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The Crew E3 Preview (PS4)

The Crew is Ubisoft’s upcoming new-gen multiplayer racer, boasting coast-to-coast racing and intense arcade-sim action. It’s got high ambitions, and we went hands-on at E3 to see how the action-oriented racer stacks up.

At Sony’s booth, four stations were set up, ready for some co-op fun. After choosing a nice Lamborghini to cruise the open roads in, I was off in no time in the humid city of Miami, Florida. My car felt heavy, and I took each turn that I encountered with caution. This was a six-figure virtual car I was driving, after all! Alright, in reality, after I got used to the heft of my ride I started making more brave moves, and boosting as I skirted around a corner. The controls were responsive, though it seemed like the e-brake button was non-existent. After a couple of minutes of roaming the city, the crew composed of the four of us met up at a point determined by the crew leader, and in no time we were off on our first “mission.”

The action stopped for a brief cinematic – we were to prove ourselves to a local ring of car enthusiasts by winning a race. I had a miserable start – my Lamborghini was too heavy for its what seemed like stock parts, and by the first turn through the city I was sitting in last place. I had worked myself up as high as 4th before taking a turn incorrectly and slamming head-first into a wall. Holding Circle reset me back onto the course, and I eventually found myself in the 5th position. The race ended with the AI crossing the finish line first, however, which meant that our crew lost. There was seemingly no penalty for this failure, other than some wasted time, and we were back in free-roam, our egos slightly wounded.

For our next event, our chosen cars were swapped out for something a bit more rugged – think buggies and its ilk. Our goal was to break down an enemy AI truck within a given time limit by repeatedly ramming it. The truck made several pretty evasive moves, such as stopping just before the top of a sand dune to turn around and hopefully cause one of us to shoot right over him. Although we only had a few minutes to catch the enemy, victory came rather quickly as one of our crew slammed right on top of the back of the target truck, which caused an instant takedown.

Though The Crew isn’t due for another 5 months, you can tell that everything is already more or less ready to go. There are thousands of objectives to complete, and the graphics are on-par with other racers that we have seen. You can customize nearly every aspect of your rides, and there are no low-caliber vehicles in the lineup. With a promised 90-minute drive to run from coast to coast without a single loading screen, The Crew has certainly made its intentions known, and if it’s as smooth of an experience as what we saw at E3, then it stands a good chance of competing with the likes of Burnout.