The Crew is a revolutionary action-driving MMO that offers a huge open world which is a compressed but ambitious version of the United States. Exploring and racing across a wide range of biomes is hugely rewarding and something you won’t get tired of. Add on top of that tons of activities, luxury cars , PvP, excellent visuals and soundtracks from very well known artists like Arctic Monkeys. The Crew has been developed by Ivory Tower in collaboration with Ubisoft Reflections.
There’s genuine accomplishment in this title: The world and the environments. The map is not 1:1 scale of the United States, but it is so huge that 40 hours of normal gameplay won’t be enough to explore half the map. That is how huge the world is. It manages to thematically realize each region of the country in a realistic manner with a world that feels alive. You will find trains, planes, cars, pedestrians, trucks, cops, and the lists goes on. The attention to detail will let you enjoy abandoned houses in deserts that each look totally different, people have different accents according to the state they are in, landmarks can be found throughout the map and provide you with real-life facts about those destinations, long and scenic highways connecting major cities built to to enjoy the game’s highest-performance super cars and you can even experience mountains and valleys for you to use your trucks. There is so much detail and content in the game that it is simply impossible to cover, and do you know what that means? Playtime. This is not a game able to be rushed in 6 hours, it’s a game that begs you to be explored.
The story is not amazing or impressive but at least it has one. Can you remember any good racing game with a memorable story? me neither. Your brother has been killed in a fake deal, you are blamed and sent to prison for 5 years because of a corrupt cop and then you get a deal to work as an undercover FBI agent, racing and building your crew, creating connections with criminals and doing illegal stuff in order to get the top bad boys. As I said, it isn’t a story full of breath-taking twists, but it is a decent one to fuel a racing game, based on revenge and able to hook you up at least 10 hours and teach you the basics.
The Crew features five regions: the East Coast, the South, the Midwest, the Mountain States and the West Coast. Each of them favor different types of tracks corresponding to a different “specialization” you can tune your car to and this specialization completely transforms the feel of game. This allows you to swap between street, stunt-jump, off-road buggy and super-technical stock racer types. All of them feels drastically different and each one also feels pretty great although getting used to all of them takes practice, let alone mastering them.
If you think specializations are not enough, The Crew also offers one an upgrade system. Each car has a “Car Level,” which is boosted when you equip a part that can either buy or win in the story missions or challenges. Every part has a specific effect on your car, increasing its acceleration, braking and so on — but all those statistics are reflected by a single figure, the Car Level. This helps you decide which part to hunt next, if you will have a trouble beating a challenge or mission (all of them have car level recommendations) and you can easily compare yourself to your opponent for, you know, bragging rights.
It’s a brilliant system designed more for RPG enthusiasts who have been flirting with the driving genre, not for car geeks. The upgrade system won’t get you a realistic feel, it is something designed to be enjoyed by everyone, and this is where some of the bad critics come from. The only realistic thing The Crew has to offer is it’s world. The game is not a pure racing game, it is not something that will make you feel inside a real car or tune every single piece. The core game invites you to beat missions, get parts, level up and keep improving. When it starts to feel like a grind, it makes you switch regions and practice a different kind of game for you to master. This keeps the experience fresh.
The Crew gives you a huge amount of Crew Credits early in its campaign to familiarize you with their raw purchasing power, but they won’t last long enough and the only way to get more is by spending real money. You will find yourself grinding in-game bucks to buy new type of cars that will be needed when you unlock a new region You can either grind by doing all sort of activities or by buying them with real money. This is a system weird for a game that was $59,99 on release, not free to play with micro-transactions, but that is how it is.
From a racing simulation point of view, the game lacks in various areas such as handling, physics, shifting, you get the idea. This is not a game for car geeks that would expect an advantage from people with little to no knowledge of brands and car types. From an action-driving MMO point of view, The Crew meets every single criteria you would expect from an AAA game: a huge world with tons amount of activities to perform and PvP, an RPG system to level up and keep improving and customizing your experience, different regions with different types of cars, amazing visuals and a wide range of soundtracks to bump up the experience. The level of details is, as mentioned above, ridiculous. When you are in a racing game where you can hear different people with different accents based on the region you are in, you know there will be tons of stuff to do.