Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The Crew, no regrets, thus far

The Crew was originally a spontaneous purchase, a used-but-new-to-us game for the Xbox One. My first hopes were dashed after we (as in the family) discovered it was an online experience that only one person at a time could enjoy. However, should things unfold as I hope, that could change, soon.

As I got more involved into the game, I started to make the connections to other title elements of the same genre that I had played before. The open world environment offered a sense of freedom from restrictions, much like Test Drive Unlimited and Need for Speed World (to a degree) and seeing other players driving around was like a homecoming of sorts.

The storyline presented wasn't a truly original idea or plot, but it moved the singleplayer experience along quite nicely. I was rather impressed with the level of detail from the whole game experience, from the renderings of the player controlled vehicles to the compressed environment of the United States, with all the landmarks and tourist traps.

Of course, that's just the base game. Add in the Wild Run DLC and I could have experienced motorcycles, monster trucks and dragsters (all of which existed in other games, as official or player addons), not to mention Summits, special events to climb a few leaderboards for bragging rights and prizes.

Now, here comes Calling All Units. Other than adding in the option to have police cars of my own and not to sound too critical, it doesn't hold much additional interest for me. Not to say I wouldn't pick this up at a later date, but for now, as a racer, I am having a blast. From collecting the crates and the prizes inside....

.... to outrunning, outmaneuvering both player and AI controlled police units and their tactics....

....almost more fun than I can handle.

I will admit that I did have certain doubts about using the Cadillac Escalade to begin with, especially in police chases. Originally acquired through a glitch, programming error or some other unexplainable means, this vehicle has proven it's worth in situations that could have spelled disaster if I was using almost anything else. Although I prefer the Dirt Spec model, it doesn't seem to be suffering from any serious limitations because of this classification. On road or off, this black beauty has earned it's place as a keeper in my garage.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Some first day lessons and choices

Since I haven't purchased the Calling All Units expansion as of yet, I will talk about the game from the perspective of just the racer. The first skill I got is called EMP Shock. Just like the name would suggest, EMP Shock is a sudden burst of electrical energy, designed to disable anyone in proximity of it going off. I have discovered to have as many police vehicles around....

....before activating it for maximum effect and increased escape potential (five seconds to getaway, so use it wisely).

The skill available was Guardian, which comes in handy against quite a few tricks the police throw at me. This protection field can wipe away the effects of a police attack almost immediately.

So, they hit me with an EMP Field....

....and presto, it's gone.

Next, a Speed Hack to slow me down....

....but not for long (I am very capable of using a parked vehicle to slow myself down, thank you very much)!

During the initial launch, a Hummer H1 Alpha is the prize from the crates, scattered all around the countryside. Ten pieces are required to assemble a fullstock version. So, save your hard earned ingame credits for those upgrades, since you just might win that vehicle you have had your eyes on....

....just like I have.

Did all that practice payoff?

After spending many countless hours in The Crew honing my craft against the AI controlled police, tuning my Dirt Spec Cadillac Escalade for the offensive and working out strategies to use, did it all come together for the real deal?

Give this a watch and let me know your thoughts....

....the day after

Welcome to the first day of Calling All Units. As you can see from the picture above, the new Police Station/Tuner has arrived in Chicago.

Not nearly as big a renovation as I was expecting, taken just the day before. Before I go any further, the new intro for the expansion....

....and tutorial to be introduced to some of the new features (since I wasn't lucky enough to try it out as an Alpha/Beta tester)....

Next, I better collect that new Alfa and see what those 20 Upoints bought me....

Yup, there it is....

....and I am sure it will be a decent ride, perhaps a test drive and review later. However, no sooner do I just start to check things out, I get an invite to a mission. Of course, I join without hesitation....

Monday, 28 November 2016

The night before....

As the rest of the international community waits for the Calling All Units update to arrive, I spent the last night of the Wild Run edition snapping up a memory. The location above is where the new police station/tuner will be, but this is just before the renovations.I will take another picture after the place gets freshened up.

I also nabbed this accomplishment, sure doesn't feel like that many people have past me by....

A very pleasant surprise indeed, a new car to redeem from my growing collection of Upoints. However, it didn't appear after I logged back in. Perhaps, a surprise after the update?

Still, a little more work to be completed, before the big change comes....

Clearing up my confusion with The Crew

As with most online games that require or offer updates in an attempt to keep things fresh, patchnotes or an announcement of some kind is usually made to clear up any confusion that a particular community might have concerning that certain game. The Calling All Units for The Crew update is no exception. However, despite being presented in plain English, some things are just not clicking for me.

Taken from this source: Original postings will be in italics, my comments won't.

The Crew Calling All Units Notes

28/11/2016 05:00 PM

It’s time to call all units!

On November 29th, a new expansion will be coming to The Crew and today we’re giving you an in-depth look at the main new elements as well as updates and bugs fixes.

See you soon on the roads!

Okay, let me get a bowl of popcorn and my reading glasses for this. I hope my chair is comfortable enough to sit through all of this....

The Crew Calling All Units Notes

Main elements

  • Crates - New gameplay in Freedrive. As a Street racer, players can see and pick up crates in the world. Once a crate is collected, the player will be chased by the police. By delivering crates, players will be able to win car fragments, and these fragments will allow them to unlock new vehicles.
  • New prologue missions - They introduce the police gameplay, through the eyes of a new character, Clara Washington. Players will be able to learn the new gameplay mechanics from The Crew Calling All Units add-on.
  • Player level increased to 60 - All players will benefit from a new progression system allowing them to reach level 60. Through any activities in the game, players will earn new parts to improve their vehicles through the smart loot system.
  • Bounty - The crates gameplay will introduce players to the Bounty system. The Bounty value reflects the individual skill of a player as a Cop, or as a Street Racer. This Bounty value is also used to determine the reward at the end of a chase. If a player wins a chase against another one, he receives Bucks corresponding to the Bounty of the defeated player, and increases his own personal Bounty.
     Not very clear to me if this only applies to those who have the Calling All UNits update, or if some of this filters down to the other players with only the original game.... 
New content

With Patch 16, the players have the possibility to purchase the new add-on The Crew Calling All Units, who brings new gameplay features and the Police missions and gameplay.

It would seem to mean to me, you need to have purchased the update in order to have fun with the new content, no?

New story missions

In order to help players dive into the new police experience, The Crew Calling All Units will be introducing a new story mode, with a prologue (introduction missions) as well as additional story missions. The Crew Calling All Units prologue is accessible to everyone, after playing The Crew prologue. Police missions are accessible to The Crew Calling All Units owners after completing the prologue. An appropriate vehicle spec will be required to complete those missions – implying having the required player level for this spec. The police missions introduce a new character, Clara Washington, a police driver who needs to arrest a rising gang of Street Racers: the Harvesters.

If I am reading this right, you need to finish the first story, with the 5-10s and Zoe, before moving on to the new police storyline.

Chase gameplay

Players have the possibility to drive different police vehicles, with different specs such as Raid, Monster trucks, Perf, and access different police gameplay features. The main gameplay for police players will be to chase Street Racers and arrest them, using their driving skills as well new special abilities. As a Street Racer, players need to pick-up and deliver crates found all over in The Crew world, while being pursued by Police AI and players.

The chase feature has 2 types of gameplay:

  • Chase when the Street Racer picks up a crate – delivery gameplay
  • Chase when the Street Racer destroys objects – escape gameplay
Police gameplay

As cops, players while have access to the chase gameplay, which starts instantly when a Street Racer picks up a crate. The chases can start seamlessly, if close enough, or through a chase alert.

Different vehicles are available for the police, with different Specs for all kind of terrain. From Perf, Circuit and Street for asphalt, to Raid and Monster Truck for bumpy off-road chases.

As a cop, the main objective of the player is to arrest the Street racers during the chase. In order to do so, the police players need to have the target (Street Racer) in a 30 meter range for 7 seconds. If the Street Racer exits the range within 7 seconds, the arrest timer is reset.

Street Racer gameplay

As Street Racers, players have access to all the crates in the world. Their main objective is to pick-up crates and deliver them to a given destination on the map. Once they pick-up a crate, they will instantly be pursued by police AI as well as police players. If they successfully deliver the crate, they will have a chance to gain the content and rewards of the crate – car parts to unlock new vehicles as well as Bucks and experience. The Street Racers have access to all the vehicles from the game, to adapt their driving to the terrain on their way to the destination. As Street racers, players also have access to a set of abilities to help them escape from Police.

From what I have gathered and accepted from other sources, no update installed, no police cars to drive. However, with all of this talk about Freedrive crates, still some mud in the water for me....

New gameplay abilities

While in a chase, the police players have access to specific abilities to use in order to arrest Street Racers:

  • Speed Hack – This ability breaks the acceleration of any Street Racer in a range of 150 meters.
  • EMP Field - The EMP Field can deactivate the brakes of any Street Racer in a range of 150 meters.
  • Jammer – When used, this ability deactivates all UI items (BreadCrumb, Radar, crew widget, 3D tags etc …) of the target in range.
  • EMP Shock – the EMP Shock makes every opponent in range lose control of their vehicle.
  • Back on target – if the players are too far away from their target, they have the possibility to use the back on target ability to reduce the distance.

As Street racers, the players have access to the following abilities:

  • Flashbang – this ability blinds the cop players and AI in range, and removes their UI elements for few seconds.
  • Unlimitro – gives unlimited nitro to the caster and his support players in range.
  • Guardian – This ability is a protective one, once launched, it will cleanse all the abilities sent by Cops for few seconds.
  • EMP Shock – the EMP Shock applies a single shock to the target and makes the opponent’s car lose control and grip for a few seconds.
  • Back on target for support players – if a support Street Racer (i.e, non-crate holder) is too far away from the crate holder, he has the possibility to use the back on target ability to reduce the distance.
The players have the possibility to choose 2 abilities from the menu before the chase, and also change them anytime during the chase gameplay.

With the way this is written, I am going to maintain the impression that Calling All Units must be installed for any of these features to work.

New vehicles

With the new Calling All Units add-on the players will have access to new vehicles and specs:

  • Nissan GT-R (FS / Perf / Police Perf)
  • Jeep Wrangler (Full Stock / Street / Dirt / Raid / Police Dirt)
  • Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupé (Police Street)
  • Lamborghini Aventador (Police Perf)
  • Ford F-150 (Police Raid)
  • Lamborghini Gallardo (Police Circuit)
  • Abarth 500 (Police Monster Truck)
  • BMW S1000R (Police Perf)
  • Koenigsegg Agera R (Police Perf)
  • Hummer H1 (Police Raid)
  • Pagani Huayra (Police Perf)
  • Ferrari F12 Berlinetta (Full Stock / Perf)
  • Kawasaki GPZ 900R Ninja 1984 (FS / Street / Perf / Circuit)
  • Kawasaki KX450F (Full Stock / Street / Dirt / Raid)
  • Indian Chief Dark Horse (Full Stock / Street / Perf)
  • Ducati Hypermotard (Full Stock / Street / Dirt)
  • KTM 1190 RC8 R (Full Stock / Perf) + RC8 R Track (Circuit)
  • Mercedes AMG GT (Full Stock + Perf) + GT3 (Circuit)
  • Maserati MC12 (Full Stock + Perf) + MC12 Corsa (Circuit) 
This I have figured out, Police vehicles will remain behind the paywall of Calling All Units, the motorcycles are part of the paid Wild Run/CAU content, but the new Mercedes AMG GT and Maesrati MC12?

Handling Updates


The following cars have had their suspension and overall handling refined:

  • Ford GT 2005 (Full Stock / Perf / Circuit)
  • Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera (Full Stock / Perf / Circuit)
  • Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 (Full Stock / Perf)
  • Ford Mustang GT 2011 (Full Stock / Street)
  • 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS (Full Stock / Street)
  • 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT-8 392 (Full Stock / Street)
  • 2013 Nissan 370Z R34 (Full Stock / Street)
  • 1969 Chevrolet Camaro RS (Perf)


  • Handling update for ALL bikes: better turning rate and improved suspension settings.  
Tweaks and re-balances are always to be expected, claimed to be based on statistics and other performance data.

Bug fixes

  • Manual clutch issue: the possibility to force the clutch in manual mode has been fixed.
  • Dashboard issue: some car’s dashboards weren’t properly displayed depending on the time of the day, this has been fixed.
  • The global behavior of traffic AI has been refined.
  • AI police stickers: some AI police vehicles weren’t displaying the proper sticker of their associated region of the USA, this has been fixed.
  • Disabled AI police vehicles: some AI police vehicles were still moving after being disabled, this has been fixed.
  • Frame rate improvement when in a session of 8 players, especially in cities with high traffic density.
  • “Experimental” Award: the award that requires to use all the features of the demo mode in the HQ has been fixed and can now be properly obtained.
  • Players’ names properly displayed in video mode: while using the video mode, players’ names were sometimes inaccurately displayed.
  • Vehicles’ sound properly exposed.
  • Vehicles’ stats are now properly displayed in car dealers, car tuners and HQ.
  • Cars’ interiors were not properly displayed during the short cinematic when leaving the Circuit tuner in Los Angeles.
  • Audio issue: some players weren’t getting their audio options when logging back into the game. This has been fixed. 
Despite many hours of testing and reporting, programming bugs find their way into the system and are caught at a later date (sometimes, they are just ignored, with the thin hope they will just go away on their own....)

The Crew Team

Some additional stuff here:

A few excerpts....
Free Nissan GT-R

As you know, all players who purchased The Crew Wild Run prior to the launch of The Crew Calling All Units will receive for free the Nissan GT-R.

Important note: if you are eligible for this free car, it will be automatically sent to you in-game few hours after the launch of The Crew Calling All Units.
In order to see it, eligible players will only have to logout and log back in.

2 Years anniversary - Lamborghini Huracan & exclusive sticker

To celebrate our 2 years anniversary, all players who played The Crew in December 2014 and January 2015 will received for free the new Lamborghini Huracan as well as an exclusive sticker.

I already know that I will not be getting either one of these cars, since I have only the original game and started a mere 45 days ago.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

The present influences the past

With logging quite a few hours of gameplay in The Crew and using the Cadillac Escalade, I decided to see if I could recreate some of that same action in Need for Speed World. Much to my surprise, I could.

The Battlefield Heroes SUVs were one of the few (if not the only) non-licensed vehicles introduced to World, serving as a crossover promotion for another EA title at the time, Battlefield Heroes.

Available either in Nationals (the light colored variant with a paint scheme reminiscent of a desert/arctic pattern, with driving lights and a missile launcher mounted on the roof) and the Royals (this variant had a green camouflage paint scheme, sporting a front bush bar with additional lights and a machinegun mounted on the roof).

Both were decent performers in Team Escapes, where their size and weight came in very handy for those players who could capitalize on these attributes.

On August of 2012, players received an e-mail from EA that allowed them to redeem codes for a three day rental period for each Battlefield Heroes SUV. However, due to a programming/redemption error, these vehicles became permanent additions to some garages, before a fix was applied.

I never had either one of these vehicles in my garage the first time around (but, my son was one of the lucky few to have both forever, for free), so to better match the Escalade from The Crew, I picked the Royals version, gave it a black paint job and found a Team Escape to try things out on....

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Take Down - Gallardo in Hot Pursuit (2010)

With Calling All Units for The Crew just days away, I thought I would take a quick look back at the Lamborghini Gallardo in other games. 

Of all the cars teased to be available on launch day, only the Gallardo can make the connection to a few previous games where a player can use the same or similar top end car in police livery.

Enter Hot Pursuit 2010. The closest I could match The Crew's LP 570-4 Superleggera from back then was the LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni Edition. While not nearly as potent as some of the other choices from this title, it's still a very capable vehicle for law enforcement tasks....

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Say, want The Crew or other games for free?

Ubisoft is ending the year with the last of their 30th Anniversary promotions with a Holiday Advent Calendar. Each day, starting with November 24th, has a giveaway if you go here, login with your Ubisoft/Uplay account (creating a new one is fairly easy and painless) and open the little doors for the prizes. Here is a list of what to expect (subject to change without notice)....

Day 1: Rayman Classic on mobiles
Day 2: 30% off selected Ubisoft games
Day 3: Exclusive Collection of E3 2016 Cards
Day 4: UBI30 Logo Animation Exclusive GIF
Day 5: For Honor GIFs
Day 6: UBI30 360 Images
Day 7: Just Dance Greeting Card
Day 8: Ubisoft DIY Paper Advent Calendar
Day 9: Steep Wallpaper
Day 10: Exclusive Digital Posters from E3 2016
Day 11: Rabbids Holiday Goodies
Day 12: WWW Wallpaper
Day 13: Ubisoft Cocktails Recipes
Day 14: Assassin’s Creed 3 on PC
Day 15: Ubisoft Wrapping Paper
Day 16: 300 Game Giveaway (300 copies of 3 of the latest Ubisoft titles,1 game per person, first come first serve).
Day 17: Watch_Dogs 2 Wallpaper
Day 18: Ubisoft Gift Tags
Day 19: Ubisoft Dessert Recipes
Day 20: Ghost Recon GIFs
Day 21: Wallpaper for Mobile
Day 22: Prince of Persia on PC
Day 23: Rayman Legends on PC
Day 24: Splinter Cell on PC
Day 25: The Crew on PC
Day 26: Rayman GIF
Day 27: Steep GIF
Day 28: Exclusive 2017 Digital Holiday Cards
Day 29: Ubi30 Wallpaper
Day 30: Ubisoft Holiday Decorations

Although I already have The Crew on Xbox One, collecting a PC copy on Day 25 just might come in handy for future adventures.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Pursuit Special - Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2

I do believe it all started here. Although I had played a few games before that involved a good police chase, Hot Pursuit 2 was the then, new benchmark standard of how I measured games of this genre. Plus, I could play both sides of the law! A great arcade game to play, without having to leave the house with a couple of rolls of quarters (those of you who are old enough know what I am getting at here).

When this title was originally released back in 2002, the Lamborghini Murciélago was still a brand new, real world car on the market, first offered the year before. Public acceptance was rather slow, took years for the Diablo hype to wane from public consciousness (and even then, it never truly went away).

Options ingame were short, only paint choices from a very limited palette and custom tuning was nonexistent. The graphics have held up rather well, looking about the same as on my then-new-to-me home PC, but both would be obviously dated by today's standards....

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

A sneek peek at the new police vehicles from The Crew - Calling All Units

Well, it would seem my hopes appear to have been dashed on laying my hands on a police Lamborghini Murciélago. However, since I don't know nor have found all the details of this pending release, perhaps there is still hope....

The new Police Shop will be in Chicago and upon entering, this will be the screen that appears for the first time for those who will have Calling All Units pre-ordered and ready for launch day.

Here are the choices that are available at launch (subject to change without notice, since there is still a week to go from this posting).

I suppose I could settle for a Gallardo....

Pursuit Special - Test Drive Unlimited

The original Test Drive Unlimited was a turning point for me in gaming for a couple reasons. For one, it was serious investment in time to make any progress through the storymode (the only other games at the time that....demanded that kind of commitment out of me was Final Fantasy X/X2). Secondly, it opened my eyes much wider to the concept of online, multiplayer gaming on a level that I wouldn't have believed possible (I had experienced this on my PC at the time, but since I was playing this on a Playstation 2 game, I was stunned that a console had evolved with this capability).

What impressed me the most was the scale of the game itself. Recreating a real world location (granted, within the limits of the technology of the time and a few creative liberties) like the Hawaiian island of Oʻahu, must have been a huge undertaking for the development team.

And because of that, another fantastic feature was introduced, no limits driving. Unlike previous driving/racing games I played before, the roads were no longer the limited corridors of where I could go. If I wanted to take my high end, virtual exotic car and go off-road and cross-country, I could do just that. That would be some I would see again for many years....

The list of cars for the game was quite impressive (including a few companies that are no longer around, but their models have become modern classics already), the list of options for those cars was short. Paint, rims and interiors was about all a player could change to suit or come close to matching their tastes. Cars themselves could be tuned at certain shops, which specialized in certain marques. Still, an impressive and memorable experience to relive again.

Which brings me to this point, the police action. Like some other games, the police can be baited into a pursuit by colliding with traffic in Free Roam. Then, just watch the mini-map and either wait for their arrival, or go and meet them head on....

Monday, 21 November 2016

Pursuit Special - Need for Speed World and Hot Pursuit 2010

Of all the car racing games I have spent the most amount of time time, the free-to-play Need for Speed World could have been considered my second home. Even with the online servers shut down for over a year now, I still find myself going back and taking in some old sights and singleplayer action.

Customization of vehicles was only limited to a player's skill and time dedication to achieve the look they wanted (the creative liberties were only limited by the imagination). Upgrades could be earned and applied, giving immediate results for the positive or negative. Although the game never achieved a truly completed status, there was more than enough things to do, places to see and tasks to perform that would have allowed the game to be running online to this very day.

Including some police action.

At one point in time, a player could just cruise around and tap a roaming police unit and the chase would be on. I can't remember which update or when it was released that removed this option from the game, but I do miss it. Sadly, if a player wanted a light show from the police in their rearview mirror, a mission has to be selected for the fun to begin.

Perhaps, calling it "participating in insane action" might have been a better phrase for it....

At nearly the same time in 2010 and on the paying part of the spectrum, Criterion Games released a  re-imagined and rebooted version of the classic title Hot Pursuit. Much like their latter Most Wanted, customization was limited to vehicle paint choices and upgrades just didn't exist (although vehicles would be equipped with devices like spike strips and EMPs, those really don't count nor carry over past the missions they are used in). All the cars handled very differently from World, tires lacked serious grip, causing the vehicles to be prone to easy sliding.

The upside. I found my old copy of the game collecting dust in a box and installed it. After locating and restoring my old saved game file, I rediscovered the Lamborghini Murciélago was a select-able vehicle for player use (seems the police would try and counter me with their own version).

The downside....

Pursuit Special - Most Wanted (2012)

Criterion Games re-imagined and rebooted Most Wanted was the last new EA published car game I have played to date (that fits the criteria of this theme). The sparse choices for customization and upgrades was one of the turn offs, another was just how the cars handled. Although I first experienced this interpretation of their physics in re-imagined and rebooted Hot Pursuit, the vehicles were a little more manageable there than here.

Free roam police encounters were possible, just run into a paroling unit and let the fun begin, or continue with the story mode and the law would inject themselves into the action there.

This was one of the titles purchased shortly after the family got the then new Nintendo Wii U, which doesn't save gameplays. However, my son still had this on his PC and advanced all the way to the end. 

One big surprise was the lack of a Lamborghini Murciélago. I could have chosen an Aventador or a Gallardo, but that could have spoiled the continuity I was hoping to establish through the other games I was playing in series. Luckily, they were wise enough to include the legendary Countach....

Pursuit Special - The Crew and Introduction

With the release of The Crew Calling All Units expansion just days away, I thought I would take this inspired opportunity to have a look back at some other games I played that involved some form of police action and racing. Interestingly enough, some titles may or may not surprise you.

However, with these games of yesteryear, I wanted to see if I could find a link to connect them in some way or fashion (other than just me playing them). Here is how I think I could do it....

Enter the Lamborghini Murciélago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce "China Limited Edition", debuting at the Beijing Auto Show in 2010. The grey paint and stripe scheme inspired me to recreate the look in Need for Speed World and now, The Crew.

However, some games won't allow any customization, other than a choice of paint. For those, the Murciélago will wear paint much like the one pictured above.

Believe it or not, there might be a game or two that doesn't have a Lamborghini Murciélago as an available option. In that case, a black Countach, like the one seen in the classic car film, The Cannonball Run, will be used.

Some might wonder why I went with the Countach and the Murciélago. Well, both were very popular "dream cars" of their day for a lot of folks (including this guy right here) and to live that fantasy out in a video game fulfills one of that form of entertainment's purpose.

However, there is another reason behind all of this. With the upcoming release of the Calling All Units expansion, I want to gauge my own skills against artificially controlled police units in different game environments, hopefully to better prepare myself for those that will be player controlled.

The Crew. I recently bought a Murciélago ingame and thanks to the customization options, nearly matched the look of the "China Limited Edition", with a few creative liberties. Here is how I fared with my Performance Spec vs The Law....

Saturday, 19 November 2016

The Dirt Rod

The HotRod HuP One is a free, but hidden car within The Crew, with parts for specific specs located in particular regions of the map. 

Although I acquired the Street Spec version from exploring the Midwest early on in the game, I didn't take any notes or create commentary on that little adventure.

Dirt Spec parts can be discovered fairly easily. In the above picture, I selected the Exploration tab and filtered out car parts I had found on the East Coast. Sometimes I would drive to locations, if they were not too difficult to access, performing skids and stunts to collect some ingame cash along the way.

Other times, I would fast travel and have to use the satellite zoom in function, since the car blended in too well with it's surroundings.

Now this is a real barn find....

....a treasure found in the forest....

....making a withdraw from the river bank (get it?)....

I was shocked to found the last part just outside the fence line (okay, I will stop) at a power transfer station, west of New York. With the collecting completed, now to assemble and test this machine out....

The test was performed in as-assembled condition, no parts or perks were used. My impressions? Well, it's a very quick and light vehicle. Quick in the fact it can get up and go in very short order. Light is in the car feels as if it doesn't have sufficient weight to keep it firmly planted on the road, since the back-end likes to swing out in a hard corner.

The Dirt Rod has a strong novelty factor and I have seen other players display it as a certain right of passage within the game. For any practical purposes, it's too early to tell without upgrades and more driving experience with it.

However, I seriously doubt it will replace my main machine and from what I am reading about the upcoming update, the Escalade could be better suited for those changes.