It has been a while since The Crew: Calling All Units was released and because I’ve had so much to play I haven’t put in as much time as I thought I would. Is the expansion any good? Is it worth the money?
That depends actually.
Calling All Units does expand on the world a little, but in my opinion it is an expensive upgrade if you already had The Crew and the first expansion, Wild Run. You do get to level up to 60 now (instead of 50) but there are problems. Part of the reason for this is because the dozen or so missions in single player just aren’t that good. They do teach you the basics of the mechanics, but you can pick those up pretty quickly in multiplayer anyway. Ivory Tower (now owned by Ubisoft) tried a new character with the single player component, a female rookie cop named Clara.
This idea in itself isn’t a bad idea but whoever they employed for the voice over work is just plain annoying. Add to the fact every time you do one of the single player missions Clara repeats the same terrible dialog over and over when trying to catch the racers. Factor that in with the fact that Zoey (from the original game) sounds nothing like herself any more and I found the single player component of this expansion pretty jarring.
Why hasn’t Ivory Tower released a patch that allows players to customise their character yet? I realise it might jar with the original single player game a little but surely we can have an Alex that looks different. Also, Alex being a gender neutral name probably means we could work on allowing players to have a choice as well.
The multiplayer is a lot of fun though and hails back to the good ole NFS Hot Pursuit days; in an open world. Like those games you get various abilities as a cop and racer and the main deal is to try as a racer is to get away from the increasing difficult cop presence. Other players will get invited to join in the pursuit as well, which can lead to some fun and chaotic results. There are crates littered across the huge open world that the racers have to pick up (drive over) and then escape with, leading to smart loot prizes. These are generally car / bike upgrades.
What is missing from this expansion is there is was no further tweaking of the game engine. As good as it looks on PC, it suffers a little on Xbox One and PS4 due to the lack of anti aliasing. Wild Run made the game look a lot better than the vanilla game and I was hoping that they were going to tweak it further in lieu of development kit improvements. I’ve heard a rumour that Microsoft’s Project Scorpio will be trying to upscale a lot of games to 4K. If The Crew: Calling All Units is in that category of games that gets the 4K improvements this game will look a hell of a lot better.
If you’ve never played The Crew then getting the Ultimate Edition is definitely worth your time as you get the original game plus the two expansions. If you are wanting some fun cop vs racer multiplayer fun the expansion is also still worth grabbing if you already have the base game. The reason for this is that buying Calling All Units gives you Wild Run for free. This sort of business model does annoy me a little because it means the The Crew faithful (like myself) get nothing extra (apart from one car) for having to pay for Wild Run and Calling All Units separately.
I can appreciate a lot of development time went into creating the fictional USA but with the latest expansion this game is just starting to show its age. I think it might be time for a proper sequel to come out soon. This time, let us sell our additional parts for in game currency and allow us to buy houses and garages to show off our awesome car collection.
As much as I love the original game and even what Wild Run had to offer I’m not convinced Calling All Units is worth your time, unless you have never played The Crew and buy the game with all the expansions included.
On a side note – with the advent of background audio with the latest Xbox One dash this has opened up a new way to enjoy The Crew. Turn the in game music off, load up Pandora or another background music app, and turn off all the HUD elements in the game. I spent over an hour on the weekend just riding my Indian Scout around the virtual world of the Crew, using the in game road markers and no gps while listening to my favourite tunes. It is a very relaxing (and safe) way to go 300+ km/h and just cruise.