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The Crew: Wild Run

By Bobfish29-10-2015
The Crew: Wild Run

The Defence

Ivory Tower; Ubisoft Reflections
MMO, Racing
Release Date:

The Prosecution

Intel Core i5 2.66 GHz
AMD Phenom II X4 3.0 GHz
Nvidia GeForce 670
AMD equivalent
8 GB
18 GB
10, 11

First things first, the recent The Crew: Wild Run open beta, was not a beta. It was tech demo, which even identified itself as such. Most likely, the term ‘beta’ was used for marketing reasons, and because it’s a term that is a lot easier for people to understand. Which is fine and all, but there’s nothing at all wrong with a tech demo. As evidenced by the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it. Helped a great deal by the fact the servers actually work now. No more driving around a ghost town, dropping connection to any and all people nearby the moment one enters an area more densely populated than my cats butt.

Having said all that, it left the overall experience still feeling a little disappointing. Whilst the strength of The Crew is most certainly in the time you spend simply cruising across the US, either alone or with friends. The lack of anything even remotely approaching a story mode left everything feeling a little hollow. Which is not to say there was nothing to do. Far from it. There are a dizzying amount of challenge missions in the game, all of which seem to have made their way into the beta, along with some new ones geared specifically around the new vehicle and spec types. Though they add little in and of themselves, as a whole, they do help keep the game alive by giving a feeling of something to do.

Of the new features, the three new car specs (Drag, Drift and Monster) were the more interesting part. The Monster in particular was just balls to the wall stupidity, in all the right ways. Much like their real world counterparts, their wheels are made of Flubber and even the slightest ding will send you catapulting into the air, where you can then do front and backflips. Yeah, seriously. You can do backflips. In a car. What’s not to love?

On my way to the camp site.

On my way to the camp site.

Dragsters were interesting, but rather limited in scope. Much like the Circuit spec already in the base game, the primary purpose of the new tuning options are to make your car go vroom. Which they succeed at efficiently, without the made of tissue paper drawback of the Circuit spec. Whilst the drag challenges themselves are interesting, but ultimately frustrating to get the timing of your burn and gear changes perfect. Though having a Dragster itself makes the new Long Jump (like, across the grand frikkin’ canyon) a hell of a lot of fun. Not to mention possible ‘cause, like, not other type of car (or bike) is fast enough to pull it off.

Lastly, Drift is...interesting. The moment your wheels start moving it’s abundantly clear that you’re on ice laced with baby oil. You’ll find yourself just slipping and sliding everywhere, no matter what you do. Which is kind of the point, but can be a bit of an annoyance at times. Most certainly not the car spec you want to be going with for everyday driving. Which has them feeling a little gimmicky and almost entirely superfluous. Though the Drift challenges themselves are fun to play, which makes it ever so slightly this side of becoming a zero sum.

Bikes feel equally meh. Without any specific gameplay elements built around them, they end up being little more than cosmetic. However, though the handling is a bit wonky, it is really cool to be zipping around on a tricked out Ninja. Whilst the fact they also have various tuning options gives them some variety, and pulling wheelies can be fun, as well as doing mid-air flips and tricks. They just need something more targeted to make them feel anything beyond...just there really.

Feels so slow, must be driving under the speed limit.

Feels so slow, must be driving under the speed limit.

Newly added features don’t stop there however. The new Summit event, which is basically a persistent mass party geared entirely around driving in a crew really helps build a sense of community. With it being really easy to drop in and out, comprising mostly of fairly short races geared around the different car specs, it even makes the community aspect of the game appeal to someone as notoriously anti-social as me. The pressure and competitive side of PVP is much less prevalent, so it feels a lot more like just hanging out with a few likeminded people.

The final two features, Freedrive Challenge and Stunts are pretty cool too. Though the former is really confusing, asking you to set up a path across the country...then nothing. It seems to be intended that you should upload them to challenge other drivers, but the only option available after setting one up was cancel, meaning the final verdict on how it works long-term will have to wait for full release. Though the idea is straight forward and I can see it being pretty cool. There are some quite creative people out there and it will be interesting to see the kind of cross country jaunts they come up with.

Freedrive Stunts is awesome. As the name implies, the whole point is to drive around and perform stunts. Though it’s not quite that simple. Rather than leaving the player to decide what they want to do, it will pop up with various challenges as you go. Such as overtaking a certain number of cars, spending x amount of time in the air (from jumps) or vehicle specific stunts like pulling a wheelie on your motorcycle. With each challenge lasting only a couple of minutes and changing around a lot, it keeps you on your toes and encourages you to swap around both your vehicle and your location on the map.

Because the best vehicle for a snowy road is a two-wheel superbike.

Because the best vehicle for a snowy road is a two-wheel superbike.

The largest change from the base game came in the visuals however. Which was genuinely impressive, because The Crew is a great looking game to begin with. The Crew: Wild Run is simply gorgeous. And significantly better optimised than its predecessor. Even with all the settings maxed out, my now aging 6970 maintained a solid 30+ frames...at all times apart from rainstorms. Which are gorgeous, but just killed my rig. Worth it though, absolutely worth. And best of all, the real coup de grace.

Your rear-view mirror now has reflections! They’re a bit basic, and laughably low rez, but they’re there. You don’t need to flip to a backwards view to see what’s going on behind you anymore, which is precisely what rear view mirrors exist for. And let me assure you, they make it far, far easier to have perfect aim when you slam on your breaks, skid sideways and stop that poor unfortunate coming up behind you when he slams right up your butt. Admit it, we all want to do that every once in a while. Hehe.

All in all, there’s a lot to like. Though there are still a few bits and pieces that are underwhelming. It’s possible those complaints could be addressed with the full release. New story missions geared around the new vehicle options would be a very good thing to add.

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