The Crew Preview

On and off-roading. Mostly off. Way off.

Today, I had the opportunity to play a little of The Crew, Ubisoft’s upcoming racing game for next-gen consoles and PC. As someone who isn't that into racing games, I must admit I was impressed. The game uses the continental United States as its open world, and though I didn’t get to experience how vast that space really is, you can supposedly drive from coast to coast when driving freely.

The benefit of the varied map is in varying terrain. During the course of only one mission, which was a simple checkpoint race, I saw mountain highway, forest, and shallow rivers. Staunch racing sim fans may sneer at off-roading, but for those who just want to drive cars all over the country, it’s something of a visual delight. Although I witnessed my vehicle destroying fences, signposts, and camping tents, I was told that pedestrians are exceptionally lithe when confronted with your grill.

As you progress through the ranks and earn more vehicles and bonuses, you can test how each vehicle feels to get the right balance for certain missions. The controls themselves were smooth and basic. It’s mostly just accelerating and braking, but you’re provided with a recharging boost that’ll help you get a leg up on other racers so long as you know what’s over the next hill.

Sadly, I found myself drowning in lakes and the ocean a few times due to sheer recklessness. At least it was fun going down. The Crew even has a realignment button for folks like me who tend to find themselves flying off the beaten path a little too far.

Missions resemble your usual underground racer fare: escape the police, take down an opponent’s vehicle by running it off the road, and general tomfoolery. Multiplayer can be integrated into the multitude of missions, so you have plenty of ways to play with friends and foes across your platform’s respective networks.

The Crew will be out later around Q3 2014 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.