The Crew is an open-world MMO, but without the typical axe-wielding, magic casting, raid-running fantasy action you're used to. Yes you'll take quests, gather loot, and engage in PvP challenges, but all your time and experience points go towards making the fastest car in the country and becoming the worlds most badass street racer in the mission-based story mode.
When you first start off, you're in Detroit, but you won't stay there for long. The entire US is open for you to explore. In my demo, I was able to drive from the Motor City all the way south to downtown Miami (in about 10 minutes). As you cruise down the highway, you'll run into emergent challenges like the slalom. It's sort of like the olympic skiing event, but you're weaving through traffic as you maneuver your car through holographic gates for points. Other speed trials an co-op challenges pop up constantly, always giving you something to do and potentially, better parts to earn for your car.
The open world racer isn't all about street racing either. There are different classes of cars which allow you to take on different types of terrain. The Dirt spec cars get you into rally races, Circuit spec is for traditional, technical driving, and Perfect spec is for those who want to make their car look like it was on the set of The Fast and the Furious. Between blazing past the US landmarks, a huge variety of activities to take part in, and a vast array of customization options to tinker with, The Crew looks like it is going to be a monstrous racer.
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