The Crew is a Massive Multi-player Online game (MMO) but with cars, set in a truly gargantuan open world; a fictional dimension of the United States.  The game was developed by Ivory Tower and Ubisoft Reflections, and published by Ubisoft exclusively for the latest-gen consoles – PS4, Xbox One (with a port for Xbox 360) and of course the PC due to its high system requirements.

 Although it is Ivory Tower’s first project, the development team members are certainly not new to developing games of this genre, it isn’t surprising that they were some of the same people who worked on Need for Speed, Test Drive Unlimited and V-Rally.  To set itself apart from other racing games, this features social and cooperative play, and the word is that you can even build cars with a tie-in app coming soon to iOS and Android.   

The-CREW_screen_Yosemite_e3_2014pm_147816

Gameplay

The game is however not all about multiplayer gaming, as there is a single-player campaign as well which is about 20 hours long.  You are Alex Taylor (Troy Baker) working with an attractive special agent (a basic requirement for special agents it seems), trying to infiltrate criminal groups, if you recognize the voice then maybe you have played games such as BioShock Infinite, The Last of UsBatman: Arkham OriginsBatman: Assault on Arkham, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, and Far Cry 4.    

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To give you an idea of how massive the map is; it takes 45 minutes to drive from coast to coast!  So it is safe to say you won’t find another racing game with a scope this massive.  Racing in a gorgeous world with diverse environments is absolutely amazing.  You can race over various terrain (asphalt, dirt, water and you can even go bushwacking) driving different classes of vehicles as day turns into night.  Everywhere you go there is something that makes you feel like it is a living world, from birds to planes in the sky, or wild animals and people sweeping their front porches.  

There are different levels of car handling help; All Driving Help, Sport and Hardcore.  All the handling levels feel quite arcade-like, even Hardcore, which makes the game fun for the masses; much like Need for Speed, Test Drive Unlimited and V-Rally, because it is not too difficult for casual gamers to get into, and people with steering wheels won’t have such a distinct advantage.  For hardcore racers, this is not a driving simulator, but even though your superior technical driving skills are not essential here, this is not any less challenging or enjoyable.  This is a different kind of fun, the kind that everyone can appreciate – together on a grand scale.

G751JY Tested Spec:

  • Intel Core i7 4860HQ processor
  • 32GB 1600MHz DDR3 (4x8GB)
  • Nvidia GTX 980M graphics card (Maxwell: 1536 cores)
  • 256GB PCIe SSD option + 1TB HDD
  • Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS display
  • Nvidia GeForce driver: 344.75 WHQL
  • Windows 8.1 Pro

G751-Ultra

 The GTX 980M is Nvidia’s most powerful mobile graphics processor to date, and coupled with Intel’s 4th Generation Core i7 quad-core processor makes an unbeatable combination in the G751JY. Performance results in The Crew show that the settings can easily be turned up to their maximum details in ‘Ultra’ and still run silky smooth.

G751-HBAO+

Ambient Occlusion is a technique to produce film-like lighting quality with real-time performance, and it looks fantastic on this IPS display!  It was first used in the 2001 film Pearl Harbor and one of the first games to incorporate it was no other than Crysis, getting that beautiful game to run smoothly on ultra high graphics settings was as hard as turning copper into gold, which goes to show how far we have come; we are running the same technology on a laptop!  

The Crew offers three options for ambient occlusion Horizontal Based Ambient Occlusion (HBAO+), Screen Space Ambient Occlusion (SSAO+ and SSAO).  HBAO+ is the upgraded SSAO variant, unlike SSAO, HBAO can generate higher-quality SSAO whilst increasing the definition, quality, and visibility of the AO shadowing.  In comparison to HBAO, HBAO+ doubles the detail level of the AO effect, runs three times faster, and uses the latest DirectX 11 technologies.  If the G751 can run HBAO+ then we must enable it!  

HBAO+ The Crew with HBAO+ enabled.

When the G751 runs The Crew with everything maxed out without a hitch, the only thing left to do is check if there are any places where it won't run smoothly.  I will now play around with anti-aliasing, you have the option of OFF/FXAA/4X MSAA/4XMSAA/4X TXAA/8X MXAA.  in the graph below you can see the game limits the frames per second to 60FPS, so the maximum and average are at around 60FPS all except for 8X MSAA, while minimum FPS gradually dips .  On this setting, the framerate never dips below 30FPS, achieving a minimum of 33FPS, a maximum of 47FPS and an average of 40.367FPS.  

G751 AA Comparison

I found that when trekking into the bush the framerate drops the most, the minimum drops to 26FPS, a maximum of 42FPS and an average of 31FPS.  This makes it the worst case scenario, but I still didn't notice any stuttering.  You will not be driving in the dense forest (except when you want to see if you can ram one of the furry animals out of curiosity, and even though I love animals, I'm always curious about what a game allows!).

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Anti-Aliasing helps to smooth out jagged edges, check out the spoiler.

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So here it is, with everything maxed out on the G751, no matter where I go, how many cars, pedestrians, deer and bears are around,  I’m getting the best graphics available with a smooth frame-rate.

  • Resolution1920 X 1080 (Full-HD)
  • Video Preset – Ultra
  • Anti-Aliasing – 4X TXAA
  • Ambient Occlusion – HBAO+

One question you will probably ask is; how on earth do I get outta this game??  BOOM!  I just saved you ten minutes.

Quit There is a way to quit the game.