The Crew: Calling All Units is Cops and Robbers for the Online Age

As a gamer there are my preferred types of games to play along with genres that regardless of how good their individual titles may be they do nothing to attract me.  As a game journalist, sometimes it is necessary to step outside of the comfort zone and spend time with a game that normally I wouldn’t pick up.  The Crew: Calling All Units fits into the latter type of games, but I am glad I had to play it because I would not have predicted the amount of fun there is to be had in playing the upcoming expansion.  Racing games are generally not my thing, but this title could force me to make an exception.

The Calling All Units expansion introduces the ability to play as the police in this street racing MMO CarPG.  The premise is pretty straight forward, the player controlling the street racer has to deliver a package to the drop off location.  The player controlling the cop has to prevent that.  There are multiple maps that are available that are both off road and through more developed urban areas.  As to be expected there is a wide variety of vehicles for both settings, some of the police options include a high performance Lamborghini for downtown or a law enforcement outfitted monster truck for a high speed off road pursuit through the badlands.  There is a GPS line that shows the best path for the street racer to get the drop off point.  If the racer is able to reach it then victory goes to the bad guy.  If the police are able to maintain close enough proximity for seven seconds, the good guys win and the streets become a little safer.

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The build that was played for this preview was limited to one on one matches but the final version will allow for teams of four against four.  To keep things interesting the path that guides the street racer to the drop point will be randomized making it so reflexes and thinking behind the wheel will lead to victory as opposed to simply memorizing a path.  In addition to simple driving prowess being a necessity to victory both the street racer and police vehicles are equipped with abilities to hamper their opponents.  This build armed the street racer with a temporary unlimited nitro boost for an extra push when the long arm of the law gets too close as well as a flash bang explosion to temporarily blind the pursuers.  The police were able to call on a helicopter attack as well as being able to use an EMP blast to impair the suspect’s ability to control their vehicle.

It has been said that the simplest pleasures are the best ones, and this expansion embodies that sentiment.  To be fully honest, this is a game I was covering because it was assigned to me, but this was a reminder that it is wise to always keep an open mind.   I don’t think I ever would have played this on my own volition, but I voluntarily extended my time with this title because the fun competitive nature almost made playing this title addictive.  There wasn’t a crowd of people waiting behind me, so I probably spent close to an hour playing against one of the developers trading off between who was the cop and who was the street racer.  The first half dozen matches or so I lost, but once I got the hang of things the win loss ratio became more even.  Each match is very fast paced and a single mistake from either side can lead to victory or defeat.  The seven seconds required to apprehend the racing unit allow for plenty of escape time, and as a result the predicted victor of each match switched many times in the majority of the courses.  If time constraints weren’t actual things I could have easily been entertained for another few hours with this one.

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As is customary with expansion packs, the level cap is raised, in this case from 50 to 60.  The Crew will continue to still receive its free monthly updates with Calling All Units being an optional paid DLC expansion.  This title is currently scheduled to drop November 29.  The expansion will be sold as digital format only, but The Crew: Ultimate Edition will be released on that date which will include the main game plus this expansion will be available in physical copy form.  Calling All Units will bring new gameplay experiences to the established user base, as well as give another reason for people currently not involved with this title to join the crew.