There was only one video game I received this Christmas (I did ask for more!), which was Ubisoft's new racing game 'The Crew'. I chose this particular racing game over others not because the mechanics made it feel like the best racer, but due to it's online multiplayer, which is not something I usually do. My younger brother, who also has a PS4, said that he would be getting the game and we should create a 'crew' in order to play online challenges. If I was going to get any joy from The Crew, then surely it could be had from kicking my brother's arse in races?
My initial dealings with The Crew (stupid name btw) were not very promising. I didn't realise that this was one of those new console games that requires an 'always online connection' in order to play. I encountered this recently with Destiny, which can be hugely annoying when the developers release a patch for their game. You see my internet connection is very slow, so when game patches are released that measure 1GB, I can't do anything for several hours! So it was a couple of days before I could sit down with my new game.
The game's introduction is nothing spectacular, but once you see the main character framed for his brother's murder, I immediately became intrigued. Yes I know that the plot sounds a bit cliché, but I like 'over the top' cheesiness of it all. It kinda shares the same themes as the Fast and Furious film series, so if you're a fan of that then you're sure to love the plot of this game. After your character (Alex) spends 5 years in jail, he is approached by an FBI agent (Zoe) to infiltrate the 510's motor gang in order to bring down the corrupt cop, who framed you for your brother's murder at the start of game.
The Crew has been labelled an open world driving game, and because of it's 'always online' feature, has also been called an MMO (massively multiplayer online game). When checking the map of the United States you will see other players online who are also. You may even bump into them when you're off completing challenges. Also, because the map is so freakin' huge, it can take players up to 45 minutes in real time to drive from coast to coast, however, there is the ability to fast travel (provided you've already been to the area) or you can use the train stations and airports.
There's an extensive tuning system within the game, so even if you start with a stock vehicle, you'll soon have a street racer capable of leaving fellow players in your dust. The fun doesn't stop with street racers, you can also customise vehicles for off road and the race track. It's therefore necessary to take part in challenges, as these will help unlock car parts that you can fit to your ride. There's challenges for Speed, Scramble, Jump, Precision, Follow, Climb, Escape and Slalom. Ubisoft has also created a companion app for players who want to customise their vehicle whilst away from home, which is available for iOS and Android.
I'm enjoying my time playing The Crew, it's a game that feels familiary like Need For Speed: Underground 2, which back in the day when I was a teenager I enjoyed very much with my friends. And that's the key here, if the game is fun and you enjoy those times when you're playing with friends online, then surely it's a game worth owning. When playing The Crew for the first time you've got to give a chance, as it makes a terrible first impression. Once you completed enough challengers and earned better parts for your chosen car, that's when it starts to become fun and rewarding.
I would recommend this video game to adults and teenagers only, because it occasionally contains bad language and some of the cut-scenes shows acts of violence, but it not something the player has control over. The Crew has a PEGI 12 rating and is currently selling for £25.00 on Amazon. If you do decide to purchase the game, or already have it, I would highly recommend setting up a Uplay account. It's a reward scheme created by Ubisoft that gives members credit when they complete certain challenges within Ubisoft games. These credits can then be spent on rewards, such as a 2010 Dodge Viper that I bought for 100 credits (it's a very good car for completing challenges!).