E3 2013: The Crew Preview
Joe Anderson | 2 years ago
Coming from the team at Reflections behind the Driver series, The Crew is an interesting proposition. It’s essentially an open-world (or open-United States, if we’re being specific) racing game that relies on cooperative activity and having a steady stream of friends playing at any time. I sat down during E3 and played The Crew running on an Xbox One, but the scenario was hardly ideal.
Sitting in a behind closed doors demo room, I picked up my controller and was guided through the opening of The Crew on Xbox One. Only it didn’t use the controller. Instead, my demo runner picked up the iPad and helped me choose a car, location, etc. before “beaming” it to the game. Once they looked around and signaled that everyone was ready to go, I was able to finally start using the controller to drive some cars.
It was squirly, but Driver games have always been that way, so it didn’t feel too off from what Reflections had done in the past. Speaking purely in terms of how the vehicles control, it felt like a mix of Driver: San Francisco and Motorstorm. Bear with me, this is due to the game’s constant shift between on-road and off-road segments.
It might take some getting used to if you’re only used to playing Forza or Gran Turismo, but The Crew has a more arcade-y vibe to it that sells its cooperatively-competitive tone quite well. It doesn’t take itself too seriously without coming off as a complete joke at the same time. It fits with the “this is your racing crew” motif that is pervasive throughout all of the trailers and marketing material that they’ve shown up until this point.
This unique balance between off-road and track segments lends itself to the deep customization system that The Crew brings to the table. It isn’t just about swapping around the paint styling or giving your ride a new spoiler, you can tear the car down to a very basic and deep level to make deep changes that fundamentally change the way that the vehicle performs, allowing you to tailor it to the situation at hand.
If you’re a car person, you’d know that in real-life you’d be burned at the stake for trying to take a Skyline GTR off-roading, but here you can modify it enough that it’s almost unrecognizable as it’s plowing through the muddy hills of the midwest. Modify it one more time and you can take it onto the streets of Las Vegas to race down the strip in a drag race. It’s all about customization and does so extremely well.
The cooperative nature of The Crew is interesting because, while there’s still competitive races and purely competitive multiplayer to it, working together is a big focus of what we’ve seen so far. The opponents that I had just raced against became teammates as we worked to take down an armored truck that was speeding through the beaches and city of Miami. The dynamic changed and it became about communicating in a positive way and working together, something that you don’t get much of in racing games.
It’s different and yet, somehow, it works. It manages to change the way that I see racing games, there’s now a more elevated goal beyond simply finishing a race in first for the entire game. We don’t know much about how the open-world racing will factor into it overall though, so some things are still up in the air. I look forward to seeing how that develops and where this method of cooperative racing can take The Crew as we approach release.
Words by Alex Rubens.
Edited On 20 Jun, 2013
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