This past weekend, Ubisoft let loose its Beta for the upcoming game The Crew. I had the chance to get my hands on one of those keys and played a lot of it. Now, I’ll start by saying i am not a racing game professional but I understand what is needed for these type of games to work properly. So with that said, let’s go hands on with The Crew Beta. Please do keep in mind, there might be some spoilers below.

The Crew puts you in the life of Alex. Now, I won’t go into too much details not to spoil the beginning but you end up in prison for 5 years if I remember properly. You are released by a FBI agent named Zoe under certain conditions: You must find evidences to put down a crooked FBI agent and to bring down the “V8″(top rank) of the 5-10 motor club by rising in the echelons of the gang. You perform races, take downs and much more, all in your customizable vehicles. The story is appealing and of what I played so far, I enjoyed the narrative very much.

As you rank up in levels, you gain better upgrades and more street credibility by winning and taking out the competition. When you win races or challenges, you can get one of three medals(Bronze, Silver and Gold) depending on the points you gain during the event. These medals also give you overall performance points to put towards your car. It’s a good system for ranking but the part branches can seem a bit overwhelming at time.

One thing I would like to point out is the skill tests when you are in free roam. These really caught my eyes and are quite amusing when you stumble upon them. When you’re drive and you get close to a skill test, it prompts you that it is coming up and tells you what type it is: precision, jump, speed and more. When you pass between the event markers, it begins and shows you what or where you have to be to get gold by showing you a ghost car. This really pushed you to do well. I really enjoyed the jump skill tests the most.

Another feature that I have to mention is the collectibles part of the game. I don’t know if there is another type, but the one set I found was collecting car pieces, 20 of them, to get an unlockable car. Each clusters of States have their own set. When you get close to a car piece, or in this case an old abandon car, your radar starts to blink red going towards green when you get closer. As soon as you see it, you just bump into it and collect that piece. It blends really well to the game because it’s not some rotating thing floating in the middle of nowhere you are collecting.

Now the driving. The first minutes of driving were horrible. I spend more time grinding walls than racing. I took me some time to get used to but eventually you start to get the feeling of the brake and acceleration combination needed to succeed. As your ride get better, the driving feels more comfortable. This still doesn’t fix the clunkiness all the way. As you progress, you unlock car types like Street Specs or Dirt Specs which are the 2 only types available in the Beta. These specs help to the driving and things of that nature. I would say overall the driving is good but not the best.

One last thing I would like to touch upon the the world itself. It’s massive and fun to drive around. All the major landmarks are pretty much all there and they look very nice. The only real problem I got is that the general assets like buildings, fences and other landscapes feel generic from city to city. The landmarks, in my opinion, are the only thing that seems to differentiate each city or location. But still, the map is ambitious and I love it.

The game overall is great. It kept me hooked and entertained. I didn’t get the opportunity to try the coop part of it or the PVP challenges. In my opinion, the only thing that got me irritated was the driving, the main part of the game. Like i said, it gets better but still not amazingly better. Of course, keep in mind this is a Beta and some features are subject to change.

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