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Grow Home photo
Grow Home

Grow Home update brings a new side quest, tons of bug fixes


Warm and fuzzy
Feb 18
// Jordan Devore
Thank goodness Ubisoft Reflections' little robot adventure turned out well. That could've been such a letdown. Reviewing Grow Home for Destructoid, Ben Davis said he "got more than enough enjoyment out of exploring the world...
Ubisoft photo
Ubisoft

Ubisoft had a good quarter despite mediocre showing from Assassin's Creeds


No year-over-year change
Feb 12
// Brett Makedonski
Ubisoft didn't have a disappointing holiday season, as it posted financial reports today indicating that the publisher exceeded its quarterly sales expectations by approximately €80 million. More surprising, it did ...
Far Cry 4 photo
Far Cry 4

Ride a dune buggy in Far Cry 4's 'Overrun' DLC


Or just keep on riding on elephants, that's cool too
Feb 10
// Jason Faulkner
Already tired of everything Far Cry 4 has to offer? You're in luck, because Overrun, the latest batch of content for Far Cry 4, is available today. This is a more multiplayer-focused endeavor, with a brand new PvP mode in whi...
Ubisoft photo
Ubisoft

The Crew patch fixes months-old lost stats bug, doesn't return lost stats


Ubisoft
Feb 09
// Steven Hansen
Ubisoft's open world racer The Crew launched in December with a bug that the team couldn't fix over the holidays or also the month of January. It was a big bug, too, what with it randomly erasing players' stats.  Wi...
AC Rogue on PC photo
AC Rogue on PC

Assassin's Creed Rogue's PC port will be first triple-A game to use eye-tracking


Made possible by SteelSeries Sentry
Feb 05
// Brett Makedonski
When Assassin's Creed Rogue comes to PC later this spring, players will be able to take advantage of some optional tech that, in a sense, won't restrict their field of vision to the confines of their screen; in fact, it...
AC Rogue PC date photo
AC Rogue PC date

Assassin's Creed Rogue sneaks over to PC on March 10


Stabs a thing or two along the way
Feb 05
// Brett Makedonski
For more than three months, Assassin's Creed Rogue has been an exclusive to legacy consoles. That'll change on March 10, as the PC version finally has a release date that's set in stone. Strangely, the word doesn't come...

Review: Grow Home

Feb 05 // Ben Davis
Grow Home (PC)Developer: Ubisoft ReflectionsPublisher: UbisoftReleased: February 4, 2015MSRP: $7.99 Grow Home is the story of a happy little robot named BUD (a Botanical Utility Droid), who is sent to an alien planet to search for flora to bring back to his home world. Your mission is to collect seeds from a beanstalk-like plant called the Star Plant. In order to harvest the seeds, you must help the plant grow tall and strong by guiding its vines to the surrounding nutrient-rich islands. Your main objective will be growing vines. Basically, you grab onto the end of a vine, press a button, and hold on for dear life as it shoots off, twisting and turning through the air. You can control the vine's movement and try to aim it towards the nearest island. If it doesn't reach, there will be more budding off of the one you just made, so you can select which one you want to grow next. Since the plant's growth is controlled by the player, everyone's Star Plant will be unique. You can choose the most direct path to each island, or you can play around and create a massive plant with arching, intersecting vines growing every which way. [embed]287190:57170:0[/embed] To climb, you'll have to control BUD, and this is probably the most entertaining aspect of Grow Home. His body parts move around freely as he walks about, affected by physics rather than predefined animations. This gives his movements a wobbly effect, almost like he's drunk. Quite often while I was playing, BUD would suddenly tumble over himself, start spasming, or flail about wildly. This usually didn't affect his momentum or cause him to fall or anything, so rather than being frustrating, it just made me laugh. He was genuinely fun to watch. BUD is able to climb on any surface, using the shoulder buttons (if you're playing with a gamepad) to control each of his hands independently. The climbing, combined with the procedural animation, kind of reminded me of the controls in GIRP or Octodad, except it feels like you have a little more input over your character this time around. You lose some of that control while walking, though. I found BUD's movement while walking to be rather slippery and awkward at times, causing me to slip involuntarily off of islands or vines, but usually this could be prevented by jumping or grabbing hold of something at the last second. He can also use the local flora to move around more efficiently. Large leaves and mushrooms can bounce him high into the air, flowers can be used as parachutes, smaller leaves can be used to hang glide, and several other plants have strange effects as well. You can keep the flowers and small leaves in his backpack for later use, but can only carry one at a time. You'll want to take advantage of all the different plants at every opportunity, because they make scaling the Star Plant and traversing the islands a breeze. Aside from growing vines, there are also crystals scattered around the islands for you to collect. There are 100 crystals total, and BUD will earn upgrades upon collecting certain numbers of them. At 20 crystals, you get a jetpack, which is immensely useful. Most of the other upgrades involve beefing up the jetpack, so it's not a waste to go out of your way to find a few crystals. Since you'll be doing a lot of climbing, you'll want to be careful not to fall too often. Luckily, there are teleportation devices which allow for fast travel, so you won't have to start all over from the bottom of the plant. You can die from falling too far or falling into the water, but there's really no penalty. A new BUD will appear in the last teleportation device you used, while the old BUD's body remains scattered in pieces where it fell. Sometimes, I actually found it quicker to just fall to my death rather than climb back up a vine. There's even a self destruct button you can use in those situations, too. I only encountered a few problems during my time with Grow Home. Sometimes while climbing, the camera would freak out or clip through the terrain, which was kind of disorienting when you're really high up. This was especially bad while climbing on cave ceilings or the undersides of islands. I also noticed that it will start to stutter if you grow too many vines. This shouldn't be a problem if you're playing normally, but I really wanted to see how many vines I could possibly grow, and apparently that was a bad idea. None of the problems I encountered were too serious, though. You can probably get a good three to four hours of gameplay out of Grow Home, and more if you decide to search for every crystal and seed. It's relatively short, but it oozes charm and personality. I got more than enough enjoyment out of exploring the world, free falling through the vines, and watching BUD be all adorable and weird. If you're still unsure, just give it some time. I bet it will grow on you. [This review is based on a retail build of the game purchased by the reviewer.]
Grow Home reviewed photo
Seed of joy
Grow Home is another entry in Ubisoft's recent string of passion projects, in the same vein as Child of Light and Valiant Hearts. It started out as a tool for a small group of Ubisoft developers to experiment with procedural ...

Grow Home photo
Grow Home

It's hard to believe Grow Home is a Ubisoft game


Cute 3D platformer out now on Steam without Uplay
Feb 04
// Jordan Devore
In my dream world, Ubisoft would primarily put out smaller personal projects like Grow Home, but, I get it -- there's substantially more money to be made on Assassin's Creed and its ilk. I'll cherish these moments whenever I...
Far Cry 4 photo
Far Cry 4

Ubisoft restores some third-party Far Cry 4 keys


Keys were purchased with stolen credit cards
Feb 03
// Mike Cosimano
Just over a week after Ubisoft deactivated digital copies of Far Cry 4 purchased through various third-party resellers, the publisher has reactivated copies of the game that have been played in some capacity and has permanent...
HoMM III hits PC, phones photo
HoMM III hits PC, phones

Heroes of Might and Magic III HD hits Steam, iOS, and Android today


Fighting static images has never been so nerve-wracking
Jan 29
// Jason Faulkner
The beloved classic Heroes of Might and Magic III HD: The Restoration of Erathia has come to Steam, Apple App Store, and the Google Play Store and it's just as much fun as I remembered it. The classic high-fantasy ...
Far Cry 4 photo
Far Cry 4

Ubisoft kills copies of Far Cry 4 sold through third parties (Update)


This sounds like something Pagan Min would do
Jan 26
// Mike Cosimano
[Update: Marek Zimny of G2A recently got in touch with Destructoid regarding this story. According to his comment, the company is not responsible for "any of these procedures" and is working towards obtaining refunds for affe...
Grow Home photo
Grow Home

Climb a giant beanstalk in Grow Home, a new game from Ubisoft


Control a cute little robot
Jan 22
// Ben Davis
Ubisoft announced a new game today called Grow Home, and it looks freaking adorable! The game takes inspiration from wonderful works such as The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Wall-E, and falls in line with the company...
Deals photo
Deals

Uplay runs BOGO sale: Saints Row Gat Out of Hell + free game


Steam and Origin games too
Jan 22
// Dealzon
On Tuesday, the new standalone Saints Row expansion Gat Out of Hell released for $19.99 on Steam (or $5 for those who took advantage of GameStop's goof). If you're interested in the game and are already planning to pay full p...

Assassin's Creed fans' best guesses for Victory in painstaking detail

Jan 22 // Brett Makedonski
England's Victorian era was designated by the entirety of Queen Victoria's lifespan. That's 1837-1901 A.D. Not exactly a short period of time. However, some fine attention to detail has possibly narrowed down the time-frame that Victory will take place during.  We have deduced that the majority, if not all, of the game will take place from 1878 onwards. This is due to the the fact that: 1. The construction on Big Ben was completed in 1858.2. Electric street lighting in London began in 1878, as seen in the train station and on the street. But there are other things that Alpha (a forum member) has noticed that would lead one to believe the game is set further in time. An ad can be seen for "Havelock Tobacco" in the last screen from Kotaku, among many others. We have traced this product to being sold in 1891, but these are minor details. Although, 1891 easily fits into the time frame. Now that we have a smaller time period nailed down, let's take a look at some of the monuments that'll surely be included. Ubisoft does love to build faithful recreations of landmarks, after all. This is Saint Margaret's. The building Sam (half the users have settled on "Samuel Fey" as the protagonist's name; the other half is outraged by this unfounded designation) is seen sitting on in the first screen. The placement is very accurate and through my research on Google Earth, and heavy analyzation of the screen, I am sure that they are the same place. You can also see a Google Earth pic of Westminster Abbey in the last pic. If you are unfamiliar with London, you may be surprised to find that it and the Notre Dame are very similar. Next up is Saint Paul's Cathedral. It is seen rising highly above the other buildings, so much so that I don't see how the scale is 100% accurate. Buckingham Palace: this London residence and principal workplace of the monarchy of the United Kingdom was built in 1703 but expanded in the 19th century. This magnificent palace is right across the street from Sam's viewpoint in the first pic (you can probably see it from there) so it is very likely that this will be in the game. Fun fact: Wolve's ancestors helped build the palace. Lastly is the train station seen. This has been confirmed to be the Charing Cross Railway Station, because of it's location on the horizon in screenshot #1 and the distance between the two. [embed]286537:56985:0[/embed] About here, some users went into incredible detail about the various ads that appear in the game (like Foster's Beer). Seriously, it's amazing how deep down the rabbit hole they go. None of it does much apart from further cementing the circa 1891 setting and again affirm that Ubisoft does a pretty great job with authenticity as far as things like that go. I guess a series about history should get the "history" part down. Anyway, one person gave the boldest of predictions. It was my absolute favorite. It takes a very critical eye to even venture this sort of crazy thought. there are going to be hats Sadly, this present-day Nostradamus was largely ignored. The Assassin's Creed forums don't know a good thing when they see it. Instead, they turned their attention to some of the more notable figures we might meet in Victory. A decent-sized list included: Isambard Kingdom Brunel: A civil engineer of the Victorian Era. He also built the Great Western Railway from Bristol to London. Known to have developed powerful steam ships. Sir Titus Salt: A successful businessman that unlike other buisnessman, felt a general concern for the workforce. John Stuart Mill: An utilitarian philosopher and supporter of radical / liberal politics and the emancipation of women. Benjamin Disraeli: British prime minister and personal friend of Queen Victoria herself. Charles Darwin: English naturalist; His published theory of Evolution was one of the greatest changes of the Victorian period. George Stephenson: Father of the railways; He was known for making the first railways that changed the Victorian society and their means of travel. Michael Faraday: A scientist who helped electricity become more practical in the Victorian Era. But, later, someone else chimed in with this golden nugget. The new flamboyant De Sade-like character will be Oscar Wilde, no doubt about that. Right time and place. Brilliant, and sure to please subscribers of r/gonewilde. Yet another talking point were the social aspects. As some users pointed out, the era was rife with class division and terrible working and living conditions. One person mentioned that the streets were flooded with sewage (cue comments saying "Perfect. Assassin's Creed is just wading through shit!" Beat you to it, jokesters.) There's also the theme of child labor and the general poor treatment of kids. Another user weighed in hoping there'd be the option to kill kids. It got pretty grim. Luckily, the tension was broken up by this earnest request: I wanna ride a bicycle across London. So do I, Namikaze_17. So do I. Circling back around to the Assassin's Creed-centric bits of speculation, someone wanted to know how the First Civilization elements could be incorporated into Victory. One response had a few likely answers. It is difficult to predict which areas will be related to the first civ. For example, in AC3 it was a nameless cave, and in Dead Kings it was the catacombs of Saint Denis. But I can make a few guesses. If we are going off of underground places, then it could be the London Bridge catacombs, or maybe an offshoot from a deep underground railway tunnel. Both of these are mysterious and secluded places. I was trying to think of places of power and although it's not in London, Stonehenge is very mysterious and has big potential for AC to put its historical "spin" on it. Who knows what kind of crazy ideas the writers may come up with. Of course, there was the requisite person trying to bring everyone down: My speculation: The game will be buggy. The game will be rushed. The modern story will be almost non-existent. People will still buy it. That was not met with kind replies. And then there was the guy that put the cart way ahead of the horse. So what do you think the DLC will be? Slow your roll, pal. We can't even agree on this guy's name yet. We'll tackle the DLC next week. AC Victory Speculation Thread [Assassin's Creed forums]
AC predictions photo
All before the game's even announced
There's a normal cycle of news for finding out about upcoming videogames. After a tightly-controlled reveal, details will trickle out slowly -- just enough at a time to barely placate prospective players, their longing for th...

Review: Assassin's Creed Unity: Dead Kings

Jan 15 // Brett Makedonski
Assassin's Creed Unity: Dead Kings (PC, PS4, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Ubisoft MontpellierPublisher: UbisoftReleased: January 13, 2015MSRP: Free Dead Kings eschews Unity's crowded Paris in favor of the relatively quaint Franciade (present-day St. Denise). It's there that Arno longs for passage to Cairo, but one last task awaits him. He has the wealth of kings to find, and it's wrapped up in layer after layer of mystery. It's the sort of treasured prize that turns men mad and converts former allies into evil, no-good-doers (as confusing and not elaborated upon as that is). Actually, that's the bulk of what Dead Kings does wrong: it weakly strings together plot points that might be okay on their own, but are cohesively unconvincing. There's the greed of mankind constantly trying to one-up one another to be the first to take sole possession of the coveted, secret treasure. There's a supernatural element wherein spirits guide Arno along the way, if he can solve their rudimentary puzzles. And, there's a child sidekick that tries taking the entire operation down from the outside, whom Arno reluctantly teams up with. Not that all of this is outside the realm of possibility for Assassin's Creed; it's just that it doesn't quite work in this instance. Really, it smacks of a love letter to Raiders of the Lost Ark more than anything else. One setting in particular evokes memories of the Spielberg classic if you're willing to trade snakes for rats. [embed]286101:56870:0[/embed] That isn't to say that Dead Kings doesn't feel like an Assassin's Creed game; it very much does. That's wildly evident by the sheer amount of content in the add-on (especially considering how much of it consists of menial tasks). The six main missions are a sizable chunk, and the rest mostly serves as the filler that has become synonymous with Ubisoft open-world games (for better and for worse). Despite Franciade boasting a respectable three outdoor regions, it's the underground interiors that are highlighted for a change. They feel otherworldly in a sense -- a foray through dimly lit, maze-like, narrow passages when we're used to anything but. It's not at all a stretch to say that these spaces double Dead Kings' playspace from three to six different areas -- two halves that are polar opposites from one another. In these tunnels, packs of explorative scavengers roam with intent to loot -- ravaging caves, tombs, and human remains in pursuit of wealth. While their numbers are strong, Dead Kings mercifully grants an out for almost every combat situation. Each group has a leader, and once he's dead, his followers quickly surrender rather than suffering the same fate. Essentially, this means that a well-timed assassination maneuver or a crafty projectile blade to the head disposes of a half dozen men instead of just one. It may seem like a small example, but it kind of acts as a knowing nod from Ubisoft that perhaps the tedium of the Assassin's Creed rubric is in need of some sort of shake-up. Maybe it's not ready to fully relent, but at least it allows clever assassins to work smarter, not harder. That potential revelation extends to the gameplay in that the six campaign sections possibly serve as the best sample platter of Assassin's Creed missions in recent memory. Interchanged with relative frequency, Dead Kings offers stealth (though not required), combat sequences, environmental puzzles, and exploration-based platforming challenges, all in the few hours that it has to work with. Unfortunately missing are elaborate assassinations (hands-down, the best part of Unity), but nevertheless, this add-on should nicely placate the impatient franchise fan that's easily bored with the "same old, same old" despite the fact that it's still kind of exactly that. For all the directional changes that Ubisoft took with Dead Kings, the most confounding decision is that the add-on isn't really comfortably positioned for any one audience. Those that have completed Unity will find it a bit under-challenging, as end-game gear will usually quickly eliminate the mid-level opposition. However, Dead Kings takes place after Unity ends, meaning that anyone that's statistically aligned with the enemies will have to play the game out of order. All in all, Dead Kings adds up to a package that's somewhat schizophrenic in nature. At times, it seems like both the story and the gameplay aren't quite sure where they want to go. Even more surprising, it kind of works. Anyone that knows Assassin's Creed will feel an innate familiarity with Dead Kings and maybe even a bit of excitement (particularly the last section, which conjures memories of a classic series moment). However, there's an air of freshness about it that works in some ways and falls flat in others. Dead Kings isn't likely to reignite anyone's love for Assassin's Creed, but it certainly won't extinguish any existing flames, either. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided for free to the public as apology DLC.]
AC DLC review photo
What's old is new again... kind of
If our time spent wandering the Parisian streets in Assassin's Creed Unity has taught us anything, it's that Arno Dorian is a self-serving man. Almost all of his actions, whether aligned with the cause of the Brotherhood or n...

AC Unity DLC photo
AC Unity DLC

A new trailer commemorates the release of Assassin's Creed Unity's free DLC


Available now
Jan 13
// Brett Makedonski
Do you believe in ghosts? I'm not sure Arno does, but who wouldn't temporarily suspend their disbelief for "ancient artifacts and lost fortunes?" "Sure, the spirits of dead kings are everywhere. Whatever. Big money, big mone...
Mega Bloks photo
Mega Bloks

These Assassin's Creed Mega Bloks were 'designed with adult collectors in mind'


Hey, kids, wanna stab?
Jan 08
// Jordan Devore
Brett told us about the Assassin's Creed Mega Bloks only to totally leave us hanging now that the toys are viewable online. Never did trust that guy. Makedonski? Obviously a phony last name. Anyway, yes, Ubisoft has posted im...
AC Unity photo
AC Unity

Assassin's Creed Unity's free DLC is a week away, and it looks too spooky


Human remains will do that
Jan 06
// Brett Makedonski
Assassin's Creed Unity was mostly an adventure that took place on the crowded Parisian streets, all jam-packed with people. The game's first add-on looks to be similarly populated -- not by lively dissenters, but by the...
Far Cry's future photo
Far Cry's future

Alaska, vampires, Jurassic Park: Ubisoft polls future Far Cry settings


Copy-paste the formula to a new locale
Jan 06
// Steven Hansen
Not that it was in doubt after Far Cry 4's sameness (to FC3), but Far Cry has been Ubisoft'd, its mechanics ripped and torn from one setting to another in the name of disconnected virtual tourism. Ubisoft polled its fans...
Far Cry 4 issue photo
The Great Elephant Shortage of 2015
[Update: Far Cry 4 has been reinstated on the Xbox One games store, restoring permissions for several users. For those who are still experiencing difficulties, Ubisoft officially recommends a hard reboot of the Xbox One conso...

Assigning New Year's resolutions to major videogame studios

Jan 03 // Kyle MacGregor
Sony The PlayStation 4 has all kinds of momentum. It's like a snowball rolling downhill. Just like in the cartoons, it's gradually picking up more and more snow, except in this case the snow is money. It's a runaway snowball made of money and nothing can stop it. Absolutely nothing. Probably. Never underestimate a videogame company's ability to chew off its own limbs, but Sony has a guaranteed success on its hands. The Vita, though, that thing could use a good kick in the pants. Resolution: Do something to make people buy a Vita. Something. Anything at all. Nintendo The Vita are and Wii U are kindred spirits. Sort of. Sony's portable is a poor, neglected thing, something kept hidden under the stairs, never given a cake on its own danged birthday. Wii U has a better home life than that, one with nice supportive parents, but it's still sitting next to Vita in the corner of the lunchroom at the unpopular consoles table. Resolution: Do something edgy and hope the popular kids finally take notice. You know you're awesome. You just have to find a way to make other folks realize it. Valve Valve marches to the beat of its own drum. It's a videogame company that no longer makes videogames, which turns out to be a remarkable business strategy. It seems dealing in trading cards and virtual hats is a nice way to fill Gabe's swimming pool with doubloons. Still... Resolution: Shit or get off the pot. Good lord, figure out what the hell you're doing with Greenlight, release Steam Machines already, and maybe put out a god damn videogame this year. Sega In fairness, Sega does some good stuff. Alien: Isolation was a nice surprise. Atlus is alive and well. Yakuza 5 is coming westward. Total War is a good time. Hatsune Miku is a bizarre wonder... Sonic Boom happened, though. Oh boy, did Sonic Boom happen. It's a broken mess and the embodiment of what's plagued the series for years, a symbol of Sega's insecure need to reinvent the wheel for no good reason at all. Stick to what works, Sega. There's no need to be innovative. Resolution: Stop abusing Sonic and the interminable good will of Sonic fans. Go back to basics. Microsoft The Xbox One reminds me of a troubled teenager: twisting in the wind, still trying to find its place in the world. Is it the harbinger of the always-online apocalypse, an all-in-one entertainment hub, or maybe just a plain old videogame machine? Today it's videogames. Tomorrow, well, who knows? Resolution: Keep concentrating on videogames. Your console is confused and needs focus. Capcom and/or Square Enix People are always mad at these guys. Sometimes for good reasons. Other times just because. Resolution: Do something to engender good will. Maybe stop re-releasing every game ever. Electronic Arts Activision was the big evil publisher on the block for a while there. Then EA had its turn. Nowadays, Ubisoft is doing its best Bond villain impersonation, which gives EA a perfect opportunity to worm its way back into our hearts. It will probably never happen, though. Battlefield Hardline is coming out soon, and, considering the current political climate, a militarized police game has the potential to offend just about everyone. Resolution: Maybe launch a couple online games with functioning servers. Ubisoft Ubisoft is pure evil. We've already established this. It's the black hat desperado, riding into town on a DRM steed, overhyping Watch Dogs with too good to be true E3 footage, and saying inordinately stupid things about how female game characters are too expensive to animate. It's also the sort of company that releases two Assassin's Creed titles on the same day, saddled with a pathetic attempt to keep potential customers in the dark regarding the games' quality and readiness (or lack thereof) for as long as possible. Subterfuge like that is astonishingly disrespectful. Sadly, that sort of behavior just seems to be Ubisoft's modus operandi these days.  Resolution: Try to be a tad more pro-consumer, Ubisoft. Also, make Beyond Good & Evil 2.
New Year's Resolutions photo
Check back to see who failed
It's an annual tradition: Making resolutions to kick off the New Year. There's a whole new arbitrary set of twelve months in which to better ourselves. Or, you know, make the same mistakes we made in the last dozen. It's finally time to quit smoking or start going to the gym. Whatever. Here's a bunch of words about what videogame companies should do to shape up in 2015.

Review: The Crew

Dec 22 // Brittany Vincent
The Crew (Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC, PlayStation 4 [reviewed])Developer: Ivory Tower, Ubisoft ReflectionsPublisher: UbisoftReleased: December 2, 2014MSRP: $59.99 The Crew was arresting ever since I became entangled within its narrative, which is surprisingly gripping for the genre. Its deliciously cheesy and lightweight criminal protagonist’s plight gave me something to shoot for: revenge. Kyuss’ “Demon Cleaner” blared from my television as I burned rubber to tail the dirty FBI agent who murdered Alex Taylor’s brother, years after his being framed. With the law on my side, I was absolutely ready to exact my sweet, sweet revenge by working my way to the top of the gangs who put me away and took my brother from me. Sure, it’s cliched. You’ve heard this story before, namely within the realm of Need for Speed and its ilk, but I didn’t care. I related to it. I probably would have done much of the same given the situation. So I couldn’t have cared less who I was playing as after The Crew motivated me to drive cross-country in-game, winning races, delivering cars, and taking out leaders in the name of justice along the way. [embed]285043:56708:0[/embed] That’s why with all of its shortcomings I was able to genuinely sit back, relax, and enjoy The Crew. Most importantly, I did it without the influence or necessity of other people. And looking back on my time with the game now, like in real life, other people would only have tainted what I was able to accomplish. Let’s get down to brass tacks, though. The bread and butter of any racer is of course car mechanics, and there’s a comfortable mix of arcade-style handling with simulation-styled controls. You can alter the controls to your liking so it feels more familiar and workable, but for the most part the game is quite forgiving, even if you tend to bump into that car in front of you or the signpost on the side of the road. This actually tends to work in your favor, especially during timed events where clipping a guard rail and spinning out in another game could mean the difference between starting the race over entirely and losing a couple of seconds. All of the cars have a very basic “stock” feel to them in the beginning, which you can liken to the very same feeling arcade racers pack. You’ll need to tune them accordingly before they begin to feel more like wieldy vehicles, and this is done by purchasing additional upgrades with points earned throughout the game as you progress. There’s a robust if uninspired system in place to ensure your earnings are tracked in every way they can be, so there are plenty of opportunities for you to earn additional points here and there to make your muscle car or humble sedan roadworthy. But without somewhere to drive, where would we be in a racer? The vast open world of The Crew is its biggest asset, and despite the dozens of missions and races you can drive to from the start of the game, you’ll undoubtedly spend most of your time checking out the U.S. countryside, just like a virtual road trip. You can hit up Manhattan and check out the Rocky Mountains with no loading times between, spending hours upon hours exploring every little nook and cranny the game has to offer. Sprinkled throughout the countryside are a smattering of missions you can complete, ranging from a couple of minutes long to a few hours. You might spend some time speeding through gates for experience. In another area you might be charged with delivering a car as a gift for one of the gang members’ contacts. There’s always something to do, even if a good part of it consists of single-player missions that are best enjoyed alone. That’s where things get a little confusing. Unfortunately, Ubisoft opted for the boneheaded decision to force The Crew players to remain online at all times to play this game. Effectively, that makes it a racing MMORPG, given the fact that experience is earned through said missions and whatnot. That also means other players are sharing the map with you at any given time. Luckily, you aren’t forced to get buddy buddy with others in order to complete missions and progress, though if you want to reach out, you can form your own crews to conquer instances you just can’t best. You can even reach out at any time to complete a mission with a second player, which can get you through some pretty tight spots. If either player wins, both participants receive experience, which makes playing with others a lucrative offer. But what really happens is a flood of notifications declaring that RiffRaff420blAzEiT wants to race against you, or YesImAGirlPlayingAVideoGame wants to complete a mission together. In more congested areas you’ll find that everyone just wants in on the multiplayer experience, which only got worse as the days piled up after release date. Some might find this an alright problem to have, given the fact that online-only games need their players to participate. But as someone who prefers to play solo, period, it was tiring and jarring, especially since I wished only to spin the narrative of my choosing, and that was being a lone wolf on a cross-country journey to avenge my brother. I didn’t want anyone getting in the way. Of course, for the review’s sake, I had to participate in multiplayer events, which worked quite smoothly. It can still be difficult at times to find players for races or assistance (if that’s your kind of thing) but I didn’t have any issues establishing or maintaining a connection once I made the decision to. It’s a helpful addition when and if you choose to take advantage of it, but if all you’re concerned with is a solo career as a driver, you’ll want to turn notifications off and speed through the desert on your lonesome. Unfortunately, sometimes the solo grind can be difficult. Unless you challenge nearly every mission you come across and rack up the experience points, you won’t have reached the best level at which you can best your competition. This will call for an abundance of experience farming, which does tend to give a “homework” sort of feel to the game at some points, but with so many places to explore, you can take it one play session at a time. No need for rushing — you’ve got the whole of the the States to explore. With an insanely large world it had to be assumed there would be at least some sort of hit in visual fidelity as well, and while the game looks competent at least in the current-gen department, it’s not as great-looking as it could have been. The trade-off for minimal load times and such an expansive world more than makes up for it, however, and visually impressive cut scenes prove time was spent on making characters and cars impressive where the effort could be more concentrated. The Crew offers you the entire countryside to explore solo or with friends (or strangers), plenty of cars, customization options, and a narrative that extends a purpose beyond “being the best” to get your motor running. Ubisoft’s familiar structural pitfalls like microtransactions, online-only play, and other trappings hinder rather than enhance, but those things have become par for the course by now. Thankfully, they don’t mar the overall experience, and that was an overtly positive one for me. I don’t need a crew to cruise downtown Chicago or the west coast. I was just fine going it alone. And if you settle in for a few hours and let the game take you, I surmise you will be, too. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
The Crew review photo
Me and my crew, we swaggin' in the room
A great racer to me doesn’t focus on an abundance of customization options or entire garages of cars. It doesn’t even serve up solid multiplayer modes or an interesting soundtrack. It keeps me playing. And let me ...

Far Cry 4 photo
Far Cry 4

Far Cry 4 DLC wants you dead... permanently


Naked fights to the death
Dec 20
// Laura Kate Dale
Far Cry 4 was a pretty restrained game by comparison to Far Cry 3. Sure you could command an elephant into battle, but the game's hero Ajay Ghale never got himself into enough truly bizarre situations. Thankfully, there's a n...
Panache photo
Panache

Assassin's Creed creative director has a new game


This sounds pretty familiar
Dec 19
// Laura Kate Dale
Patrice Désilets is a man whose name you may not know, but whose work you probably do. Patrice used to be the creative director on the Assassin's Creed series, before Ubisoft kicked him to the curb and held on to the r...
AC Unity photo
AC Unity

Come get your free game, Assassin's Creed Unity season pass owners


It's really easy
Dec 18
// Brett Makedonski
Ubisoft's offer for a free game for Assassin's Creed Unity season pass owners is now live, and it's extremely simple. In fact, it only took a few clicks before I was the proud new owner of Far Cry 4. Here's how to do it....
Unity patch photo
Unity patch

The latest Assassin's Creed Unity patch is a meager, tiny 40GB on Xbox One


Luckily, there's a work-around
Dec 17
// Brett Makedonski
The fourth Assassin's Creed Unity patch released yesterday, and Xbox One users found that it was substantially larger than advertised. The update, which was meant to be 6.7GB, clocks in at 40GB on the Microsoft console. ...
Free game photo
Free game

Assassin's Creed Unity season pass owners' free game is coming this week


Six to choose from
Dec 15
// Brett Makedonski
As an attempt to make amends for the flubbed Assassin's Creed Unity launch, Ubisoft announced last month that it'd grant the Dead Kings story add-on for free to all Unity players. This put out the season p...
Driveclub photo
Driveclub

Driveclub is getting an extreme weather patch today


1.4GB
Dec 08
// Chris Carter
Driveclub is still having quite a few issues, and Sony is still not giving us any concrete details on the PlayStation Plus program status. Today it's getting a 1.4GB patch that adds a ton of dynamic weather improvements,...

The next Assassin's Creed reportedly takes place in Victorian London

Dec 02 // Brett Makedonski
Ubisoft responded to our inquiry for comment with a semi-confirmation of the title's legitimacy. The publisher's statement in full to Destructoid is: "It is always unfortunate when internal assets, not intended for public consumption, are leaked. And, while we certainly welcome anticipation for all of our upcoming titles, we're disappointed for our fans, and our development team, that this conceptual asset is now public. The team in our Quebec studio has been hard at work on the particular game in question for the past few years, and we're excited to officially unveil what the studio has been working on at a later date. In the meantime, our number one priority is enhancing the experience of Assassin's Creed Unity for players." In his piece on Kotaku, Jason Schreier states that he's seen a seven-minute "target gameplay" video that looks polished enough to be an E3 demonstration. It highlights some firsts for the series such as fighting on top of moving vehicles, and a grappling hook for speedy traversal. It also looks to have some new UI features, like the interface blending into gameplay -- something that was shown to us at an E3 demo of Unity, but never made it into the final game. We'll have to wait for Ubisoft's official reveal of this project, but this seems like a legitimate look. Some may be burned out on the annual iterations of the Assassin's Creed franchise, and that's perfectly understandable. Those who aren't can prepare for anarchy in the UK. Next Year's Big Assassin's Creed Is Set In Victorian London [Kotaku]
Next Assassin's Creed photo
That was quick
The Assassin's Creed franchise goes through a little routine each spring where someone leaks information about the next installment in the series before Ubisoft can properly make the announcement. Tradition's true to for...

Here are some day-one thoughts on The Crew

Dec 02 // Chris Carter
In essence, The Crew is an online-only, open-world racing game. Yep, good old Ubisoft and its predictable open-world formula is at again -- right down to the outpost/radar buildings (called "data stations" here, haha). Once you're done with the prologue you can basically just roam around the world, which, in this case, is the entire United States. This is easily my favorite part The Crew, as developer Ivory Tower nailed the way the map works. First of all it's presented in a seamless manner with very little loading time on the actual map. But the real kicker is that everything is connected perfectly, so you can actually drive around the US at a reasonable pace. For reference, take a look at this map -- to get from Detroit to New York City, it would take roughly 15 minutes. Add in a ton of distractions along the way (including arcade-oriented challenges that can instantly spring up while you're driving down a highway) and an open world full of players and it starts to feel a lot bigger. You start off in Detroit, but the main hubs are Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, and Miami -- with some smaller locations like Washington D.C. and New Orleans in the mix. Each area has a distinctly different terrain type, and you can modify your car accordingly in every city to adjust for dirt, street, or highway conditions. Again, this is a massive game just by world map standards, and there is a fast travel option if you don't want to drive everywhere. The story and characters are bad in a Fast and the Furious manner, and that's not a compliment (most of those movies are fun popcorn flicks). Even with a bit of cheese, the actual plot is just plain awful, and serves as a basic setup to drive around the country. In short, your brother was murdered, and after you've been framed by the gang who did it, you have to serve the FBI and bring down the bad guys. It's by the books and could have worked, but the flat and laughable characters make it worse than it has to be. I'm half expecting a gritty Vin Diesel impersonator to pop out and say "I live my life a quarter mile at a time" at any point. In fact, it may have already happened, but I was half-asleep during most of the cutscenes. Gameplay-wise my experience has been mixed. I love the cool touches like the overhead GPS trail when you are pursuing an objective, and the RPG-esque level-up/part acquisition system always ensures that you feel like you're earning something. However, the controls, uninspired perk mechanic, and car options fall flat in many ways. The main problem with the handling is that it feels like a weird mix of simulation and arcade controls, which is a problem without going in and tinkering with the options menu. It's weird, because at first cars feel like they're perpetually on ice. It's not until you tweak some stuff and get better equipment that you feel like you're really driving a car. Collisions also have a strange feel to them just like Watch Dogs, where you sort of "bounce" off things rather than feel like you're naturally hitting them. The bar has been raised by games like Forza, so it's disappointing to see that Ubisoft hasn't gone all in on car handling. So far I'm pretty happy with how the actual overworld turned out, but everything else in The Crew hasn't wowed me yet. That's not to say it's bad, though. So long as you're looking for another chance to get your exploration on, I think there's plenty to like here -- but I still have to test out the mechanics and get further in the story to make a full decision. Stay tuned for our review from Brittany in the future.
The Crew impressions photo
Our review is coming later
Ubisoft recently notified the press that it wasn't going to send out early copies of The Crew. Instead, critics would have to experience everything at launch and beyond, meaning there would be no reviews for the gam...







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