As part of Ubisoft’s 30th anniversary, since June, Ubisoft have released a game every month that you can download and own for free. We’ve had classic titles such as Prince of Persia, Rayman & Splinter Cell. The only requirement is that gamers must download Uplay client in order to play their games.
Will we see a time in the future, where we can consolidate all our gaming clients into one easily accessible manager?
This month, Ubisoft have announced The Crew as the free title as part of their 30th anniversary. The question is whether The Crew is any better even as a free title.
The Crew is Ubisoft’s attempt at an open world racing game with online elements weaved in to its’ single game. I won’t delve too much about the main story, as it is a fairly simple story about being framed for your brother’s murder, getting released early in order to work with the officials to bring down the top member of the racing underworld and get your revenge for your brother’s killer.
You are given a small selection of cars that you can own and customise, however you will encounter racing events where you get to operate a different vehicle. Each of these events, span from simple A to B races, takedowns, escaping cops, time-trials & various mini games. You find these events by travelling across a scaled down region of North America. The map size is definitely one of The Crew’s highlights and you can get simple pleasures by taking a virtual road trip from the west coast all the way to Miami. The problem is, The Crew only has a limited number of vehicles that you can own in its’ freedrive mode, so after a while, you have driven the same car across the map. The Crew: Wild Run, which is an expansion pack is not included in the free version of the game, but offers additional content & vehicles to drive. Ubisoft’s reason is probably to hope that releasing the base game for free will encourage more people to try out the game and maybe some of them will like it enough to purchase the extra content.
Is The Crew still fun to play?
Well, yes and no. As a free game, the base version is still worth a playthrough for gamers who decided not to buy it or never heard about it previously. It offers a few moments of highlights such as the ability to drive across North America, a cool photo mode feature and variety of events to try out. It also uses a few nice animations such as watching your car explode into a million pieces when you’re upgrading, is pretty to look at and a nice bit of detail included by the developers. However, if you’re hoping for a thrilling story and huge roster of cars to own, then this isn’t the game for you. The online element also doesn’t really add much to the game, apart from the occasional meetups which inevitably end with you or the other person crashing in each other; on purpose.
They’ve announced a new expansion called The Crew: Calling All Units to fix some complaints people have had about the police AI, increasing the level cap and introduced a new selection of vehicles to drive. This expansion seems to be their attempt in recreating the Police vs Racers gameplay, that most people have experienced in NFS: Hot Pursuit and is expected to be released in November 2016. With Forza Horizon, another open world mmo racing game, to be released shortly, I think fewer people will come back to The Crew, even with another expansion coming soon.