So, I got a late Christmas present today. The Crew. According to the box it's "the first MMO driving game" which I'm sure would come as a surprise to Need For Speed World.
I have zero interest in cars or car culture and I'm unbelievably bad at driving games but I love driving in real life. When I first heard about The Crew and it's open world implementation of the U.S.A. I thought it might be something I'd like to try.
How it was supposed to work as an MMO I had no idea but I didn't really care all that much. I just liked the idea of driving around a semi-convincing recreation of a real-world space alongside other imaginary real drivers.
Installing the thing from DVDs was clunky. The first disc was fine but the second disc kept hanging and it wouldn't let me do anything else on the PC in the meanwhile. It's an MMO, though, right? And it's been out for a while so it's going to need to patch anyway, so I had the bright idea of just starting it up (the launcher had installed and seemed to work) and letting it download the rest of the game.
I had to register an account with Ubisoft's Uplay, which was painless and quick. Took about two minutes, 90 seconds of which was thinking of a username and password. That done, the patcher connected and immediately began a 25GB download.
It was downloading at a good speed but clearly that was going to take a while...except it only needed to get 5GB in place to make the game playable. By the time I'd made a coffee and toasted a cinnamon bagel it was ready to roll.
The first few minutes were confusing. I just wanted to make a character (or choose a car) then head out on the open road. Cruise around, see what the world looked like. The game had other ideas. Like a compulsory tutorial. With a plot.
The controls were simple enough, especially once I'd swapped the arrow keys to WASD, but there was no character to create - apparently I'm Alex taylor, a 20something guy who looks quite disturbingly like I might have done if I'd been insane enough to grow a beard and wear heavy black plastic spectacles when I was rising 30.
I careened and crashed my way through several tutorial Missions and watched a few not-bad cut scenes until the first genuinely MMO-like event occured: I leveled up. After a while and a very unexpected plot development that I won't spoil just in case anyone reading this ever plays the game I did get to choose a car.
As I said, I know nothing about cars and care less. Just so they don't break down is the limit of my interest and involvement. Since cars in The Crew appear to be indestructible that's not an issue. I picked a Ford Mustang and had it done over in blue with a kind of lizard-scale finish. Looks okay but my copy of the game came with a Mini Cooper option that I can't access until I leave the tutorial so I'll probably end up using that. I'd prefer a smaller vehicle.
The visuals are great. I can already tell the most frustrating thing is going to be not being able to get out of the car and walk around. Until I can beat my handler, Zoe, (don't ask, it's too ridiculous to explain) in a race I won't be going anywhere of my own volition anyway.
A couple of hours in it feels like this is a toy I might play with quite a bit, on and off. Can't imagine getting into the "game" part but that's not why I wanted it.
Maybe I should put one of those driving wheel accessories on my Amazon wishlist...