The Crew Review (Xbox One)

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When Ubisoft announced The Crew it grabbed a lot of attention due to how ambitious it sounded. A racing game set in a gigantic world with the ability to form crews and tackle challenges together is something that we don’t get often.

It’s really difficult to pull off open world racing games and since Ubisoft is so good at creating suchgames, did they create a living breathing world where the player can get lost in?

First things first, The Crew gives you tons of things to do. The moment you are put in the game, you are simply overwhelmed with the amount of things happening around you. The chase, the humongous maps, trying to find the right path to take, everything can be seriously overwhelming and in a way it can be  incredibly exciting as well.

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It’s an online only game and the decision to do that is suspect because apart from the ability to form crews, there’s nothing really in the game that can justify that decision. While the online experience is generally very solid but if you manage to get a disconnection expect to lose tons of progress. Hopefully, that shouldn’t be a big issue.

It’s easy to see the reasoning behind this game’s concept. Creating a huge open world game, and by huge, I mean accurately constructed vast areas filled with subtle details and giving you numerous things to do at your leisure is something a driving fan would love.

You basically have the entire continental US at your disposal. From numerous cities with unique flavor and the ability to drive in various countryside locations and considering the fact that you have a 4 player co-op option as well it becomes an exciting journey that you will never forget.

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Of course, there’s a story mode in the game. It’s not special, really. I mean, there’s very few racing games out there with a meaningful storyline but you can expect hollywood-esque chases and people giving you objectives which basically tells you to drive like a madman. And you can do that in this game.

You start off in a basic looking car which you can upgrade as the game progresses. The vehicle selection is not that great and you would require tons of credits to purchase an exotic car. There’s an option for using real money and unless you are rolling in some mad cash in real life, it’s really not worth it to buy it. But hey, you know how people can be, right?

The ability to upgrade and customize your car is great and you need to be at a certain level to hope to stand a chance at some of these missions. The AI is quite aggressive and sometimes no matter how well you drive you simply can’t win due to the rubberbanding effect that seems to be prevalent in most racing games. The game is a pure arcade racer and the open world is so dynamic that you don’t really have to stick to the road to reach your destination, but the AI will.

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Since the game is only on the next-gen consoles and PC, I think it was easy for the developer to pull of such an astonishing feat of creating this massive world. The graphics are not eye-melting but you can really appreciate the subtle details if you look hard enough. There are so many varied locations in the game that it never feels stale to drive for long periods of time.

In fact there’s mission in this game that require you to drive for hours in a row. It can be pretty stressful but as someone who has done those endurance races in Gran Turismo, zooming past the different locations of this game seem a lot more enticing than just going round in a circle. It will take you a lot of time to see and do everything this game has to offer. There is a baffling amount of content here.

It’s a really atmospheric game, some of the locations you will go to are simply breathtaking to look at especially during sunset. There are a lot of camera options for you to choose from. I personally believe for such games a cockpit view camera won’t let you take in the sights and sounds properly but it’s nice that we have options.

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The car handling can be rough at times but since my collection wasn’t that extensive I got used to driving the cars I had. The game also features certain mechanics similar to the Assassin’s Creed games of unlocking the map.

You cannot see the whole map in the beginning and in a way that makes sense. It’s better to explore certain sections and learn the layout before venturing forward in the story. There are a lot of optional missions you can do as well.

The Crew is an extremely ambitious game. However, the car selection, handling, and the presence of an always online requirement, really takes some shine off the game. It’s a great achievement though but it could’ve been a lot better. Right now along with Forza Horizon 2 it’s one of the best driving games money can buy.

Score

8/10