Review: The Crew: Calling All Units
Announced unexpectedly at Gamescom 2016, the second expansion for Ubisoft and Ivory Tower driving MMO game The Crew is here, a good sign that the developers did not give up on this project, rolled up their sleeves and now give you The Crew: Calling All Units. As you could guess from the name, this new extension is all about the cops, law and order on the street, almost doing a better job than the recent Need For Speed.
If you read my original review of The Crew (including the Wild Run expansion pack), despite its many undeniable qualities, the game didn’t convinced many people, but the main problem was one key to driving titles: the driving part wasn’t fun, and restricted by the number of cars available. Nowadays things are even more complicated since the world of racing games in an open world environment was solidified by its new master: Forza Horizon 3. Playground Games and Turn 10 set the bar really high to stand out, and other similar concept games will either have to do better or propose something really different. And that’s what Ubisoft did with the Calling All Units expansion, The Crew fled the comparison with the Forza Horizon titles, and drives without discomfort on the abandoned land of another great name of the arcade racing game: Need For Speed.
The great novelty of this extension is to allow you to embody a policeman and ride in vehicles proudly displaying the red and blue colors of justice. From the Lamborghini Aventador to the Pagani Hyurai, most of the racing cars known to The Crew players now have a slick “Police” version. Calling All Units puts you in the skin of Zoe’s protégé, Clara, with 12 missions set for cops vs racer action.
As a cop, there are various tools that should remind you of Need for Speed Rivals or even the good ol’ Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit. You have your typical EMP, scramble a player’s HUD and GPS, hit its car max speed, and much more easily activated with a simple press on the D-Pad. As you progress throughout the story, you will unlock new weapons, thanks to a a simple and effective system, even if lacking originality. But since the Need For Speed franchise has recently abandoned this theme, I’m personally quite thrilled to see cops vs racer action racing come back, but this time in a much larger world.
If anything, The Crew is an absolutely gigantic open world (count a good hour to cross the US from the East to West coast), and its gameplay is heavily powered by its multiplayer components. What I hoped to see happen in a game of this scale, such as confrontations between players on a large scale, imposing a certain teamplay, with cops on one hand and racers on the other hand is finally done with Calling All Units. If the expansion packs offers little in singleplayer missions, it is mainly on the multiplayer side that one must focus it attention. As a racer, there’s a bunch of “delivery” style races, where the player need to deliver packages to certain points on the map, with the cops trying to catch you, which can all of sudden be switched from AI to real-life opponent thanks to the multiplayer component. Otherwise, players might end up join your sessions as racers and become your ally to assist your escape. This works extremely well to our surprise, and the game manages to quickly synchronize you with other players, allowing you to join a pursuit or a run in just a few seconds.
My only issue is the price: for around $25, Calling All Units doesn’t have much else to give you. Sure there are some new cars, such as the 2012 Nissan GT-R, but the new content is quite scarce and not enough to justify the price tag. At that price, I would’ve hoped that a bit of work was done on the driving itself, as it was the case with the release of Wild Run. Sadly, that wasn’t the case, and numerous bugs came to taint the experience, proving that two years after its release, The Crew still needs a bit of work to stand firmly on its feet.
The Crew: Calling All Units was reviewed using an Xbox One downloadable code of the game provided by Ubisoft Middle East. The expansion and original game is also available on PlayStation 4 and PC via digital and retail stores. The expansion can also be purchased as part of The Crew Ultimate Edition including all previously released expansion packs and the Season Pass. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published.
• A fitting concept for the world of The Crew
• Amazing police version of iconic cars
• Multiplayer integration is smooth
• A bit too expensive for what it offers
• Still too many bugs for my liking