Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox 360 (£54.99)

Perhaps it is the vast scale of a stunning map, perhaps it is the number of challenges and upgrades for you to enjoy in your vehicle, or maybe it is just that we have had no problems with the servers so far. But from the outset, it is clear that The Crew is a racing game like no other.

In fact, it’s so early on that after several hours glued to the screen, I have only unlocked a small sector of the United States. The aim by completion is to drive from the East to the West Coast and unlock all skill games and roads, a sizeable task realistically, and one that will have to wait.

The handling and feel for the car is so far spot on. In comparison to Need for Speed Rivals, it feels much more like the racing games of old, so to speak. Gold, silver and bronze upgrades are handed to you upon completion of your selected challenge, and I have already noticed, unsurprisingly, that this game has a lot more about it once your car starts to improve.

Races can be as long as two hours, skill games can be as quick as 20 seconds, there’s so much variety to how you can tackle the game. And upon releasing details about it Ubisoft were quick to point out that this was a whole lot more than your standard wheel-to-wheel thriller. This was about driving with your crew, against online competitors.

Unfortunately, my crew is nowhere to be found right now, and there aren’t too many online to challenge, but with the thorough beta testing we have experienced no problems with connectivity, essential for this game, as of yet. There’s nothing more rewarding than taking down an enemy truck with yours and three other modified sports cars in the Midwest, so the more people are online, the more you will get out of it. And looking at this map, there is so much to get out of it.

All the cities in The Crew have distinguishable features. Whether it be the symmetrical busy streets in New York, or the Gateway Arch in St Louis, you’ll be drifting while gazing at your surroundings with the corner of your eye.

The map will be greyed out - similar to previous Grand Theft Auto releases - until you explore, something that is a quest in itself with all the challenges on your way. Long drives across the country will help you get in tune with your car, something I haven’t truly been able to do since a Need for Speed Underground franchise, and who said escaping near wipeouts along with losing the police can’t be just what you need?

Thousands of challenges, and perhaps even thousands of hours of play await you in The Crew, a unique gaming experience where miles will be travelled around your favourite hotspots and even holiday destinations with your friends online. The graphics are exemplary, the handling of my modified car can’t be faulted, Ubisoft seem to have delivered in the busiest season for gaming again.

All we’re waiting for now is a crew to play it with.

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