The Crew: Five fixes

“We received a lot of valuable information from the recent console beta,” remarked The Crew’s creative director Julian Gerighty to the Ubisoft blog. “We are now scrutinising all of the player feedback so we can ensure that The Crew delivers the seamless open world experience that meets everyone’s high expectations.”

If you haven't already heard, The Crew has been delayed for the second time since its 2013 announcement. Ubisoft has given Ivory Tower a few more weeks to get it together, to ensure that The Crew doesn't veer off the road as disastrously as Driver 3 did back in 2004. We took some time to dive into the Xbox One closed beta, and it's clear that The Crew isn't just at risk of not meeting player’s “high expectations”, it’s at risk of being the worst racing game of the generation, so far, at any rate, dangerously in competition with Project Cars and Forza Horizon 2. It’s a shame, because the concept is appealing. RPG elements meet a mesmerising open world that encourages us to cruise around America’s ‘must-see’ locations with a bunch of buddies by our side and the cops on our tail. It’s had us hooked on the idea from the start.

But Ivory Tower needs to make some massive changes to, well, everything. The world is littered with collectibles, but there’s zero incentive to collect them. The physics system is so lightweight right now that crashing feels as incidental as it did in Watch Dogs (shudder), and the handling of cars across a range of vehicle types is at best floaty and unresponsive. When it feels horrible to drive cars in a racing game, you’ve got some major problems that need to be addressed immediately.

Of course, it could be that the beta was old code or that Ivory Tower with the assistance of Driver stalwarts Ubisoft Reflections could really pull it out of the bag and fix the problems ahead of the December release date. But from what we’ve experienced of it so far, that’ll be the greatest gaming miracle of the year.

We love collectibles, they give us something to do when we want to explore. But don’t make us stop-off at locations and view dreary locations. We need chaos, billboards to shatter and gates to smash. Has Ubisoft not heard of Burnout Paradise ?

The Crew is still in beta, so a few problems are to be expected, but we noticed more cropping up, the longer we spent cruising virtual America. The most troubling one? Our car ghosting through other vehicles instead of colliding.

We’ve been fairly critical of  The Crew here, but there’s a chance no matter how slim that it will improve out of the recent beta tests. At least the netcode seemed fairly solid, so that’s something, right?

Super charged vehicles bounce off the environment and into one another like dodgem cars at a cut-rate carnival. It feels like the system has been lifted straight out of Watch Dogs, which isn't a good thing.

Cars have little weight on the road or in the air. It rarely feels like you’re in control of the car you’ve spent so much time customising. Rarely is it fun to head out on individual races, let alone long road trips.

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