The Crew betatest – Mean streets

Ubisoft’s upcoming racing game is already through its second beta phase. What will this game be capable of by the time it releases in the middle of November? This open world, American asphalt destroyer is still under construction, but we had already some experiences with the beta.

I have always loved the second episode of Need For Speed: Underground. The end-2004 game was running slow back in 2006, when I „sat behind the wheel” for the first time, but I still got through it. After almost 9 years, I have similar feelings. Maybe there’s a reason for it.

Clichés all the way

The story of the game is of course full of clichés. It’s the same like in every games of its kind as many times, but it won’t really be important when the full game comes out. The basic concept is that Alex, the protagonist gets into deep shit, when his brother calls him to Detroit. When we are at the city, our bro is shot by the boss of the band called “5-10”. Our hero tries to save the freshly shot brother, but the police arrives, and a corrupt old detective picks up the pistol, and we are quickly thrown into jail.

Fast forward five years, enter Rachel – I mean Zoé. (The voice acting of this undercover FBI agent really reminds me of NFSU2’s lady.) She gets us out of jail, then gives us some fund to choose our first car: Dodge Challenger, Chevrolet Camaro, Nissan 370Z or Ford Mustang. Pick one, and if you’re not sure, take them out for a test drive. After that, I got my basic street tuner kit, and then I was left on my own.

Tune up

Tuning is actually an important part of the game. This really reminds me of Need For Speed: Underground already mentioned, because from the hood through the stickers to the bumpers, you can customize your car all the way, which can be modified toward several tuning specs. These specs are: Dirt (obviously for offroad racing), Raid (for harder terrains – it’d be good for Dakar too), Performance (needs no explanation, really), and Circuit (for race tracks) – all give our car a different look and all work best in a certain situation or terrain.

Also, all these kits have several levels, which can be upgraded and applied onto our car. Because yeah, since this is an open world game, leveling up is necessary. As we progress with the story, the online racing and with the challenges, we’ll keep getting those XP-s and cash to improve our hero and our cars.


American beauty

How the game does looks like? It looks good, actually. The mini-USA has some sights to go for. As we go from Detroit to the other parts of the States, we’ll get the feeling that yeah, we’re definitely somewhere else. I also wanted to see how the HUD functions. To me, it really felt like it had a touch of a Watch Dogs influence – since that’s also a Ubisoft product, it’s not much of a surprise -, but it looks stylish.

Concerning the visuals there’s almost nothing which bothered me. Well… except that „CHECK” sign that shows where the next checkpoint is. This is seen through walls too, so it can be distracting, despite that point being half a mile away. Maybe it should be barely visible at first, only to be clear by we actually see the point. Aside from that, The Crew looks good.

Born in the USA

But wait, mini-USA? Yeah, I should go back to this: we can really visit other cities, if we get bored with Detroit. If you see other racers on the road, don’t be surprised – the roads actually full of life. People are jumping away from us, other drivers are trying to avoid us – just to drive right into another car at full speed. Facepalm! But there was a point where I’ve seen an interaction of cars while I did a slalom test on the road.

Speaking of the others… As the game will expect us to keep on moving, don’t be surprised, if you end up with others in a race. It might not even be a race. Although don’t forget that it’s not always required to go for that quick co-op with the others. The option is given for you to invite others to your crew while you are on the road.

I managed to get into a team with a South Korean and a German driver, and I basically kept the former one pushing forward, but he won all the same at the escaping mission. Other than that, I basically kept grinding some easy and quick tasks for the levels and the upgrades!


Go race young man!

To conclude my article: just get through the beginning of the story… After that, go to the races, or just keep going for the leaderboards at some tasks. The feeling of discovery is not similar to the 2012 NFS Most Wanted’s style, and it doesn’t follow Rivals’ footsteps either – you can get stuck in front of your TV just by inspecting the map – but this can be actually fun. Concerning the visuals and the audio the game looks good so the success and the result will depend on the quantity of the content.


Looks good:

+ Race system
+ Audiovisuals are great
+ A new interpretation of community gaming

Not sure about:

– Another one of those basic revenge story?
– Alex looks like a dork

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