We witnessed the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in detail this E3. There are many differences between the two, more than we could have ever expected. Yet their remains a tab bit of similarities between the two, and that is, both the consoles have had their fair share of racing games this E3. In the midst of established racing titles with upcoming sequels, such as the likes of Forza and Gran Turismo, we have a brand new car racing IP by Ubisoft, called The Crew. Below is Ubisoft’s The Crew E3 Announcement Trailer.
This is an open-world era. Every Triple A game boasts of having an open-world. Open-world is being forced down our throats. However irritating that might sound, being ‘open-world’ is becoming an un-needed staple in the video games of today. And this is the first thing The Crew Production director Pete Young tells me as he hands me over the PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 controller, inviting me to join a session with 3 other journalists who I share the slot, who’re trying out the game for the first time themselves. “They’re calling this World of Carcraft” says Young, as explains to me how The Crew approaches racing the MMO way, with a hint of role-playing mechanics.
The first thing evident to me is the presence of fully licensed authentic cars. The E3 demo version, which is an early alpha build, had the Nissan 370Z and the Chevrolet Corvette to choose from. I went for the 370Z. Customization options are plenty, you can customize anything from top to bottom in your car. Most deep customization options were locked, the only available ones being that of colour, bumper and side skirts.
Next, we move on to the race location selection screen. This is where we see the top down US map. When zoomed in completely, Pete Young claims the map is scaled to a 1:4 ratio, and driving in game from the West Coast to the East Coast in the US of A, will take roughly 20 minutes. I select Miami as the race location. For the demo, only the United States was available with four playable areas.
All the four of us are fast-traveled to Miami for a Takedown event. The objective of this event is to take down an AI controlled hummer, limited by time, and we have to do it as a team. The concept behind the world map is to teleport instantly to wherever your in-game friends are to get into missions right away. This makes the presence of Waiting Lobbies irrelevant, and Young explains that the next-gen consoles offer that platform to allow the inclusion of such conveniences. We saw multiplayer being implement in similar ways in Watch Dogs and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag(click on the links to see our gameplay impressions), all Ubisoft games.
Moving on to how the game actually plays, we drive through the streets of Miami, trying to get the best of the hummer. Our cars are not that easy to control, there is a learning curve. So most of us, including me, end up bumping in palm trees one time too often. Luckily, there is a reset button that gets you back on the trail track of the hummer. But don’t be bumping in palm trees too often, as you could end up having your vehicle being completely wrecked. At the end, we did manage to take down the hummer, and I ended up doing the most damage, thanks to Young’s swift prompt on using the boost button at just the right time to hit the spot. Points are awarded according to how much damage you did to the hummer. If a teammate doesn’t do any damage, he still receives points, because the team objective is achieved. Unlocked points, as usual, enable equipment unlocks and new customization options.Throughout our gameplay, we’re guided by the companion app on an iPad, that displays the world map, customization options and social features.
Summing up, the game does look fun and fresh. Too early to judge though, since this is a pre-Alpha build, and there are many places that needed to be worked upon. Level design clearly is unfinished. Cars handle decently so far, not the best, but not the worst either, we suspect this is a department being worked on. The main highlight in The Crew are the multiplayer features, which I feel is going to be the USP of the game.
The Crew launches “early 2014.”