By Nick Cowen
You against your friends
While the trailers at E3 and Gamescom have suggested that The Crew is a co-op driving game, playing with your friends is only one of many options. In many of the story missions, you're pitted against whomever is in your Crew and it really is every man (and woman) for themselves out there. Anything goes.
Street Spec vehicles are your standard rides, nothing to flashy and the handling is pretty good. Dirt Spec cars are more stable offroad, but they have a tendency to fishtail on corners. Perf Spec vehicles are supercars; they're great on a straight-away but you have to make to handle corners with care. Raid Spec cars (like the one pictured) are a tribute to Rockstar's Smugglers Run; they're hulking great beasts that can bounce off ramps and hammer opponents. Finally, Circuit Cars are pro-racing vehicles; they hug the tarmac well, but on corners remember to break late and break hard.
Players can trick their rides out with a heap of nips, tweaks and tucks in the form of new shocks, nitro boosts, suspension, tyres and more. They can't change the class of the vehicle they're tweaking, but they've got loads of modifications within those perameters.
Players can also download an app to their smartphone for The Crew, which allows them to trick out their fleet of cars remotely. Seeing as the levels of customisation border on fetishistic and finding the right combination of mods can take a while, the app is the perfect opportunity for players to set up their cars before booting up the main game. After all, why waste your time when you can waste your boss's?
Earn In-Game Currency
Each challenge and race in the game is ranked on a three tier system: Bronze, Silver and Gold. The better ranking the player achieves the more powerful the mods they'll unlock will be. Once the player hits a level-cap, they'll unlock Platinum mods, which are the cream of the vehicular crop. Players are able to soup up their cars to elite level and tackle earlier missions that they may have found more difficult from earlier in the game.
Players can join one of several Factions in the game. Faction are large-scale clubs in which players compete in different missions to push their Faction to the top of the leaderboard. At the end of the month the leading Faction will be rewarded with a selection of rare car mods. Think of FIFA's online clubs, except with cars and crashes.
World Of Warcraft With Cars
The main aspect players need to wrap their heads around is that The Crew is essentially and MMO, where your avatar is whatever car you happen to be driving at the time. The game supports co-op, PVP and can even be played solo. Players can also trundle around its massive expanse in Free Ride. Apparently it takes several hours to cross the game's map from coast to coast, so it might be worth taking some time off work if you plan to play it when it's released.
There are over 1,000 missions for players to tackle in The Crew and the vary wildly in length. Short Missions last a matter of minutes, Middle Missions can last up to half and hour and Epic Missions can clock in at over an hour. According to the developers, one mission in The Crew is over four hours long. Make sure you disconnect the phone and visit the loo before you attempt that one.
There's a story at the centre of The Crew involving an ex-streetracer who comes out of retirement to find his brother's killer. Details are scarce at this point, but we can confirm that voice actor Troy Baker (The Last Of Us, BioShock Infinite) is having no trouble paying the rent this month.