Perhaps the only multi-platform online (MMO) racer out there, Ubisoft’s The Crew has seen the release of a brand new DLC package entitled Calling All Units.
Whereas last year’s Wild Run focused on monster trucks and other kinds of extreme motorized sports, Calling All Units is a bit more familiar in its approach. It borrows heavily from Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit/Most Wanted and a little bit from The Fast and the Furious, but manages to retain its online focus. What that ultimately means is that you’re playing cops and robbers, only with street racers instead of robbers.
Of course, that’s been done before in some form or another, and the story mode in Calling All Units doesn’t offer anything that hasn’t already been done better in the Need for Speed series. Here, at least in the story missions, you’re on the right side of the law and learn how to apprehend street racers using technical gadgets that include the use of EMP blasts to fry a racer’s electronics when he tries to get away.
However, the real charm of Calling All Units lies in its multiplayer aspect. With the new game modes that are included, you can take part in online multiplayer chase sequences – either as part of law enforcement or as a lone street racer trying to get away from them. Chase sequences have of course also been done before, but there’s something exciting about taking part in one where all the drivers involved are human players and not AI opponents. Chases are less predictable, winning them feels more rewarding, and there is a great sense of competition.
The Calling All Units DLC pack is not without its problems though. Every now and then the online server failed to properly launch an event, and would throw me back to the game world, either rewarding me on a job well done or punishing me for an event sadly lost – when I hadn’t even taken part yet. You also don’t respawn where you left off when you enter an event, although fast travel can help alleviate this.
Calling All Units feels lighter on content than Wild Run did, though perhaps that’s because Wild Run’s content was more original in nature than what Calling All Units has to offer. Story mode is entertaining but not groundbreaking in any significant way, whereas multiplayer online chases are a lot of fun to play – especially when you have a good group of people to play with that are evenly matched. If that’s worth 30 dollars/euros is up for debate though – I would personally wait a few months for this expansion to go on sale, as too much of what’s included is not worth the asking price.