Last year’s The Crew bought in an exciting new concept for racing fanatics. A racing game set in a massive open world of United States and featuring six main cities with its own unique geographical setting, The Crew was trying to create a niche for itself in the racing genre. It was a massive undertaking by Ivory Tower and Ubisoft…detailing over ten popular cities in a single game must have been a pretty overwhelming task. Despite its sky high ambitions under the guise of a role playing car game, The Crew suffered from several technical issues arising due to its online only nature, uneven user interface and microtransactions making it feel like an average arcade racers at times.
The woefully bland visuals also did not help matters. Don’t get me wrong, The Crew was not a bad looking game per se, but there is no doubt it looked like something that was pulled up from last gen and just made to work on current gen consoles. However, this was not a surprise, since the game also had a last gen version as well. Essentially, The Crew felt like a game that was stuck in the transition from last to current gen, hampered with some weird story choices and irritating server issues. It seemed like a game that Ubisoft just pushed out of the door, possibly due to hard deadlines and market competition.
"The Crew: Wild Run marks a significant turn of events for the franchise. Right off the bat, you will notice that the game has undergone a major change in the visuals."
Surprisingly, despite the somewhat mediocre reception The Crew received, Ivory Tower and Ubisoft were consistently patching the game with updates, in the process ensuring that it is bought to a level that is expected from modern racers. It’s perhaps a testament by Ubisoft, who are perhaps best known for releasing action adventure games, that they are serious about making it big in the racing genre. And guess what? The Crew Wild Run does that. In many ways, The Crew of today is what The Crew of 2014 should have been. One wonders why publishers don’t just delay their games for a better user experience. If your game is not ready, why release it? Delay it and make it even better.
The Crew: Wild Run marks a significant turn of events for the franchise. Right off the bat, you will notice that the game has undergone a major change in the visuals. The engine has been overhauled to include a physical based rendering pipeline which allows several objects in the game such as buildings, pedestrians, and car materials to react dynamically to environmental light sources. Furthermore, weather effects have been added which adds a dynamic layer to the racing. While the game does not compete with DriveClub or Forza from a visual perspective, the graphics overhaul really changes the experience that one might have had back in 2014, and the best thing about it is that the graphics update is available to all users, with or without The Wild Run expansion. The Wild Run also brings along tweaks to handling and the physics system. After playing the vanilla game and comparing it to the expansion, a significant difference can be observed while driving the cars. All of the updates inject a new breath of life into the game, something that was clearly missing back in 2014.
The Wild Run adds more variety to the base game by injecting a host of new events which includes dragsters, trucks, and a new mode called the Summit, resulting in some spectacular racing moments. Riding a high powered truck and jostling for position with other competitors feels extremely satisfying and overpowering at the same time. Not to mention the addition of bikes, which bring in a new layer of freedom. The feel of riding them along the lush highways is a treat at times.
"The Wild Run is a welcome addition to The Crew and will hopefully result in the game getting the much deserved attention that this franchise needs."
The new expansion offers tons of new content, and you will most likely invest hours into it without feeling bored. Combined with the already existing variety of modes present in the game, The Wild Run keeps things fresh by allowing players to switch between different modes anytime they want. The new Summit mode only opens up only if you have finished a set of qualifiers or by using the in-game currency and once you get in, you will be able to earn points and earn vehicles which cannot be unlocked in any other way possible. This is a great way to keep players invested in this mode.
However The Crew’s disappointing story-telling continues with The Wild Run. You need to participate in underground events as you take on a powerful gang based in Detroit. The story sounds intriguing on paper, but given the open world nature of The Crew, it becomes a chore to follow the narrative. Its just seems to sort of be there, and is unable to create any sort of impact on the player.
In the end, The Wild Run is a welcome addition to The Crew and will hopefully result in the game getting the much deserved attention that this franchise needs. But I honestly believe it may be a little too late for The Crew, especially with the base game almost a year old now. Current owners are surely in for a treat with the visual upgrade and the plethora of content at offer here. For players who understandably missed out on the original, The Crew deserves a look.
This game was reviewed on the PC.
Updated visuals changes drastically changes the experience, tons of new content, improved handling and weather add a new dimension to the racing.
Bland story, narrative does not tie in with the open world aspects of the game.