An open world racing game with a story that involves guns, car theft, racing, and gangs sounds a lot like a Grand Theft Auto game; except this one does not limit you to a single city or state. The Crew gives players the entirety of America as its racing grounds and you can literally travel from one coast to another without having to let go of the gas. There’s a story mode for players to indulge in, but this online-centric game is also about finding other people who will play along with you (or you can play with). It is a big and massive game that attempts to provide players with a sense of scale in terms of places they can reach when they drive. And as long as you do not slow down to a stop, everything looks amazing.
What is the Crew?
The Crew is a large, open world game where players are given the choice to literally drive anywhere they want. The cities are huge and sprawling, there are large tracts of forests, deserts, urban landscapes, commercial zones, and everything else you can think of: and you can drive across them all in a single seamless drive without being interrupted by loading screens. The sheer freedom the game provides can be daunting, so the game also offers up a nice little campaign storyline that eases players into the game’s mechanics, play style, and of course, options of things to do.
The story mode consists of the player taking on the role of Alex Taylor, who has been framed by a federal agent working with a gang leader. Alex must work together with another FBI agent, Zoe, in order to clear his name and put the right people behind bars. This storyline will take players through most of the game’s key points, locations, and teach much of the important driving mechanics that are needed.
Looking Past the Window
One of the game’s best features is the fact that it recreates the concept of a cross-country drive –and it does so better than any other game before it. As we said before: no load times in between. The game is pretty well designed that it seems to know when to pre-load the content you will need. The catch is that most of the things in this game only look good when you are speeding past them.
The little details in random city NPCs, other vehicles on the road, and the actual backgrounds are very unpolished and rough. This is very disappointing (especially with the car models) since other racing games do these things so well –while it is understandable that the compromise was done in order to create a large game, it feels like the graphics are for a last generation system.
Make New Friends
Online play is a major part of the game as playing with others seems to be the kind of thing that is encouraged in the game (also, missions are significantly easier when multiple players are working together to accomplish a single objective. We also appreciate that only one player needs to finish a goal in order for the entire team to succeed. All those good things said, getting into an online co-op mission is not easy. Hoping for random players to respond to invites is not reliable as the invites have a time out limit, and waiting for invites from other players takes even longer. If you want to play this game with other, best find friends (or make new ones) and then plan the session together. It is one of the game’s best modes, and not making it easily accessible is a major pitfall for the game.
Crew of One
The main point of The Crew is the online feature –which is pretty much established in the title alone. Sadly, this facet is not very accessible and while there are a few times when it is easy to find others to play with, the most common thing that happens is that you will be playing alone. Thankfully, the nice long drives that the game allows make for an interesting experience for as long as you can choose to ignore the little visual hiccups along the way. In fact, some players might just buy this for the cross country driving bits.