When we first stepped behind the wheel of The Crew, Ubisoft's online racing game set in an open world United States, it was immediately clear that we were playing a game that embraced the almighty road trip. While we enjoyed the story that began to form, we couldn't wait to make the trip from Detroit to Chicago, a journey that isn't overly long, but nevertheless interesting. Well, Detroit to Chicago turned into Chicago to Los Angeles, and as you might expect (because it's kind of what we do), we decided to share our knowledge of the open road with you, so long as you promise not to use it against us in-game.

Set a Waypoint

Unless you happen to be a truck driver who spends his or her days traversing the roads that connect every gorgeous corner of the United States, chances are you’ll get lost playing The Crew. We got lost in about 30 seconds, but we have faith you'll keep it together longer than we did.

When you do get lost, take a moment to bring up the game's map and set a waypoint for the destination you have in mind. No matter what the circumstances, the in-game GPS will adjust to your location, even if it's off-road, and guide you home. Just expect to get sidetracked about a dozen times along the way.

Visit a Data Station

Ubisoft has a habit of making players unlock their maps, which isn't a bad thing at all. In fact, it's a very intelligent way to get gamers to explore the entire environment. In Watch Dogs they had the ctOS towers, and in Assassin's Creed Unity they went with synchronization points. With The Crew, players must visit various Data Stations located around the map, unlocking points of interest, as well as enabling fast travel.

To find a Data Station, bring up your main map, then set a waypoint to the general location where it can be found. You're looking for icons that resemble little satellites, and you'll normally see three or four in one area. As you get close to your waypoint, turn your attention to the in-game radar, following the pings until they turn from red to green. Continue to adjust your course until you locate the Data Station.

Participate in Skills Challenges

Now that you know how to set a waypoint and find the Data Stations scattered throughout the map, it's time to talk about Skills Challenges, something you'll see a lot of while driving.

Just to make sure you don't get bored while traveling from coast to coast, Ubisoft included a batch of mini-games to not only keep you on your toes, but also help you accumulate some rewards. Skills Challenges come in many forms, such as Climb, Escape, Follow, Jump, Precision, Scramble, Slalom, and Speed. These makeshift missions can be triggered regardless of what direction your traveling, and can be completed more than once, allowing you to challenge your own high scores, as well as you friends’. The best part about them is that they are completely optional. Pass through the markers while driving to trigger a Skills Challenge, or simply pass it by to continue on uninterrupted.

Take a Shortcut

Once you find yourself in one of the game's missions, you'll notice that Ubisoft does a fantastic job of outlining the course for you. It's almost impossible to get lost, but because of this, it's also quite easy to miss some very significant shortcuts. In fact, we failed the same mission two or three times because we foolishly tried to keep up with a faster vehicle, rather than focusing our energy on finding a few well placed jumps that were intended to level the playing field.

Keep an eye out for shortcuts, but also listen to the game's narrator, Zoe, for some hints. If the mission seems nearly impossible to complete while racing against the AI, that could be your clue there is an alternate route to be found.

Invite Other People

Racing strictly against the AI is optional and quite fun while you're making your way through the story. However, racing against or with other human beings is the way The Crew was intended to be played. This is where we had the most fun and began to improve our skills. Because people can adapt and learn, you won't find a more intense road trip than the one you make with other players. Visit one of the mission points on your map and choose to complete it via co-op, seamlessly inviting the other members of your game to join the action.