It occurred to me when I found out that I was going to be reviewing The Crew “Calling All Units,” that developing a realistic racing game these days must be really tough. The genre is pretty heavily saturated and when you’re aiming for realism, there’s not a lot of creative wiggle room.
So how do you differentiate? Add a story? Add crazy amounts of vehicles and customisation? Make a humongous open world or maybe all of the above? Well The Crew, “Calling All Units” has decided to go for the latter, more ambitious option with mixed success.
Having not played The Crew in its original release I understand the physics and graphics of the original have had a pretty big overhaul with the release of the “Calling All Units” expansion. I can’t draw any comparisons, but my biggest bone to pick with The Crew is the physics. The handling is loose and I often felt like my car was sliding along the ground rather than rolling. Trying to drift was especially not very satisfying.
The sense of speed isn’t quite there either. My speedo would be telling me I was over 200km/h, but it felt like a much more pedestrian pace. It’s something you get used to, but it never quite feels as responsive as I’d like. While we’re talking about physics, the vehicle damage modelling is not too bad. it’s nice to see bits of my cars buckle and bend in the location they were struck and the deformations look pretty reasonable.
Story wise, we are looking at a cliché cocktail. Take one murdered brother, a crooked FBI agent, add your character getting framed and jailed for 5 years, shake well and pour into a travel mug for a revenge story on wheels. The voice acting is decent and to be fair, as a means of giving some flavour to missions, the story gets the job done. It’s a bit irritating that the prologue story is unavoidable at the start. In open world games, I prefer to have the choice to follow a provided narrative if I chose, but more often than not I prefer to just wander off and find my own way. Once the prologue is completed however, welcome to options! Car options, parts options, spec options, destination options!
I spent quite a while just cruising in a random direction, completing little side quests and visiting tuning shops and dealers. There is a lot to do and if all you want to do is cruise around and take photos for money you can. If you want to dive head first into the ridiculous depth of car customisation you can; although, be prepared to be broke at all times.
The Monster Truck skate park made me want to go find the old hot wheels tracks I had buried away somewhere. I found myself trying to explore a lot without using the map, mainly due to the fact that exiting the map had up to 4 second load time, which became very tedious, very quickly. But with the right perspective this just added to the fun of the open world aspect of this game.
There is a lot of fun to be had in The Crew, calling all units if you are prepared to go find it and to overlook some of its shortcomings.
The Crew “Calling All Units” was reviewed on PS4 with a promotional digital download copy provided to PowerUp! by Ubisoft.
Game Title: The Crew "Calling All Units"
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