Ubisoft has plenty of games this holiday season, including Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, South Park: The Stick of Truth, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist and Watch Dogs. Fast-forward to 2014 and we have Reflections’ The Crew, the latest title from the team behind the Driver franchise.
The studio already took us for a thrill ride a couple of years ago when it released Driver: San Francisco, an exciting racing game where you literally jumped from vehicle to vehicle creating all sorts of chaos. We're happy to report the team hasn't lost its edge, judging by the time we spent with The Crew.
The game has two main focuses – single player and multiplayer. However, unlike other racing games, they aren't divided into sections. Instead, you roam around the bustling city of Miami in a free-range exploration system. You look for events and they vary, from completing circuits that prove your racing worth to full-on crew-based events where you team up with three fellow drivers to complete missions, whether it's challenging a rival crew or hunting down a high-speed target.
In The Crew, you have your choice of a number of vehicles, ranging from sleek sports cars to top-of-the-line off-roaders that do major damage to anything they come across. If you're working with a team of four, it's vital that you have some sort of balance. It's nice to have speedsters on your team, but you should also have a heavier vehicle to get the job done.
Ubisoft's The Crew encourages going anywhere and creating any kind of damage. While there are certain obstacles that you can't run through – such as buildings or pre-set freeways – there's plenty you can run over, from bushes to rival traffic. Although the game doesn’t reward mayhem, you'll get much closer to your target – and giving your Crew a boost when it comes to notoriety.
Driving behavior in The Crew is very realistic, especially when it comes to rival cars that do anything to get away from you. It's important that you study some of their habits, whether it's dangerously swerving into traffic or expert drifting. It's vital that you pay attention and then work out a plan with your crew to shut these enemies down.
Communication is key, and Reflections worked out a masterful system where you keep in touch with everyone. Using on-screen Avatars and in-voice chat, you'll determine who's who while setting up potential traps and going through shortcuts to get the jump on your adversaries. Each crew works differently, judging by what we've seen, so it's important to keep an eye on how they work.
Reflections did a solid job with the game's controls. Turning, drifting and just plain running through everything feels superb. The Crew was built with arcade-style maneuvering and teamwork in mind.
One other major advantage to The Crew is its immense size. These guys didn't just cram Miami into a few city blocks. There are literally miles of road to cover. In fact, the developer explained that it will take you well over an hour just to get from one end of the city to the other – which leaves a lot of space to cover with your fellow drivers.
With a number of events available in both single and Crew missions, and the ability to roam around and simply cause trouble on your own terms, The Crew has a lot to offer. Throw in numerous vehicle types and controls that you've come to expect from the Reflections team, and you could have a real winner for the next generation – or this one, since The Crew is coming to current-gen consoles as well.
The Crew arrives early 2014 for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PC.