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The Crew is a brand new driving MMORPG from Ubisoft, and if that sentence doesn’t raise a few red flags for you, you haven’t been paying much attention to the games industry lately. With the recent bungled launch of Ubi’s Assassin’s Creed: Unity, and the frustrating performance of always online games like SimCity SimCity 2013 - The Tale Of a Terrible Launch & a Terrific Game [MUO Gaming] SimCity 2013 - The Tale Of a Terrible Launch & a Terrific Game [MUO Gaming] SimCity was one of the first PC games I ever played when it was first released in 1989 - I was just 7 at the time. You'll understand then why this game holds a particularly... Read More and Diablo III, it seems like this ambitious racer has everything going against it.

Luckily, against all odds, The Crew is proving to be an absolute blast that keeps its promises. Check out these 4 features that make The Crew one of the freshest racing games in years!

It Really Is An MMORPG

The Crew’s marketing hasn’t been shy about defining it as an “Open World Driving MMORPG”. When you consider the number of high profile games that haven’t lived up to their hype in the last few years, it’s easy to be skeptical of such an exciting pitch.

Driving and MMORPG seem like two genres with differing gameplay styles and goals. The first tests you with reflex and finesse-based skill challenges, often against closely matched opponents. The second lets you outlevel most challenges that might otherwise hold you back. Bring the higher stats and better gear to a fight, and you’ll run roughshod over your opposition.

Crew-MMORPG-Gear
Somehow, this giant driving playground manages to deliver many of the features that make MMORPGs so appealing. Each car behaves like a separate character in a traditional MMO, complete with its own visual customization and stat boosting gear with color coded rarities. You’ll unlock character classes for your cars as you level up in the form of tuning kits, allowing you to swap between options like the off-road specialized Raid spec, and the raw high speed of Circuit spec.

A perk tree ties all of your cars together, letting you mold the game to reward you for doing whatever you like the most. Prefer to explore? Increase the territory radius that your car discovers wherever you drive. Love Dirt spec cars? Discount parts purchases for every Dirt ride you own. You can even spend points to buy more informative driving lines that’ll train you to take tough corners at the optimal speed and angle.

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Sprawling World

In The Crew’s scaled caricature of the United States, you can drive from Miami to Los Angeles in somewhere around 45 minutes, and that’s just one straight shot road trip on the fastest recommended route. The game’s map is utterly enormous, with enough highways, country roads, city blocks, and off road wilderness that you could explore for hours on end Love Exploring? These RPGs Are Made For You Love Exploring? These RPGs Are Made For You Many players love RPGs because their large, open worlds offer an unparalleled opportunity to explore a virtual landscape. Here's ten games that you can explore for hours on end. Read More without touching the same stretch of ground twice.

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Certain cities and landmarks have been moved or resized, but it’s all in service of great gameplay. For example, the Grand Canyon in The Crew sprawls across the better part of the American southwest, but the result is an exciting, winding drive with beautiful views and plummeting drops.

On a map so big, you’ll be thankful that the game features an exceptionally permissive fast travel system. When you’re not in an event, you can teleport to literally any inch of the map you’ve driven before. It’s a smart design decision that lets you explore without having to worry that you’ll be stranded in a remote area of the map when the mood to do something else strikes.

So go ahead! Scour for all of the hidden car parts that unlock bonus vehicles. You can hit the next race at the push of a button.

Extreme Variety

A massive world is a good start, but if everywhere you travel you’re facing down uninspired, repetitive events, those miles of territory will feel like nothing more than a slogging commute from one boring exercise to the next.

Luckily, the developers at Ivory Tower have seen fit to pack the nation from end to end with varied events. Some suit off-road vehicles, like dirt races and hill climb challenges. Others favor raw speed, like long distance highway drives and police pursuit escapes. Still more reward precise handling, like city races with their 90 degree corners and slalom events that ask you to keep control while zig-zagging down the road.

Crew-Variety-Beach
The game’s events cover every level of time investment too. If you only have half an hour to burn, try to blast out a few skill tests. They’re bite-sized challenges that test your talents against a single stretch of road or exciting jump. Eager to burn a whole evening instead? Try a 64 checkpoint cross country race that guides you from the Rocky Mountains to New Orleans before it’s even halfway over.

Some events can take an hour or more to complete, so you’ll need to bring your A-game to the table if you don’t want to have to call your race a lost cause 30 minutes in.

A Place To Race Together

Many racing games make multiplayer a feature in which players compete against others for their personal glory alone, so it’s a nice change of pace that The Crew makes driving so cooperative. Most of the game’s missions can be faced with up to 3 additional players, and for some of the harder ones, help is very welcome. Takedown missions, where you’ll try to ram an AI vehicle off the road, are way easier when you can cooperate with a friend to box in a rascally opponent.

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Even if you don’t have friends playing the game, the quick co-op option let’s you see if any drivers in your vicinity want to join in on your next task, and all parties involved gain a boost to experience points and Bucks, the game’s currency.

The Crew also features organized PvP racing, but this too is pitched with more consequence than just racing for your rewards. Every player will choose to represent one of five factions in the game, and the more you race, the more points you’ll contribute to your faction’s standing.

In many games, this would result in most players gravitating toward the faction that wins the most often, but The Crew has a clever safeguard for that. The higher a player’s individual contribution to his or her faction, the greater that player’s reward. The best players will have incentive to swap to the worst factions, since a big fish in a small pond earns better prizes.

Start Your Engines!

If you’ve been skeptical that The Crew could possibly deliver a satisfying fusion of open world driving and MMORPG progression, worry no more! Get your hands on this varied and satisfying racer, and make your mark on the world in burnt rubber.

Leave your review of The Crew in the comments. Or, if you haven’t played it yet, ask a question about it! I’ll answer as many as I can.

Prefer your driving games more tightly focused? Try one of these driving sims for PC You're Sure To Love One Of These 4 PC Driving Sims You're Sure To Love One Of These 4 PC Driving Sims If you're ready to set aside kart racers , each of these four great sims scratches a different driving itch. Read More !

  1. Cameron Glading
    December 7, 2014 at 5:50 am

    @Nester

    Its handling is quite good and you can adjust the handling in the settings to certain modes. All driving help, sports and then hardcore are the styles of driving you can do plus you can even adjust the sensitivity of the steering and among other things. Yes it may not be as realisitic or its physics may not be as good as Forza Horison 2 or Gran Turismo series, it does do well for an arcade racer.

    • Robert Wiesehan
      December 7, 2014 at 3:09 pm

      I'll agree with you, Cameron. Switching from all driving assist to sport helped me a lot. Kind of wish they'd have set sport as the default. I've seen lots of posts from frustrated drivers who couldn't make their cars drift.

  2. Nester
    December 6, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    Except in a world of Half Sim games with excellent handling models. FH2, Driveclub, even arcade racers like NFS and the like, it has the WORST handling ever. It drives like someone heard what a car should drive like fifth hand having never seen one.

    • Robert Wiesehan
      December 7, 2014 at 3:05 pm

      Hey Neater. The handling does start out a little frustrating since they linked it to the MMORPG style progression, but Cameron is also right. There's a variety of steering tweaks you can make from the options menu. If you decide to give the game a second chance, you might be able to find settings that satisfy you.

  3. Dann Albright
    December 6, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    Great writeup! This game sounds awesome . . . I've always been a minor fan of racing games, but I think I could really get into The Crew. I love the idea of factions and the MMO aspects of it, too. If I can pull myself away from Destiny long enough, I'll definitely give it a shot. :-)

    • Robert Wiesehan
      December 6, 2014 at 4:07 pm

      The game definitely gets a thumbs up from me, Dann. Just make sure you take it slow around corners with the first few cars you get. It takes a while to get the tuning kits and parts to get great handling.

      And the gear grind here will be way less time intensive than Destiny's.

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