HANDS-ON: The Crew Wild Run
When you think about racing games, titles from renown franchises such as Need for Speed, Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo come to mind.
For years now, these three franchise have been offering ground breaking gameplay experience where players get behind their favourite vehicles. While all three share the racing genre, each one offers a completely different experience. From arcade to simulation racing, the genre in question rests on the pillar that they continuously support.
As technology evolved, online gaming became a lot more popular; nowadays, almost every single gamer out there either plays online, or uses online features. That being said, the creation of an online open world racing game didn’t happen before the release of Test Drive Unlimited. Back in 2006, this title was the real first Massive Multiplayer Online Racing (MMOR) game with open world exploration. From that point on, the genre saw a few more games added in its roster, but in my opinion, none of them offered a true MMO-like experience. This is when The Crew was announced.
When Ubisoft announced The Crew, it was mentioned that the game was a Massive Multiplayer Online Racing Role Playing Game (MMORRPG). Of course, skeptical at first, I had to validate just how the RPG elements were implemented in such as game; I am used to playing racers with open world exploration, but none of them had such features. As it turns out, not only do you have freedom to drive where you please, but as you complete missions, races, and find good loot, you will be awarded with better car parts for your cars. They have different rarity value and of course, affect your car’s behaviour when installed.
For instance, if you were to find a drivetrain than the one you currently have, not only will it improve your car’s acceleration statistics when installed, but in the long run, it will also increase its value. Finding parts throughout your gameplay experience does add this little RPG element to The Crew, but unfortunately, it failed to intrigue me. I for one prefer the idea of finding car parts the old fashioned way!
Although I might not agree with some of these RPG elements the game offers, The Crew was still able to impress me enough with its MMO features. I remember when Test Drive Unlimited was announced, I was excited to play and find players randomly cruising the streets. The same thing happens in The Crew. Its ability to allow you to socially interact with other players is simply amazing and intuitive. The best part of it are the missions that require many racers.
In World of Warcraft, for instance, you can team up with a bunch of players and take on raids that require everyone to be on point with the strategy at hand. In The Crew, it is a little different. I came across a task that require my team and I to take down a racer. Of course, to do so, we had to deal damage to him. As the chase progressed, every member of the team tried to hit the target as much as possible until our goal was achieved. While we worked together towards a same goal, the player who dealt the most damage was awarded a better piece of gear. Not only what the challenge cooperative, it also tested each player’s skills and rewarded to best one of the lot.
The idea and game design backing up The Crew is quite interesting. However, getting a hands on with the closed beta for The Crew: Wild Run on PC demonstrated just how much Ubisoft put some work into making this title look fantastic. Visuals aren’t nearly as detailed as Forza Motorsport 6, but the differences in between the new and old version are shocking. Textures, reflection, light effects, and other visual elements have been enhanced to offer a proper next-generation experience. Additionally, thanks to the Wild Run expansion version, players can enjoy new driving conditions challenges, test out new tuning specs, and tame motorcycles.
There is no doubt about it, The Crew: Wild Run is definitely a game to check out. If you enjoy MMORPG and are a fan of racing games, then you must give it a try. The game looks good, the driving is decent, tuning is fun and most importantly, you are free to drive around the map as you please and race random human players as well. This sort of liberty doesn’t come often in video game, especially not in racers, and now that it has been announced for release on the new-gen machines, you should check it out.