The open world racing game genre is relatively new and has been popularised by Test Drive Unlimited and more recently the Xbox One’s Forza Horizon 2. Ubisoft thought it would give the genre a try with The Crew and although the ambitions are noble, the game turns out to be a total car wreck.
Let’s start off by saying what’s good about The Crew and that’s the urban landscape of the USA. Ubisoft created a truncated version of the USA that includes the cities of New York, Los Angeles and everything in between. You can drive in the city, countryside or even in the dirt and desert.
Obviously the entire USA map was no recreated in full, but The Crew is still a very large game. It is easily one of the biggest maps ever created in a racing video game before. It’s quite liberating to be able to just drive around the explore everything that this game has to offer.
The one other good thing about The Crew is the number of objectives that you can do. There’s more to the game than just straight up racing. There are police chases, car chases and even stunt jumps that you will have to do. There are also numerous online challenges that you can do with against other players from around the world. The game offers hours of content here that can keep you occupied for many days or even months.
With the good stuff is out of the way, it’s now time to elaborate on all the things that The Crew doesn’t get right. One of the more annoying things about the game is that you have to come first in every race that you do. In other racing games, a third or second place finish is sufficient enough for you proceed to the next race. Trying to come in first place all of the time will make you pull your hair out.
Coming first in every race is even harder mainly because there are a number of outside factors that prevent you from achieving this easily. The AI is unforgiving and usually uses NOS or speeds up in the last second to cross the finish line before you do. Since The Crew is set in urban American cities, you can also expect to crash into oncoming traffic too.
The chases in The Crew are even more relentless. Getting away from police cars and helicopters is insanely difficult. Even if you slow down for more than one second, they can arrest in a second or two. Getting out of their range becomes a mission on its own with traffic again in your way yet again.
There are times you have to chase and bash other cars, and this is just as difficult as the aforementioned police chases. The AI cars you have to chase are very fast and you always have a time limit on your back too. If you cannot bash a car hard and fast enough, it’s game over.
Another bad thing about this game is its progression. You can unlock other races in a decent amount of time, but this game isn’t generous at giving you money. I played the game for several hours and still didn’t even have enough money to spend on a decent car. I just used the first car I bought in the game and tuned it up instead. They made the cars expensive for no reason in this game which is very disappointing.
The last bad thing about The Crew is its reliance on online play. Even if you want to play the game by yourself, you have to connect to the online servers to play it. This is annoying as sometimes the servers are down and you cannot play the game at all. Even if you want to co-op with an online player, the game usually fails to find other players. The matchmaking process needs to improve as there was numerous times the game failed to find other players for me to play with.
On paper, The Crew sounded like a revolutionary new step for the racing game genre. Sadly, the game itself failed to deliver on many areas. The core gameplay is just far too frustrating to call it “fun”.