The Crew (Xbox One) Review
- A huge gaming world that creates a freely explorable representation of the USA - very impressive!
- Geneally good mission and event design
Not So Much?
- Poor handling
- AI that blatantly cheats
- The online portion is negated by the game's own design
The Crew hopes to take the motorsport genre and inject a healthy slice of open world MMO style gaming in to it. But does this Ubisoft title reach its full potential, or is it left stranded by the roadside? The Crew faced some stiff competition at the tail end of the year with both Forza […]
The Crew hopes to take the motorsport genre and inject a healthy slice of open world MMO style gaming in to it. But does this Ubisoft title reach its full potential, or is it left stranded by the roadside?
The Crew faced some stiff competition at the tail end of the year with both Forza Horizon 2 and Driveclub both launching at similar times. The biggest bullet point on The Crew’s “why should I buy” list has to be it’s open world approach that, if game makers Ivory Tower are to believed, will let you drive the entirety of the USA whilst blazing a trail with your buddies online.
Now at least some of that is true with The Crew offering a hugely impressive representation of the United States of America to drive around. Sure, it’s not too scale but who’d honestly want that in anything but a hard core simulation title? The design work that has gone in to reproduce a recognisable USA is so impressive you get easily caught up in the world the developers have crafted for you. Recognisable vista and landmarks are littered throughout the entire map adding a layer of authenticity as well – the map really is that intricate.
So scale comes at a cost usually and it has to be said that The Crew does suffer with a lot of sparsely populated areas and seemingly similar roads and highways to track down. The game also “suffers”, if that’s the right word, with Ubisoft’s new trend of filling a game map until it bursts. Like AC: Unity and Far Cry 4 the in-game events and side-missions are plentiful. For the most part these are “on-street” offerings like a slalom event or timed road section but they do break up the drive from A to B nicely.
The story is practically thrown away, offering no more than a simple vehicle (excuse the pun!) for your multi-state driving adventure. At the heart of The Crew are, in fact, the crews you can form with friends or other online players. You then take your crew in to races all around the USA trying to grind our rep/XP and earning loot-like drops for your expanding collection of cars. These drops will help you tune your vehicle and level it up ready for the next set of races. It’s an odd concept, levelling a car, but it works for weapon levelling in COD/Battlefield so why not on cars?
Engaging as the events are, and there are some well-crafted races and events to take part in, you will quickly lose all perspective of your crew. Unless you’re running with friends there just seems to be no real point to it. Soon you’ll be cruising down the west coast without giving the crew aspect of The Crew another thought. This appears to be primarily due to the fact the game can be played much more efficiently as a single player title in a multiplayer universe. This reminds me hugely of time spent on the Test Drive: Unlimited series which The Crew feels like a natural progression of. That’s hardly a surprise as Ivory Tower contains developers from the now defunct Eden Studios who produced the Test Drive Unlimited series.
Graphically the game is solid if unimpressive. Many have described their first impression of The Crew graphically as a cleaner PS3/X360 game. Where I feel this might be a little unfairly dismissive you can certainly see their point. Textures and card models appear flat, there is little to not “pop” or shine on the car models (which should be the stars of the show!), the character models are stiff and overall there is a last-gen/next-gen straddling look to the whole thing. Put it up against Forza Horizon 2 or Driveclub and it’s clear to see the differences. Allowances need to be made for the fact that The Crew is an open-world title, but then so is GTA 5 and that is considerably better looking.
So the game looks a little dated, the online part is passive and there’s little in the story so what about the real question – the car handling? Sorry to say things are not on the money in this area either. Car handling feels sloppy and at times unresponsive. There is fun to be had cruising around but you will be cursing the poor feel of the vehicles when it comes to the actual races. Also, the AI appears to be either zen-like in their ability to win races or dumber, and slower, than a bag of rocks. As the game progresses it certainly feels like your car’s “level” is far more valued than the real skill of its driver.
The Crew is a solid game. It has some issues, the biggest of these is what does it truly have to offer over the sheer size of the map you play in.
Looks are reasonable if never outstanding. Driving is mediocre and AI opponents are inconsistent to say the least. The actual formation and operation of your crew seems pointless for the most part and it’s a shame that this rich online world is not utilised fully. It offers a stunning backdrop to a single player title that happens to be online as well.
As a fan of Eden’s Test Drive: Unlimited titles I felt very comfortable in their ambitiously crafted world. The scope and scale of what Ivory Tower have attempted should be applauded just maybe not lauded.
For fancy of the older Eden titles I say it’s definitely worth a look. For general racing fans then you’ll be better served by Driveclub or Forza Horizon 2. If you ‘ve finished up those games or are looking to try the slightly unique spin of online racing car MMO then don’t buy in to the masses of negativity that span-up around the early release and Beta.
The Crew has something to offer to casual driving fans as well as those just looking to relax online and cruise a very well crafted game world. There are numorous issues and no doubt you can see on the screen some of the reasons The Crew slipped its release dates yet that game world is one of the most well-crafted I’ve experienced and that alone should be applauded.