One of the biggest problems that crops its head up in The Crew is symbolic of the nature of gaming at present. Micro-transactions are far too prevalent when you are playing online.
The Crew is a PlayStation 4 racing game that was released back in December of 2014. The game hit the shelves with a ton of hype behind it thanks to the promise of an open and persistent world set in the machinations of a game that focused on driving over everything. Fans of the game initially were hoping for a Grand Theft Auto style experience that was more enjoyable for automobile enthusiasts. While the Crew definitely had its fair share of drawbacks, the game itself remains one of the better multiplayer racing games available on the next generation of systems. Let's take a look at what makes this game so interesting and make sure that it's a match for you.
Coming out strong.
This game was developed by a new French game development company by the name of Ivory Tower. This is their first major release as a group though they have individual members with experience working on games like Need for Speed, V-Rally, and Test Drive Unlimited. Despite their youth and relative inexperience as a major market publisher, Ivory Tower brought what was needed to make their first big release a success. In cooperation with Ubisoft, Crew hit the ground racing.
The basic story.
If you were expecting a generic racing game that relied on a faceless protagonist mindlessly racing through the streets of so-and-so, California then you will probably be delighted. Rather than relying on the racing to drive the game, we are instead greeted with a game that has the bones of a great story. We play as Alex Taylor, a man on the run. After escaping the police, Alex is loaned a gorgeous Camaro in order to participate in a huge race with one of the biggest gangs in the city: the 5-10 Motor Club. Alex summarily wins the race and wins the respect of the gangs leader, Alex's own brother. The two drive off for a clandestine meeting that goes terribly wrong and ends with the gang changing hands and Alex going to jail for five years. Alex is only pulled out when new information comes up regarding his arrest. The rest of the game is up to you and how you play it.
Not for the single player.
The Crew is not a conventional racing game, as you can see from the above information. In fact, the entire game almost relies upon the PlayStation Network in order to run. The game bills itself as an experience meant for the online massive multiplier network. And it is there that most fans will find their enjoyment. You see, in making the game online-only the Crew is demanding that its players work together at least a little bit. The game is stylized in a way that you will need to rely on other drivers eventually. So before you get behind the wheel, make sure you go through match making or bring a few friends into the world with you.
A whole new world.
If you've spent any time trying to find out info regarding this game, then you know that it is massive. The game map is truly huge and it will take you some time to traverse through all of it. The game wants to completely embody the spirit of adventure that comes with driving across the country, and it does. You can get in your gang and drive anywhere in the continental US, within reason. Cities are obviously scaled down versions of their real life counterparts, but they still offer new sights to see in all of them. This is perhaps where the Crew finds its truest form of comfort: the open road. There isn't anything quite like hitting the road with a crew of your friends behind you. It feels open, exciting, and completely invigorating.
The finer details are lacking.
When you look at the Crew you don't realize, immediately, that it is a current gen release. While the game has respectable graphics, it is in the details that we find ourselves wanting. If you slow down to observe the scenery you will find many repeated textures, blank spaces, and uninteresting locations. At a blur, it all looks great, but if you like to slow down for a minute you will find yourself losing that sense of immersion. Along that same track we find that the sound, too, appears bland. There is no punch behind many of the effects and often times we don't feel like a part of the action as a result.
A long road ahead.
Still, there is a lot to love about this video game. The sense of open road and real world adventure before us is invigorating. The fact that the campaign spans nearly 20 hours of concentrated gameplay is amazing. Add to the fact that you won't be grinding out each mission sequentially and that 20 hours of campaign can last you for months if you want it to. The missions are hard, sometimes bordering on infuriating, and you will fail more than a couple times. We don't expect games to be easy anymore, but the difficulty might end up frustrating some younger players. Make sure to opt for strategy guides before giving up on a mission. If all else fails, invite a friend to join your party in order to help you out.
A few unfortunate quirks.
One of the biggest problems that crops its head up in The Crew is symbolic of the nature of gaming at present. Micro-transactions are far too prevalent when you are playing online. The fact that the game pushes them at you at all possible avenues begins to feel a bit needy and desperate, not to mention annoying at times. That alongside with the fact that the game HAS to be played online, and we're sure that some fans will push the game away before they even get started.
In summation, The Crew on the PlayStation 4 is more than an adequate way to kill some time on the road. The missions are challenging, the world is huge, and the multiplayer system is enjoyable. You won't see this game reinventing the wheel, but it sure makes it fun to drive on four of them.