O.K. Let’s get one thing straight from the start. This is not a driving simulator like Forza 5 or Gran Turismo. This fits more into the category of Forza Horizon meets GTA meets Need For Speed….and unfortunately… it simply steals aspects of all these arcade games and tries to make it their own.
So the game starts off putting you in a Ford F150 with some serious grunt and running from the fuzz. But this power is short lived once you escape from the police and change cars.playing as Alex Taylor (The voice actor is the same guy from Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and sounds like the guy from ‘Saints Row The 3rd ‘), you are apparently the best driver in the city but are not part of the “5-10” crew that every other hardcore racer is part of. You are then asked by your brother to do a job for him that eventually gets you thrown in the slammer for a few years.
I understand driving games struggle to make things original these days, but please…. At least try an original storyline. A wrongfully accused innocent driver of his brother’s murder to then seek revenge??? Please….. Give the 1970’s TV their storyline back. Then they simply bought back the cheesy “only in the movies” storyline of an “FBI agent wanting a criminal to help her catch a crooked CIA agent and the murder of his brother”….. That has not been original since the 70’s either.
Moving on from the terrible storyline I have to say the controls have a lot to be desired. With the awful manual shifting control of using the look control (right analog stick) to go up or down, mixed with the “boost” button from pretty much every Need For Speed game this century, I’m failing to see, once again, anything new in this game. So let’s move on.
The actual driving itself, Well… It’s fun. And very easy. I would put it in the category of Need For Speed again but from the Playstation 2 era, where simply flooring it into the corner and hitting the foot break lets you go into a perfect drift, which gets you around the corner much faster than actually breaking…. Because in a game… real world physics have no place.
As the story progresses you are greeted before and after every race with a cut scene helping the story along. A good way to immerse you in the conversation with your crew and even the people you are trying to hunt, but it gets a bit much when every time you crash into something with considerable force, it throws you to a slow motion cut scene. At first it was cool to see how badly you crashed into the train, bus, truck, or oncoming car, but when you are at the end of a 9 minute race and you get the cut scene because you hit a pole… all it does is makes you go into a controller rage and want to throw it at the screen.
I don’t want to just smash this game to pieces. there are good things about this game. The graphics of the cut scenes are actually quite clean. The detail of the cars are good in the cut scenes, but that’s where it ends. during the races they just aren’t clear as they try to emulate the “go fast blur”. and to top it off there simply aren’t enough cars to choose from.
Licensing is always an issue and generally costs a pretty penny to get all the manufactures on board, and it looks like the crew had those issues. But we still get a good 60 cars to choose from and I’m sure in the coming months they will release premium cars for us to spend even more money on even though we already spent almost a hundred dollars buying the game in the first place.
There are a heap of different race types from Street, Dirt, Performance, Raid, and Circuit. In the beginning you only have access to the street races, and as you progress through the single player story, the other race types are unlocked. One thing I didn’t like was as this is a purely online game… you can’t jump into a race with your mates who are well ahead in the story until you get that far through it. It’s a flaw. Especially with a game, as I’ve said before, that relies on the fact it’s supposed to be MMO. i understand that there are car levels and all that but surely opening the PVP straight away would have worked as well.
The career navigation needs work. I had often found myself finishing a race, waiting for the phone call from the FBI agent or someone else and nothing would happen. Then I had to open the map, and find some out of the way obscure race that for some reason I missed and had to drive 10 minutes to get to it. It doesn’t flow very well.
The little games (or “skills” as they call it) like the Distance Jump and Slalom or Smash The Targets certainly help pass the time during the very long road trips from city to city. But it’s only in the initial few hours, because once you have been to a city or driven over a road you can easily “quick jump” to any location you have been before with no penalty be it funds or some sort of points system. It’s certainly helpful. But to be able to pinpoint a location to drop into removes the challenge of having to drive. (especially as there were supposed to be full servers of other drivers)
With a severe lack of players on the servers, finding people to match up with proved difficult… very difficult, seeing as this is supposed to be an online game… I hope as time goes on they either decrease the amount of servers or fix whatever the issue is with the servers, because there are way too many NPC drivers. It’s certainly not what it was hyped up to be.
After a few hours you are finally available to do full-fledged PVP races…. But finding one is like watching paint dry on a wet Sunday afternoon. Without the ability to take 4/8 racers and run the faction race (which u get to join after about 3 or 4 hours of play) I was left waiting for well over 5 min with nothing to do but wait for the apparent other 4 drivers that just seem to NOT exist on my server…. Then to my absolute anger…. The server kicked me from the waiting group… Then once again I was kicked completely from the server.
I will say I haven’t seen terrible servers like this since the GTA5 Online was launched where I spent a week at a loading screen before realising the online version was so buggy it was unplayable.
Eventually I came to the conclusion that in order to get a race of pure PVP, I needed to stay away from the faction races. Things are starting to change but faction races are hard to find and being in Australia makes it harder as we don’t get the hordes of Americans on with us at night. But even during the day, which I tried a few times, still comes up with the same result.
So does the crew meet the standard people expect when paying almost $100 for a game? I say no. it’s likely this game will be simply a “finish the story mode and trade it in” kind of game. it is disappointing, because this game had so much hype and potential.
Ubisoft’s “The Crew”