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by EA Games
Release Date: 11/19/2013

Description

At the end of the day The Crew on the Xbox One is an inventive way to experience a racing game for a new generation of players. As we go along further we will expect more and more from the guys at Ivory Tower.

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Posted:
2015-03-19

Dave_Finnigan

Super Gamer Dude

6.0

The Crew is an open world racing video game developed by the guys at Ivory Tower and Ubisoft Reflections. Published by Ubisoft in December of 2014, The Crew released on the Xbox One as one of the first big racing gigs in the next generation. The game promised to bring something completely new to what fangs were proclaiming was a completely stagnant genre. As we have mentioned numerous times on our website, we feel like 'open world' and 'sandbox' games are going to be the buzzwords of this generation. In order to cash in on those genres the guys at Ubisoft pushed for a product that catered to them.

To understand what The Crew was trying to do we had to look ta the title from the perspective of a company (Ivory Tower) still trying to make their name upon the industry. Ivory Tower released The Crew in 2014 and it was their first major release ever as a studio. This means that they are likely trying to create a longstanding, franchise worth IP. With those things in our head we unpacked the game and popped it into our Xbox One, eager to see what the guys could do.

The game opens up with our hero, Alex Taylor, being chased by local police in Detroit, Michigan. While he is trying to escape the police (for what reason, we do not know) he gets a call from a man named Harry. He tells us that our heroes older brother wants us to come to a big race. Dayton, Alex's older brother, is the founder of a moto club in town called the 5-10. We get there and are immediately told to hush up and stay out of the way by Dayton. Before we can even reconcile what has happened our heroes brother gets shot to death by a mysterious stranger who had driven by. The police show up before too long and Alex is sent to jail.

After five years an FBI agent by the name of Zoe comes to Alex to tell him that the 5-10 motor club has a new leader named Shiv and that she thinks he is the one who killed Dayton. In order to capture the man and put hm behind bars she needs Alex's help collecting evidence. From there we are thrown back into the world of questionable motor clubs, illegal races, and backstabbing intrigue.

So with that fairly recognizable plot out of the way, what is there to really fall in love with in this title? After all, all we've seen is a game that caters to basic cliches like vengeance, dead family, and backstabbing friends. The hook, it turns out, is in the execution. The Crew offers gamers the ENTIRETY of the continental United States as a place to drive. Harkening back to the classic road trips of old, you are able to take whatever you want out onto the road while you travel around. You can go through the dusty suburbs of Austin, Texas all the way to the urban populous of Chicago.

While these different notable cities are not 1:1 recreations of their real life counterparts, they are all faithful in their adaptation. The guys at Ivory Tower made sure to cater to the realism that a game like this needs in order to succeed. For a sand box, open world game to work we need to feel like we are immersed in it. That means we should see Palm Trees in Detroit, Michigan. You wouldn't see snow all over South L.A.

More than racing, more than the storyline, more than the cars, we fell in love with the ability to seamlessly ride around the country. Seriously, how cool is that? With wonderful graphics that harness all of the power of the Xbox One, we were able to travel all over the country. The map is scaled appropriately so as not to feel small nor feel too big that the journey lags needlessly. As you travel from coast to coast you will see that the terrain casually changes in an almost imperceptible way. You will never have that immersion breaking moment of, "Oh, I guess I'm in Wisconsin now."

So what is the point of all this space? Well, being that The Crew is an online compatible game the point is that the space is filled with other players. A genius way to incorporate the server side of online gaming, the continental United States becomes your online playground. So rather than running into countless NPC cars filling up the road, you will instead run into various other tricked out rides before you even realize it. From there you can go ahead and challenge them to a race, try to destroy their vehicle, or merely be on your way with just a hello as they pas by. The experience is really up to you and how you want to play it.

While we love the epic scope that The Crew brought us there were some issues that we ran into. While you can technically do any of the missions in the game with any of your cars, there is a soft level barrier installed. The game will suggest that you wait until you are have a better car in order to do missions. If you try to do them anyway you will soon come to the realization that the computer AI is working against you at a subversive level. The game literally seems to slow you down from winning.

We also hated the grind that is necessary in order to unlock new cars. Racking up Crew Credits seems to take forever and the game subtly pushes micro transactions onto its users. We understand the need for these cash shop transactions but we always feel bummed out by their inclusion into console games. We already paid for the disc.

At the end of the day The Crew on the Xbox One is an inventive way to experience a racing game for a new generation of players. As we go along further we will expect more and more from the guys at Ivory Tower.

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