December 13, 2016

The Crew: Calling All Units - Review

The Crew got off to a rocky start, but since then it has enjoyed some content releases and the commitment of many fans, but does the latest expansion, Calling All Units, offer enough for new or returning players?

Calling All Units does deliver a range of options for players, it has a story mode where you play as Clara Washington a new police officer who is tasked by Agent Winters to assist with bringing down the Harvesters and their car racing empire. Before you take control of Clara, you need to prove yourself, so as Alex you collect some crates of contraband and then head to a point, at which time, you take over as Clara and are introduced to the pursuit game mode. In pursuit or chase mode, if you prefer, you need to get close to the target car and then stick with them until the time counts down, do this and you will bust your perp. As you progress into the story, more details about the Harvesters and their operation come to light, its not a massive story, more of a means to an end, but it does serve its purpose. As it stands though the character of Clara Washington is annoying, all her lines are spoken if they were 90’s cop movie quotes and little no effort was spend developing the character beyond that point. As an avatar for the player, they really could have and should have chosen better.

In addition to the main missions, you also get access to Offences missions, which task you with picking up a crate and delivering it to a set location, once you collect the crate, you must avoid the police and deliver it, to win. There are three levels of this mode, bronze, silver and gold, with the difficulty and distance required increasing with each level. I found these to be the best of the new gameplay modes, purely because it comes down to your skills as a driver and how well you can use the tools given to you. No matter if you are in the cop missions or Offence missions, you now have the ability to launch counter measures or takedown measures to help you get away or catch up. As a racer, being able to disrupt the police that are right on your tail is a good thing, as they can quickly bunch you in, but as a cop, being able to trigger a remote speed hack on a car, slowing it down is also welcome. The best news is that you can select which ones you want for your playstyle, so you can experiment as you go, the downside to the mode when playing as a cop is that you can use the reset to road button to warp you to the car your chasing down, letting you play catch up, however doing so results in a bad score, as you get docked points at the end, but the game does not tell you that, just that you can use it.

The other new mode introduced are the chase missions, where you will be able to jump into an online match and take down players, the same methods apply here as they do when playing solo, except there are multiple racers and multiple police, all driving around the same area, so while it can be entertaining, it can also be confusing. The problem with the mode is that it frequently crashed on me, causing me to have to quit the game, now this crash only happened at the end, once I had someone busted, or had been busted, it was just annoying to have to reload the entire game up. The strangest thing that I encountered was that when playing as the police, you can turn the siren on at any time, which is always a treat in any game, except here, no traffic moves out of the way, none. Every single car and truck on the road would just drive along as normal, ignoring the flashing lights coming up behind them, which is a massive downer on the experience of being a cop. In addition to that, the team have retuned the police AI, making things more challenging for players, but there were times when I could lose them with almost no effort, but in an offence mission, doing that ended that mission, forcing me to restart, rather than letting me drive onto the destination in comfort.

The expansion also adds new cars to the mix, but these all take the form of the same cars as were already in the game, but now painted as police cars. While not a bad thing, it would have been nice to get something special here. The voice work is terrible, as stated before Clara sounds like she is reading cheesy 90’s police quotes the entire time, Agent Zoe Winters sounds as enthusiastic here as she does in the main game and Alex, previously portrayed by Troy Baker is done by the most unconvincing sound alike for the few lines that he speaks. There is no additional music added, or at least none that I noticed and no improvement to the visuals, which is a shame.

If you have been playing The Crew for a while, then Calling All Units will shake things up enough for you, however the fact that cars ignore you when you have sirens going is going to be a turn off. Add into that mix the wonky police AI and online issues, it won’t draw anyone new in.

Thanks to Ubisoft Australia for supplying the expansion for review

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