Friday, 2 January 2015

The Crew Review - Time for a Road Trip.

By Sam Coles:
The Crew has a few great ideas with its huge miniscule version of the United States that you can drive across with your friends, but on the other hand it has a few flaws that stop it from being amazing, but it’s not a terrible game.
What sets it apart from most racing games is that it has a story although it is a very clich├ęd story, but it has a basic hook to keep you invested in the lengthy campaign. The story is that you play as Alex voiced by Troy Baker because what character isn’t these days, you are a wheelman who likes to win races and drive fast. Your brother is in a gang called the “510’s” who are involved in illegal activities such as street racing, drugs distribution and guns. You are then framed for your brother’s murder and sent to a federal prison and given a second chance by an FBI agent to take down the real murderer and a corrupt FBI official. Yeah it’s something you would expect from a Fast and Furious film or CSI but it works for a basic frame work for your motivation.
The game strides to be a “CARPG” bear with me about this sub-genre its set in a massive open world while you have other players driving about and sometimes colliding with you on the motorway, but the main question I ask is why multiplayer? The reason I propose this question is because the game feels like a singleplayer experience because it’s structure with missions that don’t really require any outside help from the community. Don’t get me wrong the game isn’t bad, but it I feel that the multiplayer isn’t necessary unless you want to faff about around the open world with friends.
Gameplay wise it does feel like an MMO that you’ll be grinding for hours to gain in game currency to get a decent car and trust me when I say hours I literally mean hours because it’s designed like this so you might give in to micro transactions which is despicable in a full priced game. The car physics are not simulation if you are worried about that they’re very arcadey with its handling it reminds of the driving from Watch Dogs so you can floor it and throw your car around the corner like a madman.
You have your standard slew of races from 8 player races to 1 on 1’s which is all good and fine but you can hire allies to help you out in the races and as long as one of your team mates comes first you’ll accomplish the mission and yet the game still acknowledges you won as if it were a singleplayer experience. There are not only races there are chases which can very frustrating because they always seem to be faster than no matter what car you’re in or the person you’re chasing. When you drive across the open road and trust me you’ll be on the open road a lot you’ll have little mini game distractions to help you earn new parts for your car such as jump challenges or breaking targets.
You’ll have the choice of three different cars at the start of the game and you can upgrade them slowly over time such as engine parts and breaking systems. You’ll have access to different classes of vehicles that you can equip onto your car for different situations. You’ll start off with the basic class the Street class which is designed for general street racing, then have dirt and beyond which you’ll unlock as you go through the lengthy campaign.
The graphics which a lot of people have been shooting down they’re not terrible as some people seem to think, yeah they’re not anything mind blowing but they do their service. Bear in mind that this game’s open world is huge because the map is 80 miles across so you can’t blame it for having a few graphical oddities with the visual aesthetic and plus it’s constantly online.
Nit-picks that I have is that it is far too expensive to buy a new car in this game and it takes forever to make a substantial amount of money and there are micro transactions which have no place in a full priced game because it is not a free to play. What’s up Ubisoft is £40-£50 not good enough for you?
The Crew is a fun game although it is marred by a few problems such as the lack of focus because it shoots to be a multiplayer game but the main campaign feels like a singleplayer experience with co-op which you don’t need. Is it a terrible game? No I’ve played for hours and couldn’t put it down, it has that addictive hook where you start playing and realise that 4 hours have passed.
If you are looking for a new racing game that is not Driveclub or Forza Horizon 2 then check this game out, grab some friends and go on a road trip. It’s available on PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC now.

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