Review: The Crew’s “Calling All Units” DLC
Drop the donuts, we have street races to catch!
Over the past few weeks I’ve been ploughing my way through The Crew. Actually, to say ‘ploughing’ is to suggest there’s an element of struggle involved. As a matter of fact, it’s quite the opposite. For a game that had a rocky launch and an average reception, it’s evolved to be surprisingly enjoyable. Following upon subtle improvements, developer Ivory Tower has released its follow-up expansion for the game, titled “Calling All Units”. Driving on the other side of the law, the latest add-on brings with it even more content for this already massive racer.
As its name implies, the expansion introduces what appears to be a staple in many racing games this generation: police pursuits. While cop chases have existed in The Crew since launch, this latest DLC now allows you to be the hunter, rather than the hunted. In a manner very similar to the reboot of Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, you’re provided new tools to assist in your takedown of America’s most wanted (or alternatively, out run them). You can use EMPs that will disable all controls, impose a speed limiter to slow a target down and even remove a user’s HUD and GPS. Similarly, as a racer involved in a pursuit, you have access to tools such as EMP jammers, unlimited nitrous and the ability to lock your enemy’s brakes, forcing them into a wall. While it’s nothing revolutionary, these tools at least prevent chases from boiling down to your standard out run to survive-type gameplay.
In addition to providing more depth to the free-run pursuits, “Calling All Units” offers a host of new events for you to compete in, both as a cop but more-so as a racer. Scattered across the entire map are delivery-esque events that require you to collect crates and deliver them to a predetermined location across the map. These are sprint-style events that don’t see you racing against the clock, but you do need to reach the destination without being caught. In your way are police deploying roadblocks, helicopters and PIT manoeuvres to stop you. These events are split into three different categories, but truth be told, none are particularly difficult to complete. There are moments where they might come close, usually due to the player’s own negligence, but nothing that’ll offer up a real challenge.
Furthermore, the expansion also introduces 12 new story missions where you play as Zoe’s protégé, Clara. Similar to the events mentioned above, these are very similar in gameplay, where you’ll either spend your time busting smugglers or participating in races with other police vehicles. Fortunately, busting a racer doesn’t require you to take them down, but rather you need to stay in their vicinity for 7 seconds. The challenge here lies not in staying in the target’s vicinity but more so, keeping up to begin with. Thankfully the game does allow you to reset your vehicle closer to the target should you fall behind, but it’s still very much a lesson in trial-and-error, much like the base game’s takedown events.
The twelve events are split between the different car classes (street, circuit, performance, dirt and more.) and are also locked until you reach a certain level. It’s at this stage however that the flaw in ‘Calling All Units’ begins to show. While the delivery events can be completed in any non-police vehicle, each of the new story missions must be actioned in a cop car. Generously, the game provides you with your first street vehicle that allows you to complete the first few events, but from that point onwards you’ll need to purchase the other cars to participate in the missions. The issue is, if you’re a new player to the game (myself included, and I’ve put in around 10 hours prior and hit level 30+), you’ll might be able to afford the next vehicle, a Nissan GTR, but unless you have sufficient funds (and I’m taking a couple million bucks), you’ll be stuck with two police cars and no money to purchase the other. This essentially means you’re not able to progress with the new missions and storyline.
It’s at this stage that the new content becomes restrictive, and there’s every chance that you’ll not be able to finish everything until you’ve grinded enough bucks to do so. I understand that the new content doesn’t need to be gifted to the player, but for gamers who paid for the season pass or the expansion separately, it’s a major slap in the face.
Overall, “Calling All Units” is a neat expansion to add to The Crew, but unless you’ve got a sufficient in-game credits you’ll either need to buy crew points with actual money or grind through events to afford the vehicles you’ll need to complete the additional missions. Gameplay-wise the upgraded pursuits are fun to play and the delivery events are enjoyable too, although they do get repetitive. The new police vehicles look great and handle well too, and for those gamers who haven’t finished the base storyline yet, the expansion adds some additional flavour to the game. If you’ve finished The Crew already though, maybe the new content isn’t enough to justify the work (and price tag) involved.
The Crew‘s “Calling All Units” DLC was reviewed using a promotional code on Xbox One, as provided by the publisher. Click here to learn more about Stevivor’s scoring scale.