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    The Crew The land Of The Freewheeling

    It’s the sheer diversity of the setting that impresses most during our latest (and final pre-release) hands-on with Ivory Tower’s pan-USA racer. From the bustling cities of New York, Chicago, and San Fran, to picturesque swathes of middle American countryside, to snowy peaks near the Canadian border it’s all here, and ready to have rubber burned all over it.

    We even get to pass through Florida’s famous swampland, and of course the mile upon mile of highway connecting all these locales. The curated skew means less exciting places get cut (tough break, Alaska), but over 6,000km of open road makes for plenty of visual diversity.

    Open-world racers can feel like commutes, but The crew avoids repetition through its nifty fast-travel system: you can pick anywhere on the map and warp there without a single loading screen, joining friends wherever, whenever. It means that you’re more able to make the most of the map, although areas do need unlocking before you can teleport in.

    While eight-person multiplayer might seem a little meagre, there are a glut of events, whether off-road chases through Arizonian desert, circuits round Laguna Seca, or sunny coastal sprints. The downside is that handling is disappointingly loose and floaty, with cars often getting caught on course geometry. Vehicles are customisable, but probably not sufficiently to fully overcome these issues.

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