‘The Crew’ Diary } First Impressions

For those who don’t know about The Crew just ignore this post and any posts that has the title from here on. But, you are following this game, should pretty much subscribe to this blog/RSS feed as I will be putting in a ton of material which help you with this game in long run.

For starters anyone who is thinking why do I need to put in stuff around a game in a blog.. because The Crew is a MMO and like any MMO every decision we have in the early stages will impact our gameplay in the long run and when it matters most you wont be to change it. Also, given this is a MMO if you have to restart, you cant just delete save files and start over. You are stuck with your game play and given the save file is linked to your PSN ID or XB1 ID; you may end up starting a new account of struggling in later stages of the game. So hook up to this feed..

TLDR;

This is the best racing game that I have played in a long time and when I thought racing genre was dying Crew came out and I was hooked from the day I saw the launch trailer back a few months. The game meets every expectation I had and even more. It’s pure simple amazing. I will give this game a 10/10. The only downside for me has been that UBISOFT and Sony hasnt been able to deliver my Gold Edition content for 3 days now. Apart from that – everything is just great. Well done Ivory Tower and UBISOFT and everyone who worked to make this game  such a huge success.

 

First of all it’s important to ensure that we get some basic understanding of the game as it is not your typical Racing game and from what I have read a lot of people don’t like this game because they don’t understand what it is. On this point, I think UBISOFT (Producer) and Ivory Tower (Developer) did not do a good job of informing people what it is all about. They said what it will do, but little they would know that the the a lot of gamers out there still are so naive.

This is not a simulation racing game.

And it’s important to understand that. If you are looking to get in a few cars and a new car every 3-4 races this wont happen. You have to get a couple of cars and look to level it up. Also, you wont find a car with most optimum handling and getting into an options screen and tweak how it drives. This is RPG or shall I say CaRPG. By design it’s meant to handle not very good at start. The levels start at 1 and go upto 1299 which means that your first car will handle 1/1299th than it would be when fully upgraded. It will slide and difficult to turn – this is by design and not a flaw.

You are free to go anywhere and do anything

And that too anywhere in US with 7 cities detailed out (of course at a scale). That is the level of freedom you get. If you can see it, you can go there – no invisible walls. Of course this comes at a price of not excellent graphics. But, the graphics are pretty good for the scale we get. I can get to these various landmarks and they look beautiful. The day-night cycle is great and night looks like night. Drive in NY at night and then take a trip outside the city and you wont see many cars. thats because this is how driving in US is at night. I am sure thay can do AC U graphics, but it was not needed for all of us. We wanted a beautiful game with lots of stuff and not something that is just as small as Europe with kick ass graphics. It’s a tradeoff – you like it or not; in the long haul you play to drive not to watch the graphics. As a matter of fact when you are driving an intense race you don’t even notice those smaller things.

Never Drive Alone

Just as the logo goes, this is right. (at least for me) there was always someone to see around of joining a session or do a co-op race. The only challenge I had was that for Story missions everyone is at different level and either I am too far ahead or too far behind. While I may be cruising in Miami, someone will ask me to do a missions in Detroit and if i accept after the missions I will be in Detroit and then I have to go back and travel to Miami again (no fast travel for me). Also, the other point is that I have been playing this game with objectives… next 2 hours I will be just hunting hidden parts or I will be leveling up my car and I dont like to be disturbed in doing something else so when I get an invite I struggle to accept it right away. Then the most disappointed part is that for faction missions, I get into a race and my crew quits on me because it’s very very long and I am forces out of the missions (I was not the crew master both times) and I sense that people have similar challenges too. So what everyone wants is a quick co-op mission for a good score or progress. Which needs me to find a permanent Crew – people I can trust and do stuff together. I am gonna find those 3 people and then i truly – Never Drive Alone.

Invest in Perks

Some perks are really valuable and you should definitely take time to get some on board. The ones I like are – braking and handling. Just max level them and if you need to buy a few with Crew Credits thats a very good investment. Also, the racing line one is a good one. Given this is a street race, you are not told of your route upfront and then suddenly you have to take a turn and you screw it up. For Faction missions it’s a lot of problem. Just 1 level of racing line is enough to give you a route and make predictable turns.

If you are gonna buy some cars, ensure you have that spec perk on as it will save you a lot of bucks. But be careful every reset doubles up the price (thanks to Florin Blaj). So chose them carefully.

Play how you want to play it

This game needs a long haul. The max player level is 50, but the game doesn’t stops there. Getting to 50 can be rewarding but how the story is progressing and I have been Level 14-17 for 2 days now i still have tons and tons to do. I personally want to go slow and if I level up my player it’s okay and if I dont thats okay too. I just want to get my cars very high level. I think getting to Level 20 and unlocking some new kits and Perf Specs is key to reach fast. after that this game needs to go a bit slow. Take the time to climb the leaderboard, redo some stuff and do some missions. Just running to Level 50 and finishing the story can get really challenging. The AI is tricky and Normal races can get hard. The problem you will have is you wont get Gold Parts and your car level will struggle a lot while you keep growing up and up. I still have to understand the progression and maybe car level catches up with higher parts, but i am not sure. So take is slow and enjoy the game.

Car Upgrades

this is very interesting and important to understand. When you get a car and install a spec kit – they are like 2 cars for you. Anything you do on a Street Spec Mustang will not be there on Dirt Spec Mustang. So let’s say I play with Street Spec (SS) Mustang and win Gold parts for all categories. I just can’t go to Mustang Dirt Spec (DS) and buy/quip those parts. I will have to do those missions again or win those Gold parts so that I can upgrade DS mustang again. The car you use to do a missions gets the part automatically, and the Spec you used will have that part unlocked. Any other Spec will not get the part. Let’s take an example

  • Use Mustang SS for Initiation mission and win a Differential Gold Part
  • Install DP on Mustang – Differential Gold Part is not available for Dirt Spec
  • Buy Shelby and install SS on Shelby
  • Buy and then Equip Differential Gold Part on Shelby immediately
  • Buy Charger and install Dirt Spec – Differential Gold part is not available
  • Switch to Charger and do the Initiation mission again – win ECU Grip Gold Part – auto quip on Charger
  • ECU Gold part if available for Mustang DS only (Shelby SS and Mustang SS wont have those parts)

Hope this makes sense; so you will have to use various specs if you want to level up. Just playing one single spec wont work. Remember CaRPG.

Also, remember the Parts have levels too. If you win a part which is applicable for a higher player level it will just wait for you in the Workshop and will unlock when you hit the level. Every missions (skill, story, faction) has a level and the higher you go the better part you will get. Sometimes you may have a Bronze part which is better than a Gold one as it higher level. The higher the level on mission, the higher the part, the more impact points you will get on car. This is where you I think car level should even out, but then if you climb too high you wont get a lot of Golds as missions get tougher.

 

Next thread will cover

  • Missions – various types and how to get most points
  • Tips for a starter

 

Assassins Creed Unity

This is that time of the year when I go back to playing my favorite games on PlayStation. This year the gaming arena has changed a lot and I am experiencing a lot of exposure to games in India people + the fact that there is a huge play of Open World, freedom of choice, how would a player play the game, and of course multiplayer.

Every game I will play this year, I will make a post about it as to what was my experience and it will be for my PlayStation friends who I share the experience. So let’s start with Unity..


 

Before I get into my experience Unity this year like other games (noticeably DriveClub) have had several launch issues. Unity was pitched into the same arena as of AC 3 where the game has several bugs and was not performing and FPS issues. The reviews from major players have not been awesome. IGN reviewed the game at 7.8/10 and GameSpot reviewed the game at 7/10. So much so that several people cancelled their pre-orders (or so they said on forums). I still went ahead and got the game.

I haven’t been able to play for hours but I have played enough. I am start of Memory Sequence 6 and have 3 more memory to go. So, I would say about 60% played and dealt with. Here is my view…

GamePlay

It’s more or less what you come to expect from a franchise. You cant expect them to change how the game plays. AC has been around for 8 years and it is all about history. We did see Naval Gameplay in AC 4 Black Flag but will we see guns and airplanes in this series – not anytime soon. We can expect it to go there some day but the progression to the overall Assassins vs. Templars play has to be continued. So you wont find this refreshing but if you were looking for something different in this title it was probably a mis-placed expectation to start with.

Even then, the game has some new things which excite me and want me to go back. The foremost is the free running and introduction of the new Parkour system. The dedicated buttons for going up and going down are awesome and it gives me so much more control. The free running has been improved as well – I am able to jump from roof to roof and roof to ropes and what not with a very high certainty as to what I want is what Arno does. This is the first game when I love to hang about on roofs and just travel across Paris all the time.

The missions have been changed and they are no longer – follow directions sort of missions. There are some help and some opportunities but you can ignore them and do however you want to. I have completed several missions exactly how i wanted to. Some of them get linear because of the location as there are no many ways to reach the final location but when I can, i find my own ways.

The AI is highly improved and soldiers remember you. So, you just cant have a conflict, run away and go back into the same area hoping to sneak by – the soldiers will recognize you immediately and attack you. The fights are no longer click-click kill. You can’t take on more than 4-5 enemies and if they have guns you will die. I am still a Soldier and have a lot to upgrade but it’s tough so you have to rely on stealth a lot. Several missions, I just use Crouch and Cover to do what I need to do. I sit around in a hidden position and find my opportunity – see enemies to cycle on their path and sneak by. It’s not easy to do missions any more and certainly if all fails – go in and kill all doesn’t work any more.

RPG

This is a new one and I love it. As of Sequence 4, I didn’t have my Double Air Assassination and I had to earn it and it was making my life miserable. But, as I saved up for that skill and when I got it I felt a sense of achievement. It was so fulfilling of a sense that I fell in love with this RPG system. The customization of character is another big one – not only can i make my Arno look like how i want it to look like I can now chose what gear he has and how it affects my game play. I have chosen to grow my Arno on Stealth and Health and my gameplay is not melee or range. I have to stay in shadows and find cover kills and it enhances my experience several fold. The RPG system is still very linear and apart from Health and Lock Picking everything is single level. I would like to see UBI take this concept to next level and provide me more, and quicker upgrades which make me do missions more and more.

The only downside I feel in this system is that it’s only Co-Op (later on that) and single player missions that give Upgrade Points and it’s tough to earn them. It’s maybe a bit too harsh on that part and I would have loved a bit more freedom – especially when every mission gives you something but lesser so you are compelled to do other missions too. Right now, I want to rush through all of Single Player missions to get all upgrade points but once the story is finished i have little to come back to the game and again like all AC games before – side missions have little consequence in the RPG.

Bugs

How can i not talk about it. Many people reported a few issues broadly – Arno stuck, Arno falling into ground, Low Framerate, etc. I saw Arno getting stuck only ONCE (1 time) in all of 30 hours I have played and i didn’t notice any frame-rate drops that impacts my experience. Some places where there are 1000s of NPCs, I do feel Arno running slowly but it’s okay. I had to strain myself to notice that. It wasn’t there until someone said it to me it was there. I dont know where these bugs are coming from but my experience of the game has been smooth.

Graphics & Story

The city of Paris is beautiful. I haven’t visited Paris ever but now I want to go there for sure. The structures and their details are so real. And you can go almost everywhere inside houses, there are windows, doors unlocked and locked which you can pick and go inside. For the first time I feel connected with the city and it feels like I am in one city for real unlike previous games where they were just structures helping me to navigate around and hide and complete missions.

Story till start of 6th sequence is not great but it still draws me in. I want to go forward but Paris and all of it’s missions keeps me from going in. Arno is pretty much on a revenge path but he is going through the journey of becoming an assassin. He is still new to the Creed and his mentors are helping him. I still have to see if everything he does – does it links to something bigger i.e. assassins vs. templars. There is a small side story on Abstergo and talk about Sage – the story does tells that the Grandmaster that Arno is after is the sage that Abstergo and Assassins in current world need information on, maybe that’s the connection. So while the story is probably about Revenge by Arno it seems to be connected. Does it draws me in fully – not really but it draws me enough. It seems like a stop over before a big push that AC franchise can do in next series. More on this once I finish it.

Multi-player

I have only played Co-Op missions (heists still pending) and once time it was 2 player and other time it was 4 player. Both times it was fun and there was some serious co-ordination. The 4 player Co-Op was awesome – we all were random players matched and we just went about knowing what to do and were supporting each other. It was a case of some skilled and experience AC players. We didnt chat even once and we successfully finished the missions. The experience as awesome and I can’t wait to do a heist with a friend and talking and planning. We don’t have PvP as it was in AC 4 but I didnt like that much. This Co-Op is so much more fun and the amount of co-ordination it takes to get to stuff done is great.

 

Overall

I love this game and my decision to get this game on preorder and enjoy has paid off. The reviews I think are just not doing justice to the game (I know they are professionals), but having played the game i just cant agree to some of their comments. If you like AC games, this one if not to be missed.