‘The Crew: Calling All Units’ — Is It The Ultimate Racer Upgrade, Or The Final Nail In The Proverbial Coffin?

The Crew: Calling All Units has hit, and it promises even more gameplay for your money. Most of this extra gameplay, as the title suggests, focuses on giving the player a chance to be a police officer.

Many could argue that this makes Ubisoft’s latest racer upgrade just a Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit clone, though the always-online open world could make it more immersive.

When you boot up your copy of any version of the game, you will now be prompted to help Zoe deliver a crate to a location. This introduces you to the latest open-world addition as a racer. The second part of this mission could be frustrating because if you’re playing it for the first time, you could be expecting The Crew‘s version of Hot Pursuit car chases. If this was true, it would be another mission where you race after and destroy a vehicle.

This is not the case. Instead, you’re tasked with “arresting” yourself from the perspective of Clara Washington, a new recruit Zoe hired to help take down The Harvesters. This new breed of racers is the one delivering contraband via crates to various destinations. If you haven’t bought the Calling All Units expansion, this is the only time you will play as a police officer.

After finishing the initial “Arrest Mode” mission, you will be given instructions to visit the police store and collect your free car. Technically, this could be considered a way for the developers to nag you into buying the expansion since you can’t play as an officer without it. If Wild Run or the original game are the only ones you’ve purchased, you can still deliver crates.

An option to abort the “Arrest Mode” mission if you’re not ready to finish it would have been nice as well. As it is, Ubisoft didn’t give you that option, and if you start it, the game will force you to finish it before you can get back to the rest of the game. Since your progress is recorded on Uplay servers, you have no choice.

The interface in The Crew: Calling All Units has improved a bit. For one, the option to fix your car from the “cell phone” menu is now under your stats.

When you finish a mission, you’re no longer stuck sitting there, waiting to see what you won while the game forces you to sit through a long-winded animation. It was especially terrible before, when you activated a Skill mission during a police chase and you couldn’t use anything but the gas, brakes, and steering wheel until the game finished telling you what you won. That meant precious seconds wasted as the police possibly arrested you and took the winnings you just received because you couldn’t simply use Nitro or the handbrake at that time.

There were also those annoying gamers who insisted on ramming you over and over while you sat there waiting to see what you won. This streamlining of the award animation could make repeated Skill attempts more attractive for this and other reasons.

The bugs Ubisoft stated they fixed were minimal and cosmetic at best. It’s not yet known if they’ve fixed the free-range earnings so you get to keep them more often in high-scoring areas like the Great Sand Dunes. It also isn’t known yet if they fixed the game-crashing glitch which sometimes happened during missions and while changing the paint on your car.

For some gamers, the physics of the individual cars and their handling has been considered broken since the game launched. Some cars have seen some improvements in that area, though it isn’t yet known if the random car crashes still happen. Sometimes a perfectly good landing ended up in a crash, as did hitting pedestrians (see the video below). At times, the police would hit sideswipe you during a chase, and you would fly about half a mile off the road.

The new level 60 cap extends to parts as well, but it’s unclear why you would need level 60 platinum parts when 50 worked well enough.

The Crew: Calling All Units might be worth buying if you’re new to the game, but the $25 price tag doesn’t justify how little extra content was added if you’ve already spent months grinding for every award and car you can get. There are perfectly good full games released in previous years which cost less than that. Even worse, this expansion isn’t covered by the Season Pass.

It’s worth buying if you’re new to the game and don’t mind the occasional glitch and often broken mechanics. Otherwise, the update patch is really all you need.

[Featured Image by Ivory Tower/Ubisoft]