(http://thecrew-game.ubi.com/portal/en-nordic/home/index.aspx) Rated T by ESRB The Crew is the most subtly patriotic game I’ve ever played. In your vehicle, as long as you’re driving some speed above 0, you can knock over telephone poles, fences, and push other cars into the sky. But you cannot destroy any American flagpole in The Crew. Either this stands for Patriotism, or it just shows how inconsistent and mediocre the physics and gameplay can be. Unfortunately, the only thing The Crew is able to deliver consistently, is a sub-par open world driving experience.
The Crew’s biggest appeal here is the size of its game map. There are some 6,000+ miles that players can drive on, and it will take about 45 minutes to drive from coast to coast in the game’s version of the United States. While it may seem like The Crew’s main appeal is that of the multiplayer aspect, The Crew actually caters very well to the singleplayer audience as well. There’s a main campaign, tons of mini-games, races, and other events plays can participate in solo. Missions or races can be played solo, with friends, people in your “crew” (or party), or you can search online for matchmaking for missions. Everything is very accessible in The Crew, it just feels overwhelming at times. For every mission you complete your screen will be bombarded with an experience points gauge, the amount of cash you’ve earned, parts you’ve earned, a picture of your car and it’s ranking, it’s just too much that does too little. While The Crew may have a big game map, filled with a variety of terrains , cities, and activities for players to do, The Crew fails to make any of this very fun.
The Crew is available on Xbox One, PS4, PC, and Xbox 360, which does classify it as a Cross-gen game. It is one of the least visually pleasing retail games I’ve ever played on my PS4. The graphics look very dated, and the damage models are some of the worst I can remember. No matter what you hit, at whatever speed, your car will sustain the same damage model. For example, if you hit a car straight head on, it will have the same damage effect as if you were to hit a tree head on, there’s absolutely no differentiation. All the scrapes your car takes makes it look like someone sprinkled silver on it, and doesn’t actually look like damage. Not that you’ll notice too much of this, since your car will awkwardly repair its scrapes and damages as you drive. The Crew isn’t an ugly game, but there are easily better looking racing games out there, and even more detailed ones that I would argue appeared on the last generation of consoles.
Given that The Crew is an open world racing game, you can expect to find the usual gameplay elements here. There’s a wide variation of races and mini games to participate in, car parts and accessories you can use for performance or visual upgrades, a wide variety of terrain to drive on, and easily accessible online matchmaking game modes. As you level up your vehicle and gian your experience, you can unlock specific tuning specs for your vehicle, so that it will be able to handle a wide variety of events. These specs are full stock, street, dirt, performance, raid, and circuit. This was my favorite feature of The Crew, since it meant that you could use any vehicle for any race essentially. Although it still made more sense to use trucks for off road and street cars for race, but the concept alone was very cool. The Crew does feature a single player campaign story, but the story is lackluster at best and basically just provides a vehicle to bridge races and events together. The biggest turnoff for me though, was the driving mechanics in The Crew. The cars all handled very awkwardly, and only became tolerable after turning driver assist off. No matter what vehicle I was in, the handling of the vehicle never felt natural or even fun to me. They felt almost glued to the road, I let a few of my friends try out The Crew and they agreed the vehicle handling was just off in general. The game is also riddled with bugs to mess up your driving experience. I brushed up against a wall and it shot my vehicle up in the air, my vehicle would randomly get stuck in some weird situations, and then physics and AI of other drives would just cause me to shake my head. The AI of the other cars on the road is utterly reckless and silly. Cops would run through other drivers, miss your car by wide margins, and pedestrian vehicles would sometimes just drive straight through obstacles on the road. There are lots of YouTube videos of the AI doing silly things in The Crew if you don’t believe me. The physics of The Crew I’ve mentioned already before, but multiple times I would drive head on into another car, only to appear brushing up the side of it instead. Another time I hit my back end of a car against a tree and the collision bounced my car back around, as if I had run into a rubber tree or something. The flaws of The Crew hinder the driving experience to some degree, but since the driving experience isn’t very good to begin with, the bugs actually give the player some entertainment and humor while playing the game.
The Crew’s massive map and “gang” styled online racing community was a very appealing factor to me, it’s just a shame that the end product was so poorly executed. The Crew is very much a playable racer with a massive open world and some neat car customization, but the driver AI is inconsistent, the basic driving mechanics are awkward and un-enjoyable, and the buggy physics are humorous instead of being detailed and effective. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend the Crew to any fan of racing games, because so many other games do it much better, such as Forza Horizon and Need For Speed.