Cruising the Streets in The Crew

The Crew is an ambitious open-world game to be sure. But is the driving actually any fun?

If there's one thing Test Drive Unlimited 2 taught me, it's that it doesn't matter how much content a driving game promises if the actual driving isn't fun. I didn't enjoy that game, though I really wanted to, and so lots of ambitious content went uncovered.

Ubisoft's The Crew surprised me when I played it at E3 this week. A number of open-world driving games have struggled to surmount numerous problems. Fuel had terrible AI and gave you far too little to do. The less said about Driver 3, the better. Given the scope of The Crew's massive world, I was worried that fun driving might take a backseat to the game's sheer size. Instead, I was comfortable from the moment I first got behind the wheel. Granted, I wasn't showcasing impressive driving skills, but the handling was responsive and my ride felt appropriately weighty.

I put the Corvette through its paces on the streets of New York City, taking on brief challenges that were so plentiful I felt like I could never run out of things to do. I was taunted to race as far away from a particular point as I could in a limited time, was asked to drive through green waypoints, and needed to speed as fast as I could without veering off the road. Drifting around corners required deft use of the handbrake, and there was oncoming traffic to contend with. (Don't worry about pedestrians; they just leap out of the way.) Later, I took to the roads just outside of Las Vegas and drove into the city, racing ghost cars and AI opponents, and blasting through checkpoints in record time. (The records I was breaking, of course, were those I created in my mind, such as Best Time Reached after a Ridiculous Crash Into an Oncoming Sedan.)

Of course, as fellow GameSpot editor Shaun McInnis reported earlier this week, The Crew is not just a single-player adventure (though it is that, to an extent), but a multiplayer jaunt across the United States. I joined up with three other E3 attendees to take down a target in Miami. At first, it seemed like I was spending too much time seeking out ways to head off our rival, smashing against dead ends rather than finding shortcuts. But my tactic paid off, and I was able to ram into my crew's AI opponent head-on as it barreled down a straightaway.

The buzz of the racing stayed with me once my time with the game was over, and that's a good sign. My experience was limited, but I had fun, and short-term fun isn't always a key element of expansive games that rely on long-term engagement. If The Crew can combine moment-to-moment joy with progression and variety on a large scale, this upcoming open-world racing game could set some records of its own.

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Discussion

25 comments
Karl_Hummer
Karl_Hummer

This game is great but... why did they use an Xbox One controller???

Sorry I bring the console war here

BigZman95
BigZman95

This looks like everything that NFS needed to be for almost the past decade.

huerito323
huerito323

I loved TDU2. I hope that this game has the level of customization that TDU has. 

playniko69
playniko69

Imagine GTA fused with The Crew.......sweet jesus, I would cheese my pants.

bouff
bouff

Every time I hear/read/see anything of this game I'm loving it more & more. This is a day one purchase without question....

monica8
monica8

I wonder if it will have hood view ...

bmart970
bmart970

This game looks really interesting. After this and other games, I guess I'm buying next gen.

gamevixxen
gamevixxen

*picks up jaw off floor* This game looks like it's gonna be a keeper....

snake3107
snake3107

on stage he said that it's gonna have customisation like underground, WHOOT!

whitetiger3521
whitetiger3521

Glad another company is stepping up in the racing genre that isn't just simulation racing.. EA has pushed NFS away from what made those games fun. This is the most exciting racing game announced at E3.

Foppe
Foppe

Looking good.

blackraven711
blackraven711

Another killer game (I hope) from Ubisoft this E3,can't wait for this one and The Division

SadPSPAddict
SadPSPAddict

Sounding better and better! Looking forward to it. Will have to make my mind up about which console to buy now though :(

TheGamer232
TheGamer232

This game looks pretty dang sweet, looking forword to it!

Thread-Thief
Thread-Thief

all I needed to hear is it is not a super fast action driving game.. which I hate. Thank you!  I bought NFS Most Wanted (the new one) and its too damn fast for me.. just like Paradise.  I understand people love that.. more people need to voice that they don't love it. 

Jonesy914
Jonesy914

Great article, Kevin. You're making me more and more excited for this game! xD

FFDG
FFDG

@Karl_Hummer Iunno maybe they're used to the Xbox controllers, I mean a keyboard and mouse wouldn't make it any easier. And racing games are typicly easier on a controller.


poseidion
poseidion

@huerito323 I love TDU and TDU 2 but "Stage 1,2 and 3" for customization it's as simple as it could get. After seeing the stage demo for this game, you'll expect a little more than that.

blackraven711
blackraven711

@Thread-Thief The new NFS most wanted sucked,the older one is still way way better.Can't understand why they remade it,if you remake one of your own games it should be better than the original but .......