Monday, March 9, 2015

One of these is not like the other

There is a belated discussion to be had on why Forza Horizon 2 works and The Crew doesn't that I am not qualified to lead. They are, at the most bases level, the same game: open world racing titles couched in a disposable story with all the collectible bull shit that is to be expected in the genre. Forza Horizon 2 was, for me, gaming nirvana and The Crew is, to be polite, not.

The easiest answer is that the cars in Forza handle like cars and in The Crew they handle like blocks of iron on ice. Neither are 'realistic' racers but Forza puts a little more effort into making the cars controllable. It also pays more attention to the details. As an example, when I chose my first car (out of a very unimpressive selection) I went with a front wheel drive machine because they are easier to drive and I am not very good.

First cut scene afterward has the front wheel drive car doing a burnout with its rear wheels. Not an auspicious beginning.

The world in The Crew is big, bigger than Horizon by a significant margin, and there are side missions all over the place that award tangible things for completing them. Upgrades in Horizon were an afterthought, handled entirely through a menu. The Crew hands them out as bonuses, making improvement more incremental and something that the player has to work for. To be clear, I think this is a very good idea and I would be all in for it if the side missions weren't a crashing bore.

Drive fast, slalom, squeeze through gates, jump. That's it. In Horizon I was racing trains and hot air balloons for next to no reason other than it kicked ass. The boring side missions fit right in with The Crew's giant, boring world. There is a lot of ground to cover but not much in it.

Someone along the line realized this and included a fast travel option that allows the player to jump anywhere. I plan to abuse this extensively for as long as I decide to put with the game.

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