Developers: Ubisoft Reflections, Ivory Tower
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Reviewed on PS4
THE Crew is a massive and unique experience that is more than a racing game, yet also less.
Though true, the entirety of the gameplay is spent in a vehicle, in this instance the racing genre has been used as a canvas on which to paint a Massively Multi-player Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) instead.
From the off it is made clear that your car is your avatar in the world and to improve it you need to earn experience, unlock parts, equip perks and spend hard earned cash on a bigger and better model.
Money and experience is sparse in The Crew’s rendition of the US, perhaps to pad the available gameplay hours or encourage the player to spend real money on upgrades, this does not seem necessary; the game world is huge as it is and around every corner there’s a new and easily accessed challenge to lure the player on.
Also, due to some unbalanced revenge A.I., improving your car does not provide the expected benefits.
After several hours of play, the motivation to continue comes less from the need to grind and more the thirst to explore.
The open world on offer is not beautiful, it’s barely pretty, this doesn’t especially matter when cruising past at 200mph but when slowed down it is easy to notice the seams between the textures.
It is still a nice place to explore and going on a 30 minute road trip, watching the scenery change has a satisfying awe to it.
motivation to continue comes less from the need to grind and more the thirst to explore.
Aside from the huge map, the second major selling point of The Crew is its multi-player features.
There are constantly other drivers on the roads and all missions offer an option to take them on with up to three others as a ‘Crew.’
The multi-player adds another layer of competitiveness to the recipe but it doesn’t change anything about the core mechanics of the game, it functions just fine as a single-player experience.
Despite how the game doesn’t actually rely on multi-player, it is forced on anyone who chooses to pick up the game.
Anyone without an online connection will be trapped in the start menu, that’s right, as an ‘always online’ game The Crew locks out anyone without Xbox Live/Playstation Plus and/or a stable internet connection.
This was a poor choice as the multi-player is not an integral mechanic, it also means that if there’s a server error or loss of connection, the player is instantly kicked to the start menu.
This happened three times in our play through, not a deal breaker, but still annoying.
The campaign mode follows a clichéd story about revenge but this is purely tacked on to what The Crew is offering, here it is all about the journey, not the destination.
That said, a roadtrip needs some good tunes to listen to and the soundtrack here is painful, few tracks are recognisable and most of it sounds like the looped music on DVD menus.
The Crew’s impressive world is great for exploration and developing on the way, but there is definitely more of a focus on quantity over quality.
Try if you like:
Burnout Paradise – Google Earth