The Crew Review
Ambitious projects are always given lots of fan fare, but when they fail to deliver the review scores reflect that. The Crew is one of these projects. While driving across America sounds really amazing, the people over a Ubisoft just couldn’t make it all work, giving us an adequate-bordering-on-good, albeit frustrating, racing experience.
A Story in a Racing Game?
One of the things The Crew has going for it is actually the story. While overall it isn’t breaking any major boundaries, it gets off to a great start. Unfortunately, the story becomes secondary to driving across America and essentially doing the same things over and over again, but Ubisoft grips players early with how things pan out. It’s a story of crooked cops, a murdered brother, and so much more. The story starts off on a high, and probably would have great throughout had this been a much shorter experience.
The Crew was definitely on my radar the second Ubisoft announced it. After all, who doesn’t want to drive coast to coast across America, from the historic Atlantic Northeast to the sunny beaches of Southern California. For the most part, The Crew delivers on this promise. If you drive from one side of America to the other, you feel the changing scenery, and it more or less is accurate to the actual geography. Unfortunately, games still have parameters.
Certain cities aren’t actually located where they should be, and I finished the game wondering if they should have created a fictional world with cities modeled after Detroit, New York, Chicago and so on rather than attempting to recreate the United States. Despite minor issues, you still get the feel of the “Great American Road Trip” and it is something Ubisoft should be complimented on.
It’s Not Forza
I’m not here to argue that The Crew and Forza must be similar. In fact, I like a variety in the racing genre. Forza Horizon 2, a direct competitor to The Crew, looks good, handles good, and sounds good. The Crew on the other hand, looks OK, handles OK, and sounds OK. The story in The Crew – at least the beginning little bit – is worlds better than Forza’s, but that’s about it. One of the most annoying things not found in other racing games are the odd cut scenes that set up each race or driving event. In most games you get the 3-2-1 countdown, but in The Crew, each event seems to begin with a cut scene of you beginning to take off.
For real car lovers, not just video game racer fans, the cars need to looks great, handle accurately, and sound amazing. I never got that feeling from The Crew, although it should be noted that this is more of an arcade racer. Still, that’s no excuse for the disappointing visuals. The cars look alright, but the environment is often bland. The countryside is definitely more appealing than the city, but neither seems to match the visuals of other racing games that launched in 2014.
Regardless of the issues, The Crew gives players a good assortment of cars, great environmental variations that keep things fresh, and enough of a difficulty curve to keep things interesting. No one wants to plow through every race finishing first with ease, and not one wants to get to the point of quitting out of frustration. The car updates / customization’s are pretty neat, especially as car deconstructs and then reconstructs right in front of your eyes.
Please Do it Again, Ubisoft!
Despite all the issues I had with the game, if Ubisoft announced The Crew 2 where players drive across Europe, I’m in 100%. I think Ubisoft has learned a lot from this experience and can only improve on the unique formula they have created. Forza is a slice of Europe, The Crew is all of the United States. If you find a copy of The Crew on discount, it is probably worth a bit of your time. Even if the driving and visuals are not what you expect, the experience and appreciating what Ubisoft set out to do is still quite astounding. They should be praised for that.
Racing Fans: Buy Later