anyone who has bought and played The Crew Wild Run before the release of The Crew Calling All Units expansion.

The Crew Calling All Units expansion is set for release on November 29th On PC and Xbox One. For further information about The Crew game check out the Official Website and at the same time why don’t you check out the announcement trailer below?

Cops take on street racers in The Crew’s next expansion

Today at Gamescom Ubisoft have announced the next expansion to their successful driving MMO The Crew, titled Calling All Units. As the title suggests Calling All Units puts players in the role of police officers tasked with shutting down the street racers and bringing them to justice.

https://youtu.be/xfRlXedAfEE

The Calling All Units expansion will bring with it a new 12 mission storyline where players will be able to develop tactics, collect new vehicles as well as the normal new cars parts and XP. With Supercars, SUV’s and motorbikes all decked out in police livery high speed pursuits can happen anytime, anywhere, and with players able to access both the police and the racers it’s going to be frantic. However it won’t be as easy as you think as the racers will be equipped with flashbangs, unlimited nitro, and other abilities to help them evade capture but the police will also have a few surprises up their sleeves.

The Crew - Calling All Units

The Crew Calling All Units is set for release on November 29 on Xbox One and PC. However if you’re new to the game and looking to dive into the full experience The Crew Ultimate Edition will be released on the same day and this pack will include, The Crew Wild Run expansion, the Calling All Units expansion, and the Season Pass vehicles with their customization options.

If you are still not convinced then why don’t you try the free trial currently available to download for the PC and Xbox One which includes the core game and also The Wild Run expansion? This trial can be downloaded at the Xbox Store of from The Crew Official Website.

The Crew adds Practice Mode to the Summit

The monthly Summit is an event all to familiar to those regular players of The Crew and the expansion update that came in the form of Wild Run. Well until recently you havent been able to test you luck and practice for the Summit until the time of the event but this has all changed now. Following the February patch players can now use the Practice Mode to try Monster Truck, Drag and Drift challenges outside of the Summit or Qualifiers.

However like the Event and Qualifiers, Practice mode still ranks you depending on skill but this also means you can get rewarded on your performance bagging rewards in the form of XP, bucks and even car parts.

The_Crew_Practice

This wasn’t the only change to come this month and below are some of the other changes you can find.

Handling update

Improved aerodynamics, better steering reactivity, improved counter steering, improved grip behavior, increased differences between Driving Help/Sport/Hardcore driving modes for:

  • Chevrolet Corvette C3 FULL STOCK/PERF
  • Alfa Romeo 4C FULL STOCK/PERF
  • Hummer H1 FULL STOCK/STREET/PERF/DIRT/RAID
  • Spyker C8 Aileron FULL STOCK/PERF
  • Chevrolet Corvette C2 FULL STOCK/PERF
  • Abarth 500 FULL STOCK/STREET/PERF
  • Nissan Fairlady Z 432 (PS30) FULL STOCK/PERF/DIRT
  • 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham FULL STOCK/STREET/PERF

Bug fixes and improvements

  • Friends Leaderboards: Improvements have been made to the friends leaderboards to show their current world ranking.
  • Drift trial: Scoring areas have been added. If a player leave these areas he will no longer get points.
  • Monster Arena challenges: The scoring have been slightly tuned to be more accurate.
  • Summit: Qualifier rewards have been rebalanced.
  • Improve vehicle’s picture: Improved quality for vehicles’ icons in the headquarters.

When I logged on the other day I was surprised just how many people still play the game and how the community spirit thrives with players willing to join events, team up and generally cruise around together. So let us know if you still play The Crew, what you think of the Summit Events and the new practice mode. Oh and if you’re ever on and see me, feel free to drop me an invite.

The Crew review

Ubisoft haven’t had the best 2014, sure they’ve released some great titles but some of them have been marred by game breaking bugs or poor connectivity in multiplayer. Now the dust has settled, how does Ubisoft’s MMO racer place on the starting grid and can it get a podium finish? Set in a fictional compressed version of Continental United States, the cities and countryside environments retain their identity but are not too large that you will have to spend hours driving from East to West/North to South.

Need for Speed used to release a yearly title with a storyline that would be right at home in a Fast and Furious film, now The Crew has taken on this mantle. You play as Alex Taylor, voiced by Troy Baker who voiced Pagan Min in Ubisoft’s open world shooter Far Cry 4. You are the brother of a car gangster who is killed by a rival gang member, the police arrive with you at the scene and put two and two together with the help of a crooked FBI agent leaving you in the frame. Five years later and the FBI come crawling to your cell to ask for your help to infiltrate your Brother’s old gang (The 5-10) and bring down the FBI agent that framed you – the story certainly won’t win any awards for originality!

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Ivory Tower are behind the wheel of The Crew so it’s no surprise that the developer brings with it influences from their past, which include Need for Speed and Test Drive Unlimited. It’s also no surprise then that the gameplay is firmly rooted in an arcade style of racing, it worked for Need for Speed so why not the Crew? Well, you need to get the AI right and unfortunately for The Crew the AI is its biggest problem. It swings from ruthless to stupid in a matter of seconds – escaping from thugs and police can be more luck than being a skilful driver and races are also strangely paced – at times you can be out in front but never gain much distance from the pack while other times you’ll crash and the other cars will slow down allowing you to catch up.

It makes the racing feel artificial and lack that ‘edge of your seat’ action. One mission in particular was especially annoying – no matter how hard I raced I was always overtaken at the same point. Not only was this frustrating but it also made the race feel terribly scripted and almost ruined the previous 12 hours I had played.

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You can tweak a variety of settings to help improve the way your car handles, both in the game settings and by upgrading as you level up your character and your car – your car is effectively a separate ‘character’ that can be leveled up with parts won from events and challenges. Unfortunately the ‘parts’ have a minimal effect on your attributes and are really only necessary to increase your level so that you can take part in certain missions. Each rank that your character gains will reward you with a point to invest in perks that help with driving, exploration and purchasing power – you gain a different set of perks from each of the crew members that you meet throughout the campaign.

It’s quite a novel idea to give an RPG-like XP system to both character and car but it does raise the question as to why you’d need to invest money into new vehicles when they are just atheistic! It’s a good job too because some vehicles are so highly priced that you’ll need to grind away for hours to make enough money or succumb to the dreaded micro-transactions to buy that ride you simply must have.

For me, the main technical brilliance of The Crew is the location it’s set in – save for the first loading screen the game streams in seamlessly and there’s plenty to see and do from exploring vast landscapes, hunting down hidden parts of a kit car to visiting hundreds of well-know landmarks or tackling one of the 573 skill challenges – you will certainly be kept busy for many hours to come, that is if you can stomach the arcade racing. The size of the world does mean that graphics are somewhat sacrificed – you can’t expect Forza graphics when the game is rendering the entirety of the Continental United States!

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Another stand out feature for me was the cockpit view. Apart from the rearview mirrors not rendering any reflections, it felt really natural. Instead of opting for a static viewpoint, your view moves naturally when you turn tight corners similar to Forza’s Kinect head tracking. It works really well and you will almost forget you are playing a rigid arcade racer, well until you crash into another vehicle. Crashing has that perfect arcade feel – you bounce right off other cars, or even go through them, unless of course you are travelling too fast or hit something far bigger than you, that rewards you with a Burnout inspired slow motion crash sequence!

The Crew is a real mixed bag – the play area of the game is really impressive and there’s plenty to keep you occupied but the AI and somewhat iffy arcade controls can really ruin the game experience at times. The campaign is a clever balance of story missions and skill challenges – you need to complete skill challenges in order to upgrade your car so that you can compete in the story missions. You can bypass this by playing a co-op game – if one of your ‘crew’ comes first then you will pass that mission. This in itself is a challenge though; despite The Crew being advertised as an MMO there were never more than a small handful of players available in my session and often none of them seemed bothered about joining my game.

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Thankfully the game can be completed purely in single player although because it’s an MMO you do need to have an Internet connection. Aside from Co-op there’s also PVP events and you can form your own crew with your friends or random players in your session. The main MMO element is the persistent ‘war’ between the 5-10 factions – you align yourself with one of them and at the end of each month the faction with the highest reputation points will receive bonus missions for its members that have special rewards.

The Crew lacks that intense racing spirit that Forza Horizon 2 created, instead it’s more like a leisurely Sunday drive, which is certainly no bad thing for when you just want to kick back and relax. It’s best to remember that at its heart The Crew is an arcade racer and shouldn’t be treated with any preconceptions you might have from playing other racing titles. While the MMO elements are rather dubious and the micro-transactions are just plain greedy, I had a great time racing my way across the United States visiting familiar landmarks and experiencing the open road, maybe next time The Crew will take a transatlantic road trip to Europe – I just hope it leaves its dodgy AI behind!

We bought our own copy of the game to bring you this review

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