The Crew, developed by Ivory Tower, which consists of team members who worked in Eden Games (Known for their work on NFS titles, Test Drive Unlimited and the V-Rally series)is a Online Racing Title that packs the story elements from every Fast and Furious movies alongwith the popular element from other titles like Need for Speed Carbon, and mashes in a little feature from Ubisoft’s other popular series (Assassin’s Creed/Far Cry 3) for good measure. Despite all the hype, the game barely manages to hold onto its fans because of several glitches, repetitive/cliche story missions and the fact that the game was built as an Always-Online game.
Announced as a Massively Multiplayer Online Racer (MMO-R) The Crew unleashes the player on a huge map of the United States of America. You play as a street racer turned undercover cop and forced to infiltrate The 510, a criminal gang of racers (aka Fast and Furious) and deal with corrupt FBI agents and other cliches used in NFS/Fast and Furious. But once the player is introduced to the story, he/she has the freedom to ignore the main story missions and enjoy driving from city to city. Unlike Need for Speed, the player in The Crew has to look for Communications Tower (Comms Tower) and activate it (like in Far Cry 3 and the Sync Points in Assassin’s Creed) to unlock new races on the map.
The Crew features 5 different race styles: Street, Circuit, Dirt, Performance and Raids. Winning each race awards the player with Experience, Money and unlocks new upgrades for the race category specific car. Each race comes with mid-race objectives that earns the player extra perks and bonus Money + Experience. Alongwith the main story races, there are many side races that add dozens of hours to the game as well as cash/XP (experience points) to the player’s stats.
The Crew has a huge map with scaled landscapes and ample space for driving, unfortunately the distance between the cities is shortened; cities hours worth of driving away can be reached within minutes, so your wish for driving all across America will be alot shorter than you had hoped. The cities are scaled down and don’t quite resemble the portrayed cities of USA, but they manage to have the essence of the portrayed cities and are fun to explore and race around in.
Gameplay mechanics have several fun features that, at times, get annoying for the player. For instance, if you’re driving a Street racing car against a Performance car opponent, you will have trouble outrunning it on a straight road but when it comes to routes with tight turns; you will leave the performance car choking on your trail. Likewise if you’re paired against a Dirt race car on a Dirt track, the other car will have an advantage because it is fit for that type of terrain. This adds a new layer to the game variation, for instance if you’re in a Street race with a route which has long stretches of straight roads with very few to soft curves then you can pick a Performance car to beat the Street cars. The player can tweak his/her car to better suit his/her playing style but there is no single setting that works for all races, forcing the player to tweak the car once more for that one race; this issue poses more as an annoyance rather a challenge.
Despite the unimpressive storyline and slightly annoying gameplay, The Crew is a fun game to play with friends; and that is how it was meant to be played in the first place. Players can form Crews and challenge other Racers for territory or simply to see who is the fastest (Hint: it’s the one with the better car and fastest internet connection) but losing isn’t that bad because the loser also gets a good deal of money and experience for participating in the race or completing objectives during it.
The faction race has players compete against other Crews, winning races in an enemy territory earns them a part of that territory.
Developed by Ivory Tower and Published by Ubisoft, The Crew launched on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 last week.