|System: Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PC*|
|Dev: Ivory Tower|
|Release: December 2, 2014|
|Players: 1 (2+ Online)|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Language, Mild Blood, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence|
by Angelo M. D'Argenio
Welcome to our review of The Crew, a primarily multiplayer online racing game. Bear in mind we have only had limited time with the game, and the game also requires a lot of other players to really get the full experience… and I have no friends. So these impressions are limited in scope, as the game will likely evolve as more and more people join and populate the servers. But this is what we think of The Crew so far…. It makes you feel like you don’t have friends. Oh, and it’s a pretty fun racing game to boot.
The Crew is basically a driving movie simulator. Your goal is to find a group of top notch drivers in order to take on action packed missions in locales all across the U.S. It isn’t a straight racing game, although you’ll have plenty of racing objectives, usually hovering around beating a certain racer or time on a certain stretch of road. Like most “racing” games these days, the game is littered with a lot of other objectives that would please fans of high octane driving movies, such as running from the cops, chasing down rival drivers, and so forth. There’s practically everything except for big heist chases, and as I said before I haven’t seen the whole game yet, so maybe I will see them too eventually.
The U.S. is your driving ground, though it is considerably scaled down from the actual size of the country. Though, the ability to basically race in whatever locale you want is pretty cool. The game also has a fast travel system that allows you to get to exactly where you need to be without taking the time to drive through a field of daisies or whatever other motorized fantasy you have when it comes to cross country road trips. Being able to just drive around where you like is cool but, unfortunately, at the beginning of the game there isn’t a whole lot to do in places other than your starting location. This is all because of the game’s mission based structure.
As you complete missions in one location, missions in new locations open up. You can get a feel of the map just by driving around, but to actually progress you’ll have to take on a challenge and complete it to the best of your ability.
On the whole this system works well. Simply find a mission, complete it, lather rinse repeat to burn rubber across the U.S. However, there are points when the mission grind does get to be a bit much. Certain missions take a very long time to complete, sometimes coming close to an hour or more, and if you end up failing, that can be exceptionally frustrating. It also feels as if there are just a bit too many missions required to unlock activities in new locations, though maybe I have exceptionally little patience for unlocking things. I always wanted to try something new rather than driving the roads I always drove before.
Another interesting thing about the game is that a lot of missions are built for multiplayer play. This is what I mean when I say the game makes me feel like I have no friends. Running from the cops is enhanced by having other players to distract your pursuers. Chasing down a target allows players to work together in much the same way you would to take down a huge raid boss in an MMO, just with more cars and gasoline.
Unfortunately, if you don’t have a friend group ready and willing to play with you, The Crew can be a lonely place. Pickup games are really hard to find, and depending on when you play it can be hard to even contact random players. Not to mention these random players almost always have their own crews already picked out, and are well on their way to doing missions you haven’t even gotten close to yet. There is a sort of thrill to bringing a group of friends to tackle a hard mission and all of you getting the rewards afterward, but that thrill is significantly reduced if you play the game alone.
Not to mention, as I said before, many missions last for an incredibly long period of time, so even if you do manage to get your crew online you can usually tackle one long mission, or two or three short missions at once. This means that you pretty much progress through the game at a snail’s pace if play it the way it is meant to be played.
And you feel the loneliness if you try to tackle the game alone. The game is outstandingly hard if you are driving solo. It feels a lot like trying to take on one of the raid bosses in Borderlands alone. All of your opponents are super-fast and hit their nitrous at just the right time to take you out. When friends are working together, the A.I. just can’t keep up, but alone it feels almost superhuman, and this can be discouraging. Of course, if you are a psycho like me who LIKES soloing raid bosses, you might get a kick out of it.