Playing The Crew at E3 offered a slightly different experience than most games on the show floor. Typically you get a hands-off experience for a game, or jump on the controls with someone nearby to help answer any questions. For The Crew, groups of six were pulled into a small room for some explanation on the game, and then, as a group of six, you would decide what you wanted to play.

After deciding we wanted to race in Yosemite in a total off-road course, we split into groups of three and took each other on. I was part of team Bears as we took on team Eagles. Our first mission was practice before taking on our opponents. Us three were tasked with taking out another car. This was done by pushing them off the road and ramming into them. Ignoring the structure of the roads during the race was freeing. Obviously, I have played plenty of games where I am encouraged to leave the track and drive anywhere I want, but this game looks and feels more like a traditional racer. The complete lack of invisible walls and barriers encouraging you to stay the course was nice, and I took advantage of it whenever I could. Thankfully, whenever I got too off course, I could hold down a button to get pulled back onto the suggested course.

After taking out the car, which we did successfully, it was time to race. I immediately began driving into pedestrian cars trying to cause as much mayhem as possible as I half-committed to the race. Eventually, police officers took notice and chased me into a dead-end alley where I found a store called Fruit Store. An option came up to pay my ticket, which I did so, and decided maybe I should try to race with the rest of team.

I got back on course by holding down the button. As I did previously, I went off-road whenever possible. Instead of staying on the road, doing my best to turn accurately and slip by the other cars, I beelined my way to every checkpoint. This got me in trouble most of the time, but I was having a good time.

We eventually lost to the Eagles. I don’t want to point any fingers, but I really was doing a terrible job. The freedom of forging my own path, even a slower one, was too much fun to ignore.

Ubisoft is pitching The Crew as an MMO racing game. When it comes to the way teams are gathered, quests are taken, and leveling up your cars and garage, Ubisoft is looking more towards games like World of Warcraft as opposed to other comparable online racing games. In the setting of the show floor, however, we weren’t able to see how those ideas work in a racing setting. Instead, our play time was focused on showcasing teamwork, the environments, and the driving – aspects which seem to be coming together nicely.