The Crew has been out for a little while now, since December 2nd, and that has given me some time to play with it for awhile. I have been hyping this open world racer a lot over the last year especially since I got to take part in some of the betas of the game on the PC and the PS4 thanks to pre-ordering The Crew from Gamestop. You are probably wondering if all the hype for this game is actually worth it. You will definitely get my answer.
The Open World
First and foremost, this is probably the largest game world ever created for a racing game. It will take you a LONG TIME to travel every paved road, non paved road, find cool and unusual sights, etc. The fact that you can go off road as well makes the game world even bigger.
The game’s version of the United States isn’t too shabby. Obviously it is not to scale, but will still take you awhile to drive from coast to coast. I love the fact that the terrain is varied to give it a representation of each different section of the country. You’ve got the plains of the midwest, the swamps of the south, the rocky mountains out west, and the beaches of the pacific coast and more.
Then you’ve also got the major cities. There are at least 14 of them which are New York City, Washington D.C., Detroit, St. Louis, Chicago, Dallas, New Orleans, Miami, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Santa Fe, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle.
The cities are also not to scale, but are still good representations of them. You’ll find the architecture of each city closely resembles their real life counterparts. You’ve got the French Quarter in New Orleans, the White House and U.S. Capital Building in D.C., the rundown industrial areas of Detroit, and the Financial District of San Francisco just to name a few.
Some things though that has me a little disappointed are the highways in some of the cities. I love freeways in the real world (minus the insane traffic in some places) and was quite excited to see how they depicted freeways and expressways in the game.
They are not close to the real world highways, don’t get me wrong though, they do have some big interchanges in some of the cities, but they are mostly just 4 lane freeways and not the huge and wide freeways they should be like they are in the real life cities. Another thing too is that they do not have the many freeway signs that is the norm on highways in cities so you really don’t know what street or highway you are exiting on unless you have the GPS guiding you to some place specific.
One nice thing I will mention though is that once you’ve been to a particular city before, you can fast travel to it such as flying to its airport or even taking a train if it is offered in that city. That definitely will save you plenty of time if you don’t want to drive all the way to a particular city you want to get to.
Something else to add is that the regular traffic in the game is not very high. I can kind of understand this when in the countryside, but in the big cities, I think it should be thicker then what it is. New York City should be bustling with lots of traffic, but sadly parts of it feel like it could be a ghost town.
I do believe that with the sheer size of the huge roaming map, some things just had to be sacrificed, but I think it would’ve been a more realistic touch had the freeways been bigger, overhead freeway signs were added, and traffic in the cities a bit thicker.
Now that the new game systems have been out for a little over a year, expectations have been high for even better graphics than the last generation of systems. There are definitely some games out there that really show the great potential of the graphical power of the PS4 and others that don’t quite get there. I have to say that the graphics for The Crew just don’t make it all the way.
This can be a little understandable as an open world game of this magnitude does take up a lot of resources, but to tell you the truth the graphics look like they could’ve been from the PS3 era.
The textures look a bit dull especially compared to other racing games such as Driveclub for the PS4 or another open world racer called Forza Horizon 2 for the Xbox one. The colors don’t seem as vibrant and sadly there are no weather effects in the game. There is also pop-in at times such as trees and traffic lights popping in suddenly at a certain distance and with the exception of a city’s skyline, the draw distance suffers a little bit as well.
With the exception of the cities and the varied terrain in the game world, some of the scenery tends to look the same mainly when driving through many of the small towns in the game. You’ll see the same fast food restaurant in practically every town you go through in the exact same building as well as repeating billboard signs with pretty much the same message throughout the entire map.
For me, the graphics just barely get the job done in terms of looks for the game, but for anyone looking for spectacular graphics, you will be disappointed as it just does not look next gen. If there is ever a sequel to this game, I imagine they will definitely work on stronger graphics.
Racing and Multiplayer
This is what the developers promised would be one of the greatest aspects of the game, if not in the entire genre itself and what they routinely referred to it as an MMO racing game. I certainly admire their ambitions, but it just does not seem executed well.
You basically level up in this game to get new car parts, money, and vehicles very similar to a regular RPG game. It certainly does take a long time to build up the money you need to buy the faster vehicles, not to mention the different parts you may want to add to it later on. I do like the fact that with the many different challenges and missions in the game you can customize your car to fit whatever challenge you are doing. Say for example you are doing an off road mission and it requires you to drive a class of vehicle that handles off road driving. You can customize your car with the parts and accessories that are necessary to have better handling when racing out in the open country, same with street racing and more.
There are many different kinds of challenges and missions in the game that range from things such as getaways in which you are trying to escape from the cops and you have a time limit, takedowns where you have to hit a vehicle off road and damage it, and of course races. There are also random challenges you’ll encounter in the open road such as how many barrels you can hit in a certain time, highest jump you can do, fastest time, etc that will you keep busy.
There is a main story mode in which you’ll be working for the FBI to infiltrate and take down a nationwide and illegal racing organization. Once you start the story mode, you’ll get to see why your character is tasked with helping the FBI with this. The story can take you anywhere from 30-60 hours to complete.
This is also where the game wants you to form a crew and multiplayer comes in. You and three other game players can form a single crew to take on the different missions and challenges. Trust me, you will want to do this since the missions can be quite difficult to do by yourself because the AI is very challenging in this game.
An unfortunate thing with the AI is that it seems no matter what vehicle you have, upgraded level you are at, or added parts and customization you have on your vehicle, the computer controlled AI always is faster and you can never get a very good distance away from the computer controlled cars. You never get that true sense of speed when racing because of this and it can be quite frustrating especially on some of the missions because some take quite awhile to complete. Again, this where it comes in handy to form a crew with other players because it becomes easier to complete missions.
It can sometimes be hard to form a crew on your own with random strangers because once you start a mission and choose co-op play, you have to wait until someone decides to join with you to do the missions and they may not always be helpful. This is why it is better to have friends or other acquaintances you know and can count on to develop a strong crew and take on other crews and missions or other challenges.
The Crew is definitely an arcade racing game as the handling can take some getting used to if you prefer more realistic driving in other racing games, but I would not say it is as responsive as in some other open world driving games. Some people like the handling and I don’t mind it while others hate it, but you can try sport and hardcore modes if you want to try a more challenging handling from the vehicles.
Overall, I am glad that I spent the $60 for The Crew as I love the open world aspect of it. It just beckons to be explored to see what you can find out there and it can sometimes surprise you. The different parts of the terrain and the major cities just give it that feel to me that I am on a road trip which is something I love doing in real life whenever I can get the chance. I love driving through the mountainous regions in the game to get to Los Angeles or Seattle.
The disappointing part comes from the racing and graphics. It just does not look next gen to me especially compared to some of the other racers that are out and you will get very frustrated with the unfair AI especially when you get the higher class vehicles in the game and length of time it takes for you to save up money to even get those cars. It can also be disappointing when other players have no desire to join with you on co-op missions thus making the missions harder to do solo and you always have to have an internet connection to play the game at all as it automatically logs you onto the game servers of Ubisoft when you first start.
As an open world game you should buy it as it is just fun to explore and drive around in especially with other players when you are not doing the main story mode. As strictly a racer, you may want to look elsewhere as you may get more frustrated with the racing aspect of the game and some glitches that can occur from time to time. I give it three out of five stars.
Best Place to Buy The Crew
There have been several expansions since the original game’s release. There’s The Summit expansion and the most recent one, Calling All Units. The best place to buy this game that includes the current expansions is at Amazon for the price of $49.99. With all the expansions and car packs, you just can’t beat it at that price especially since it is below the original cost of the game when it was first released. Click below and pick it up today if you already don’t have a copy.