Summary: The Crew is certainly an ambitious game with its promise of a digital America to drive across. But it gets the fundamentals of driving wrong, which in a car racing game is a misstep. Its story and environments however also are lacklustre.
Top Critic Average
The Eden Games heritage of Ivory Tower shines through in just about every element of the game - including, sadly, the awful story. The social features are also a little underwhelming, and there are much better looking driving games out there. Yet for every stumble, The Crew makes a huge leap. It's so immediate, with very few loading screens, and the fact that you'll probably never race on the same route twice cannot be understated. It's a game changer, and I'm somewhat concerned that I'll never be able to play a normal circuit racer ever again.
The Crew does a lot of things right. Not only does it give you a huge game world to explore, but the ability to change up the whole experience by tuning your car differently is an excellent addition to Ivory Tower's ambitious racer, allowing you to take one car and do so much more than just a mere race. Apart from the microtransactions you cannot go wrong here by jumping behind the dashboard of your favourite car and taking off into the sunset across the desert. Giving you the ability to drive from coast to coast across the USA with tons of goodies in between is what makes The Crew a dream world to explore.
And the strange thing is, you'll probably want to try it at some point, just to find another excuse to criss-cross the continent absorbing the scenery and the Americana. There's no doubt that a huge part of The Crew's appeal is nostalgia for US road trips, whether previously experienced or just imagined. No game has mined that cultural seam quite so authentically or with such all-encompassing ambition. It's a game that requires and occasionally enforces patience, but like all great road trips it's about the journey, not the destination.
I know many people have been skeptical of The Crew, and after playing it, I have no issues. Just exploring the world was a blast for me. My time spent with the game was very enjoyable, and with some friends it is even more fun. It has a few issues, but The Crew is a fun game with an action movie story that I think many will enjoy especially in co-op.
The Crew offers you the entire countryside to explore solo or with friends (or strangers), plenty of cars, customization options, and a narrative that extends a purpose beyond "being the best" to get your motor running. Ubisoft's familiar structural pitfalls like microtransactions, online-only play, and other trappings hinder rather than enhance, but those things have become par for the course by now. Thankfully, they don't mar the overall experience, and that was an overtly positive one for me. I don't need a crew to cruise downtown Chicago or the west coast. I was just fine going it alone. And if you settle in for a few hours and let the game take you, I surmise you will be, too.
If you've been clamoring for a new open-world racer the likes of which we haven't seen since Burnout Paradise, I am happy to report that The Crew fits the bill. A mixture of MMO and arcade-sim racing, you better ensure you have a steady Internet connection, or else face frustration. Hopefully a patch in the future will enable offline play, because to see all of the game's terrain will take a long time, perhaps even longer than Ubisoft will keep the game's servers online. All of the United States' major landmarks are here and wonderfully detailed. Vehicles' handling lay somewhere between arcade and simulation, though you can tweak this. Online play is very rewarding, but is over-emphasized at times. With such a massive world to explore, and an addictive leveling system, fans of this genre will be busy for months to come.
Ivory Tower did have some great ideas in putting together The Crew, but they don't all pan out the way they should. Getting new cars can take forever, and some of the missions are a tremendous pain on your own. However, if you've got a few racing buddies that don't mind cruising with you, you'll find the game's true potential – and even have some fun while you're speeding along. So grab some friends if you can. Otherwise, if it's a single player endeavor you're after, you might consider Forza Horizon 2.
Ditch the lame story, work in more customization and more exciting races, and The Crew is solid roadwork for what could be a fantastic MMO ride.
For the short time that I have had with The Crew, I have had a lot of ups and downs. I certainly see the promise in this game, but I don't have the patience or the social circle to really take advantage of it. Nonetheless, I just keep playing, interested in seeing what I can unlock next. Personally, I'd recommend The Crew to anyone who has a dedicated circle of friends who would play with them, who all have great internet connections. If you do, this game is pretty awesome, and possibly even a better format than a lot of other driving games out there. If you don't, the game can get frustrating at times. This is a "your mileage may vary" sort of game, good, but really only appealing to a very specific type of gamer. I'll let you know if my opinion changes with more time... and more friends.
One of the most exciting racing game environments for years, unfortunately bound to a slew of dull races and superfluous story.