04th Dec2014

‘The Crew’ Review – Initial Thoughts (PC)

by Paul Metcalf


The Crew is out and people from all over the world are filling up the roads and forming their little groups, trying to make their impact in the world of racing “MMO”.  I’m more of a solo gamer though, a loner who would rather enjoy the game at my own pace, so why would I bother with a game that wants you to be social? Well Ubisoft may not like it (or maybe they planned it this way), but The Crew really isn’t that much of an MMO at all, or doesn’t push you to play it as one anyway.

That’s not to say that the game is a failure, far from it.  It has a huge map, making the gamer feel like they have a scaled down version of America to race around.  There aren’t any fences stopping you from just driving your car all the way from Detroit (your starting position) all the way to Los Angeles, though the challenges you’ll find tend to hint at the skill level of the areas you find yourself in.  The only times you need to concentrate on those though is if you want to upgrade your car and build up your level.  Building up experience and upgrading your car is one of the most enjoyable parts of the game.

If there is one weakness in the car building though it is the lack of real push to buy new cars.  After purchasing your first car there is a feel that with the levelling up and upgrading of it, why would you want to start again? I’m sure when I’m less focused on game progressing this feeling may change, but I have no real need to change my car at this time, as it is quite a beast.

In writing this I’m not writing a full review simply because I’m nowhere near seeing the whole game.  I’ve made my way to the East Coast right now, and I’ve finally got my “Ink”, meaning I’ve infiltrated the gang I’m going to take down for the FBI, and for those interested in the story don’t expect anything too spectacular, this is on par with Need for Speed: Most Wanted (the 2005 one) though you are not a cop, more of a racer looking for revenge for the murder of your brother.  This is done by advancing in power through the gang you are infiltrating then taking down corrupt members of the FBI and the gang leader he is affiliated with.

At this point I’ve put in around ten hours of gameplay and I’m at level 16, fully realising I have a long way to go, which is a sign of a good game as I’m yet to tire of the grind of improving my character and his vehicle.  I have noticed though that the further in I’m getting the longer the races are becoming.  Coming off one just played that lasted about thirty minutes I do know that these style of races are going to get even longer, and this is reminiscent of Test Drive Unlimited, which is no surprise as Ivory Tower the developers of The Crew include people from Eden Games who also developed that game. The Crew is on a much larger scale though and has elements of other games such as Criterion’s Burnout and of course Need for Speed, but the important thing is that the game’s most impressive element is the ability to explore and most importantly drive.

I’m a gamer who likes the Ubisoft style of gameplay, this means there are maps full of side missions, plenty of collectables and of course the towers (or in this case communication stations) to discover and activate.  There are times when it is just as much fun to find landmarks in the game or the communication centres instead of doing story missions.  It is fun knowing that is plenty to do in the game, and the fact that I’m yet to discover most of the map is an incentive to keep going.  There is plenty still to be done.

Looking at the negative side of the game, you can’t ignore the failings of the MMO element.  Remembering that this is a game called The Crew it seems strange that you really aren’t forced to join with other players, it feels more like a choice.  As a solo player though I’m not sure if this is a bad thing? I see other human racers racing around the map, I do have the choice to join them and I probably will sooner or later, but there is no rush to play the game as multiplayer at all really.

Playing on the PC I can’t really comment on how stable the game is on Playstation 4 or Xbox One, but for the most part my game has kept connected, and for the most part only found the servers down for a planned shutdown that was warned about by Ubisoft through the game.  This is of course something that could change as more people play the game, and really this review only looks at my initial thoughts, once I’ve reached a certain point I’m fully intended to write my thoughts on the game as a whole, and online experience will be a factor.  I’m not a fan of games that HAVE to be online as I know the problems they can have.  Thankfully I’m yet to find these problems with The Crew.

As a Solo player and based on how much of The Crew I’ve played I can say with confidence that I’m enjoying myself so far and there is a lot of potential in there.  The story isn’t the strongest and as the challenge increases I’m sure my views may change, especially on time constraints applied within the game.  As races get longer there is a certain endurance aspect that is going to come into gameplay, but this is to be expected as the game makes full use of the world it’s created.  For the most part from what I’ve experienced in the game I’m definitely a fan of The Crew.

**** 4/5

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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