A new coat of paint.
Very few games get a second chance to make an impression. When The Crew launched last year, it was a decent racing title that had some nagging issues, and an ambitious scope. It failed to deliver the experience promised, but it was still fun with friends. With Wild Run, the team at Ubisoft has tweaked the original game, fixing issues we had with the initial release, as well as adding a brand new graphics engine and a host of new modes and challenges. While the improvements serve to craft the game that should have been released last year, there still feels like something is missing from this expansion/update.
Wild Run’s new visuals and game play tweaks are not limited to the expansion. A new patch showed up a day before release adding in the new dynamic weather and handling for the cars. It is definitely an improvement, although the visuals are far from night and day. The new dynamic weather is a nice touch, but the cars themselves still look quite similar to last year’s game.
MSRP: $24.99 (add-on) $39.99 (with original game)
Platforms: XB1, PS4, PC
Price I’d Pay: $14.99
The new handling tweaks some of the issues I had with the original release, but still feels off from what I expect out of an arcade racer. It is commendable that all of these features are included for those that already own The Crew though, I love seeing substantial updates based on fan feedback.
The story mode lauded in the original is still intact, and still makes little sense. This expansion hasn’t bothered to clean it up, or bothered trying to get players to comprehend it. Instead, this pack focuses on what was originally fun. There are a set of new arcade modes that feature new vehicles and things outside the world of The Crew. There is a drifting challenge, monster truck arenas, and even drag races, all of which feature new vehicles and diversions from the core game.
These events are mixed into the core game via new segments called Summits. These change weekly, which is nice for diversion. Sadly they quickly mesh into the fold, becoming yet another piece of an already massive pie. This game simply has too much going on at once, and the best parts of it get hidden under the weight of so much to do. It reminds me of other Ubisoft games, where the focus feels more on how much they could cram in, as opposed to focusing on what parts of it are actually enjoyable.
The big problem with Wild Run is that it doesn’t put these new experiences in the forefront. When I first jumped back into the world, there were no indicators of where the new content was. Eventually I triggered it by fast travelling to another part of the map. Even then, the bike shop (yes they added bikes) showed up on my map without fanfare, so it was a long time before I even knew where it was.
The Crew: Wild Run is not a bad game, just one that doesn’t excel at any one thing it does. Nothing about it kept me coming back for more, and a lot of what it offers is more convoluted than it needs to be. I feel like I should be enjoying it a lot more than I actually am, but I never had that sense of wanting to invest more time into the game. For players with a party of friends to enjoy it with, Wild Run is infinitely more enjoyable, but simply as a racing game, it feels painfully average.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.