The Crew: Calling All Units Review

By Andrew Ogley, 2 years ago
The Crew was an ambitious attempt to bring a car based MMORPG title to consoles back in December 2014. Like a few other Ubisoft titles, the ambition and expectations seemed at odds with what was actually delivered and the title got off to a rocky start. However, continued support and title updates have subsequently improved the title much beyond its original inception. Two years from its original release and a year after its first big expansion, "The Wild Run", the roads and freeways of the virtual United States remain well populated by players. Now Ubisoft is giving players the opportunity to play as the good guys for the first time with their latest expansion, "Calling All Units".


The expansion allows players to drop in and out regardless of their progress in the original title because it features a completely new self-contained storyline that is independent of the original story. The player takes on the role of a new police officer, Clara Washington, who is recruited by FBI agent Zoe Winters to help to shut down a new gang called The Harvesters. It’s a little cliche but it serves its purpose, introducing the new gameplay and abilities and forcing the player to buy the different types of vehicle required to complete the missions.

Whilst the new storyline may not be overly inspiring, the new gameplay of vehicular cat and mouse is quite fun and engaging. Both the law enforcement and criminal vehicles are equipped with three new abilities, one of which is the ever present ‘back on target’ button alongside two others that are selected by the player. EMP shocks, remote power retardation systems, unlimited nitro boosts, and flashbangs are the sort of arsenal that is available to drivers depending on which side of the law you are.

That's one fast getaway carThat's one fast getaway car

When chasing villains, the player must stay within 30 metres of the target vehicle whilst a seven second counter ticks down. If the car escapes, the counter is reset and the chase continues. This is not as easy as it sounds and some missions will not be completed first time when an unexpected flashbang or EMP shock brings an unexpected, frustrating and very abrupt interruption to the chase. However, picking your spot and strategically triggering your move to bring down the victim is equally as satisfying. If the target gets too far ahead, there is the ability to warp forward to a closer position although there’s no guarantee just where you will reappear when the action restarts a second later. This can be right in front of a building or even cars, resulting in an unavoidable crash.

As with the original title, completing the missions within various time limits rewards the player with car parts and credits. These car parts can be used to upgrade all of the new cars including the police vehicles, a pre-requisite to make them competitive in the later and more challenging missions. With the missions being unpredictable in nature, it’s difficult to quote a figure for how long the campaign will take. Those high level players with excess funds will be able to quickly buy the new vehicles and upgrade the components, making it easier to complete the missions. Those new to the title, however, will find that they will have to grind for the resources to pick up the same cars, which can take a fair amount of time. Ultimately this means that for the more advanced players, the new campaign may only last a number of hours, but for newer players it will take much longer.

I thought only Dubai PD had theseI thought only Dubai PD had these

The story plays out over a series of 12 missions across various locations in the vast open world of the title. Missions are triggered simply by selecting one of the new mission icons that appear on the map as they are unlocked. All new missions can be completed solo or with a crew, and it is the multiplayer where the expansion provides the most thrills, bringing fast, chaotic and insanely frantic chases. Whilst the pursuits can occasionally become frustrating in the single player missions, in multiplayer they become a blast.

A chase is triggered when a player drives to a specific map location, at which point players who are in free drive mode receive an in-game invite to join. Those players who are driving police cars join the law enforcement and aim to capture the crate transporter. Those players in normal cars can join in to protect the transporter, using their new defensive abilities. It all becomes an adrenalin-filled, nitro-fueled crazy free-for-all on wheels. It’s surprisingly and genuinely good fun.

A Koenigsegg with nitro, talk about overkillA Koenigsegg with nitro, talk about overkill

"Calling All Units" includes the 12 new missions, 11 new police vehicles and the ability to play as a cop in multiplayer. Everything else, including the increased level cap, is available to everyone, making the new DLC content seem a little meagre. The package clearly represents different value to different buyers depending on the content that they already own, which some may find disappointing. The biggest disappointment however is reserved for those who are looking to boost their gamerscore. The title offers no new achievements and whilst participating in different events may well bring you closer to completing existing ones, there is nothing new for which players can go hunting.

Summary

All in all, "Calling All Units" represens different value for different players. As an expansion to the original title it still has the grinding and farming for parts that some may like and others not. The solo missions can be a mix of maddeningly frustrating or deeply satisfying depending how they play out. There are no new areas to discover and there are no new achievements. This makes the campaign feel a little redundant unless you want to explore the story, and some players will have to work a lot harder than others to achieve that. However, the online pursuits and chases are genuinely good fun, more fun than possibly any other part of the title to date. Ultimately, splitting the difference between the highs and lows of the new content leaves the expansion feeling a little middle of the road.
2.5 / 5
The Crew
Positives
  • Allows players to take on the role of law enforcement
  • Vehicle weapons and abilities can be fun to deploy
  • 12 new missions in an independent story arc
Negatives
  • Limited content
  • Will require new players to grind for funds for the new cars
  • No new achievements
Ethics Statement
The reviewer spent approximately 10 hours playing through the new content, chasing villains, trying to shut down transporters and occasionally stepping over to the dark side and assisting the criminals. An Xbox One DLC code was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.
Please read our Review and Ethics Statement for more information.
Andrew Ogley
Written by Andrew Ogley
Andrew has been writing for TA since 2011 covering news, reviews and the occasional editorials and features. One of the grumpy old men of the team, his mid-life crisis has currently manifested itself in the form of an addiction to sim-racing - not being able to afford the real life car of his dreams. When not spending hours burning simulated rubber, he still likes to run around, shoot stuff and blow things up - in the virtual world only of course.