The Crew PS4 preview – 5,000 sq km of territory from two of racing’s best studios
Open worlds are the new black. That much is obvious after watching Destiny, The Division and Mirror’s Edge 2 do their turns on the E3 show floor and, mindful of showing up in last season’s strawberry chinos, Ubisoft’s new racer The Crew falls bang on trend with an impressive 5,000 sq km of American roads, back alleys and rough terrain.
The Crew PS4 preview
The premise sounds like one of Vin Diesel’s better daydreams: a street-racing gang called the 510s lies at the top of the pile, and it’s your job to infiltrate and take them down via the usual array of races, point-to-points and Burnout-esque takedown challenges. Buckle up for this part – with other real people on the internet. Without lobbies. PS4 really hates lobbies.
If Driveclub is about meeting friends to worship luxury cars’ finer details, The Crew is about hooking up with your associates and making a mess of those cars in the name of infamy. It’s in this mess-making that the game’s visuals come into their own. A sequence with four off-road terrors ripping up Miami Beach with scant regard for anyone’s tanning session is notable for the vortex of sand, surfboards, umbrellas and swan-diving pedestrians it provokes.
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The Crew is the result of a collaboration between Ubisoft Reflections and Ivory Tower (mostly members of Eden Games, which put out the Test Drive Unlimited games): a mashup from two studios that take risks in their racers. In fact, given that Reflections’ last game, Driver: San Francisco, was about a comatose cop who could hop between people’s minds, and Test Drive Unlimited included an option to undergo cosmetic surgery that left your face in bandages for days after, you could argue The Crew looks a bit… safe. If there are any of those endearing touches of character that made the studio’s respective games such pleasures (or in TDU2’s case made you soldier on despite its glaring problems), we haven’t seen them yet.
What we have seen is a slick open-world racer designed to show off PS4’s seamless net play and sprawling levels. Say you wanted to drive from LA to New York, it’d take a few hours and you’d be able to do it with your headset pals. With comprehensive customisation options for off-road, street performances and so on, it looks a natural progression of this gen’s catchiest ideas. But could you make it just a tad unhinged, guys