A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Crew: Wild Run is an expansion to the existing street-racing game The Crew, which is required to play. Players take on the role of a street racer looking to clear his name of a murder. He may be innocent of that crime, but in trying to prove it, he proceeds to engage in some very illegal activities, including street races. He frequently puts the lives of pedestrians in danger, traveling at speeds of up to 300 miles per hour down populated streets, sometimes striking pedestrians trying to leap out of his way. The narrative includes occasional sexual references and infrequent coarse language. Several cars featured in the game are authentic and carry real-world brands such as Nissan and Ferrari.
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What's it about?
THE CREW: WILD RUN is an expansion to 2014's The Crew, an open-world racer that lets players explore the entire continental United States. All existing players, regardless of whether they purchase the expansion, will benefit from a game update that enhances visual details and adds special weather effects such as dynamic rainstorms. But they'll need to pay if they want to access Wild Run content, which includes new vehicle specs that can turn cars into monster trucks, dragsters, and ultimate drifting machines, as well as a new vehicle class: motorcycles. Along with the fresh rides are new challenges that will test players' drifting skills, set them loose in drag competitions on long stretches of open road, and see them taking monster trucks out on Hot Wheels-style courses filled with ramps and loops. Once comfortable with the additions, players can enter a new monthly event called the Summit where they'll work through a variety of events to score points and improve their ranking, potentially earning special rewards -- which may include new vehicles -- at the competition's end.
Is it any good?
This expansion pack makes Ubisoft's racer -- middling when originally released -- noticeably better. The graphical improvements don't quite bring it up to the bar-setting standards of contemporary competitors such as Need for Speed, but they'll likely be appreciated by anyone who played the original. The new vehicle specs are a lot of fun. Drag racing -- mostly just a series of well-timed button taps -- is a bit of a one-trick pony, but monster truck events are a blast. And drifting takes advantage of The Crew's unusually wide roads to let players swing skillfully around even right-angle turns. Motorcycles are a little stiff, but they open up new possibilities when you're zipping through busy streets. And the Summit is a great way to keep luring players back on a regular basis to pit their skills against the rest of the community.
The real question is whether it's worth the price. The expansion alone is $25, which is a bit steep for what you get -- especially since the visual updates are free for all existing users. That makes it hard to recommend. But you can now purchase both the game and the expansion together in The Crew: Wild Run Edition for only $40, which is a great deal for open-world racing fans who haven't yet picked it up. It's proof that waffling on whether to buy a game sometimes pay off.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the hazards of reckless driving. Do teens understand that this high-speed racing is fictional, or would some be tempted to drive like this in real life? Is the driving similar to that in a movie franchise such as The Fast and the Furious or is it worse because players actually control the vehicles?
Talk about the mature content in the game. Could the story exist without this content, or would the characters engaging in this behavior seem less realistic?
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