The Crew (1)

I’m not going to mince words, nor subject you to a lengthy anecdote about road-trips with my grandparents. Let’s just cut to the chase; is the Crew worthy of your Christmas stockings? Is it the game that will help you overcome the New Year after-party hangover? Is this Ubisoft’s finest racer to date?

“Sadly… no!”

The Crew (7)

There is no question that The Crew is an ambitious title. It’s also part of a sub-genre that appeals to me. A few years ago, Atari left me grinning ear-to-ear with its flawed but undeniably enjoyable, open-world racer – Test Drive Unlimited. Atari’s game allowed us to drive around the tropical Hawaiian island of Oahu. You could literally spend hours enjoying the sights and sounds of the island, while driving in your tricked-out and pimped up muscle car . If you felt like it, you could initiate a race with a random fellow speed demon, or join a race against AI or throw yourself into an online match. You had this massive world in front of you; it was part-racer and part-sandbox.

And, I loved every minute of it.

The Crew (2)

In many ways, The Crew pays homage to the freedom of the road in Test Drive Unlimited. Instead of a Hawaiian island, Ivory Tower and Ubisoft Reflections allow you to explore a truncated version of the United States of America. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to drive from the Redwood forests of San Francisco through the Mojave desert, while taking a quick detour through the Pacific Northwest and then heading east towards Chicago, and ultimately New York? The Crew does a stunning job at fueling that fire. If anything came from my time playing The Crew, it’s made me crave a cross-country road-trip. There are dozens of towns to explore, famous American landmarks to visit and let’s not even talk about the cars.

The Crew (3)

However, unlike Test Drive Unlimited where you could divorce yourself from your router for a session of quiet meditation on “the road to nowhere”, The Crew prides itself on being “online-only”. I managed to spend nearly 40 hours (reaching Level 50) in the Crew and it left me with an uncomfortable realisation – there is no reason for The Crew to be always-online. It’s not entirely an MMO, and apart from the PVP sections, there is no reason to share the road with anyone else. You can create a crew of four members, but nothing about the game suggests that you SHOULD be held hostage by your internet connection. Worst of all, when the servers go dark, or your connection throws a spanner in the works, all you have is an error screen that taunts your inability to reconnect or play your game.

The Crew (4)

Apart from stunning scenery and the chance to visit a digital New York, the glue that’s supposed to hold the game together is a paint-by-numbers revenge story featuring one of the lamest protagonists ever created. Our hero is a hipster-turned-criminal, a nondescript and soulless Gordon Freeman-doppelganger called Alex Taylor. Alex finds himself framed for the murder of his older brother, Dayton. Five years later, our bearded hero is offered immunity from his sentence in exchange for infiltrating Dayton’s old gang, the 510s and bringing those responsible for his brother’s murder to justice.

The Crew (5)

What follows is a “Sons-of-Anarchy-lite” tale of revenge, corruption, and stereotypical characters ripped from countless other games, movies and books. The lacklustre plot never gains traction and finds itself in a wheelspin. There’s no sense of character progression for Alex, and I couldn’t help but compare the Crew to Ubisoft’s last Driver game. At least Driver had some sort of coherence to its over-the-top tale with characters that you could care about rather than denizens from a C-grade Hollywood reject pile.

Graphically, The Crew is a mixed bag. The textures on the cars and some of the surroundings feel like they were pulled from a last-gen version of the game. On the other hand, the world itself is filled with beautiful American backdrops. If there’s one positive that has come from The Crew it is that I’m inspired to visit the Grand Canyon, the Redwoods near San Francisco, and explore the Rocky Mountains.

The Crew (8)

The Crew also falters where it really matters – the gameplay. One of the hallmarks of a great racing title is that cars should feel sufficiently different from each other. We may enjoy the sheer power advantage that a muscle car might have over a hatchback, or the differences in steering between different sports cars, but ultimately it’s the difference between similar types of cars that matter. Speed isn’t the only factor that matters, it’s how they feel, it’s the small nuances in steering, weight or the variations in acceleration. It doesn’t matter which type of car you start off with. They all handle the same and are plagued by the same inconsistent car physics. It’s only once you start tuning your cars, and unlocking the different tuning options (specs) that you have a significant distinction between a car fit for the city (Street-spec), for the dirt road (Dirt-spec), for the great outdoors (Raid-spec), for racing and finally for speed (Circuit-spec). How you tune your cars depends on the parts you unlock during the game – from story missions to specific skill missions. What you unlock, or at least the quality of the part depends on whether or not you scored enough points to qualify for either a bronze, silver or gold (and after Level 50 platinum) reward.

The Crew (6)

At first glance, the number of skill missions scattered across the map may seem overwhelming, however thematically they are limited. It’s a similar problem during the story missions, you’re either forced into a standard race, a time trial, or doing a dreadful chase-and-takedown mission. I can’t say how much I hated the chase missions. While the game isn’t particularly difficult, the AI’s constant reliance on excessive nitro-boosts and traffic popping in from nowhere during these missions (and others) will leave even the most dedicated petrolhead contemplating death by car exhaust asphyxiation.

If you asked me if there’s anything I enjoyed about The Crew, it’s without a doubt the open-world aspect of it. I loved exploring the game world, visiting new areas, finding hidden cars & landmarks and taking my 4WD beast off-road (into the sand dunes, or onto the mountains, or even through the swamps), but I can’t recommend this game. The Crew falls flat on its face, and fails to qualify for the race. It’s filled with questionable design decisions, wonky AI and an overreliance on the worrying current trend of “always-online” DRM – disguised as “social gaming”.

Last Updated: December 17, 2014

The Crew
A title like The Crew has to be more than a glorified "Google Earth" simulator or a VOIP chat client - especially if it's advertised as a "revolutionary action car and driving game".
4.6
The Crew was reviewed on PlayStation 4
61 / 100

90 Comments

  1. you lost me at “Ubisoft”

    Giving it a 4.6 might be slightly high LOL

    Reply

    • Corrie

      December 17, 2014 at 15:53

      Hammersteyn is that you?

      Reply

      • Quo Vadis?

        December 17, 2014 at 15:54

        Nope. Been wondering where the guy is.

        Reply

        • Corrie

          December 17, 2014 at 15:59

          Ohhh, Sorry thought everyone did their mandatory name change and with your Pic having a certain hammersteyn look and yeah I don’t really have much time to LG it during the week only when I’m off from work on Wednesday’s and Thursday so it’s like coming late to the party and hoping that there’s a cold one still in the fridge and also trying to figure out everyone’s identity crisis :p

          Reply

          • Quo Vadis?

            December 17, 2014 at 16:00

            Identity crisis? ME? Wait another week or so ;P

          • Corrie

            December 17, 2014 at 16:04

            Yeah I kinda need to make a plan to multitask at work when I can, miss making bad jokes and praising bacon and Gaben, no fun making this comments at 8PM since it’s like I’m the last of us…. or me:p

          • Quo Vadis?

            December 17, 2014 at 16:08

            Yup. Same here. Only reason I am on here so often, is because all operations have closed down for the year. So from next year, I will again only be commenting once in awhile 🙁

          • Corrie

            December 17, 2014 at 16:11

            Eh there’s always the option ” coming live all the way from the toilet” approach but dammit Pavilion’s toilet is a dead zone -_- , I can’t do my business without the internet, yes it s true… no internet means more than not checking the daily news :p

          • Quo Vadis?

            December 17, 2014 at 16:16

            Yea Cpt is the black hole where dreams go to die. Internet sucks, everything sucks, I mean… oh wait :/

          • Admiral Chief Octacore

            December 17, 2014 at 16:17

            Passion gap eh?

          • Quo Vadis?

            December 17, 2014 at 16:19

            If you live in Cpt, it is mandatory. Lucky for me, my chompers are all intact. Jhb is kinda finicky about things like that XD

          • Admiral Chief Octacore

            December 17, 2014 at 16:13

            BACK IN THE BOX eh?

          • Quo Vadis?

            December 17, 2014 at 16:14

            DONT LOOK SO CHUFFED ABOUT IT! *sniff sob sniff*

          • Admiral Chief Octacore

            December 17, 2014 at 16:17

            I SHALL RELEASE YOU FROM YOUR BOX OF SHAME!!!

          • Quo Vadis?

            December 17, 2014 at 16:20

            I only have a box of awesomeness, no release required 😛

        • Hammersteyn

          December 18, 2014 at 07:36

          awwwwww how sweet

          Reply

          • Admiral Chief Octacore

            December 18, 2014 at 07:36

            XD

          • Quo Vadis?

            December 18, 2014 at 09:11

            Don’t get any ideas! hahaha

      • Admiral Chief Octacore

        December 17, 2014 at 16:00

        He is fighting a database today

        Reply

        • Corrie

          December 17, 2014 at 16:07

          He has a database?

          Reply

          • Admiral Chief Octacore

            December 17, 2014 at 16:12

            Severity 3

          • Corrie

            December 17, 2014 at 16:16

            Eish , hope he has a backup…coz I’m sure the only reason people has servers these days is because of that giant Pr0n collection:p

          • Captain JJ the engaged

            December 17, 2014 at 16:18

            My backup is a single portable with all the hundreds of gigs worth of Steam games.
            That’s my only sensitive data. 😉

          • Admiral Chief Octacore

            December 17, 2014 at 16:18

            Even if you lose it, you can cloud it back!

          • Admiral Chief Octacore

            December 17, 2014 at 16:18

            And here I thought your sensitive data was your makeup shopping history?

  2. Admiral Chief Octacore

    December 17, 2014 at 15:38

    NANA!

    Reply

  3. Captain JJ the engaged

    December 17, 2014 at 15:38

    Time to reinstall TDU2 then.
    Had lots of fun playing that with friends. I’ll pass on The Crew.
    Ubisoft + Uplay + Always Online = No thanks.

    On a side note: I’m glad to see the banana wrote this one – someone who appreciates racing/driving games 😉

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief Octacore

      December 17, 2014 at 15:38

      So, shall we play some L4D2 instead?

      Reply

      • Captain JJ the engaged

        December 17, 2014 at 15:40

        Uhu

        Reply

    • Rock789

      December 18, 2014 at 07:44

      You mean the “Internet AI”? 😉 😛

      Reply

  4. Ryanza

    December 17, 2014 at 15:41

    Don’t Support DRM. Don’t Support Ubisoft. Forced always on-line, fuck that. The Wither 3 horse racing is coming.

    http://image.noelshack.com/fichiers/2014/23/1401993159-w10.gif

    Reply

    • Captain JJ the engaged

      December 17, 2014 at 15:42

      *leaves for the restroom*

      Reply

      • Admiral Chief Octacore

        December 17, 2014 at 15:42

        Onthou, meer as twee keer skud is speel

        Reply

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          December 17, 2014 at 15:52

          I thought that’s how you were supposed to use a wors-feedback controller?

          Reply

    • Captain JJ the engaged

      December 17, 2014 at 15:47

      I am still staring at this. It’s been five minutes.

      Reply

      • RinceThis

        December 17, 2014 at 17:04

        Looks sweet. But when it comes with a mandatory 1gig day one patch I hope the body bag for Ryanza is ready and waiting…

        Reply

        • Ryanza

          December 17, 2014 at 18:06

          CD Projekt RED is aiming for a non Enhanced Edition release of The Witcher 3. That means no day 1 patch. It means they trying to release a complete and whole game. Or well trying too. If there is a day 1 then it won’t be 1gig. If it is then fuck em. But the day 1 patch will be hidden in that dlc being released the day after.

          Reply

      • Hammersteyn

        December 18, 2014 at 07:34

        I don’t need to play the game now.

        Reply

  5. Generic ZA

    December 17, 2014 at 15:51

    I tend to get that “Are we there yet?” sensation when playing this game for any length of time, then fast travel to mission, skill, hidden vehicle part after that it’s rinse repeat … yawn, but I gotta play it I bought it, sigh!

    Reply

    • Captain JJ the engaged

      December 17, 2014 at 15:52

      Well, at least it works. Which is saying a lot for a Ubisoft game.

      Reply

    • Quo Vadis?

      December 17, 2014 at 15:57

      having a bit of a Forrest Gump moment of regret there? LOL

      Reply

    • CypherGate

      December 17, 2014 at 16:08

      The sheer pain of knowing how much you spent on a game that ultimately sucks big balls of ass wax is a horrible feeling indeed. I feel for you.

      Reply

      • Captain JJ the engaged

        December 17, 2014 at 16:09

        “big balls of ass wax”
        I feel like there should be a story behind this, but I’m not going to ask ;P

        Reply

    • Generic ZA

      December 19, 2014 at 09:42

      Oh (Expletive Deleted) I just noticed that even Lindsay Lohan’s The Price Of Fame got a higher rating than The Crew on this site, sobs silently in the corner.

      Reply

  6. Spaffy

    December 17, 2014 at 15:55

    Sorry, how many bananas?

    Reply

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      December 17, 2014 at 17:15

      Fawr banananananas!

      Reply

  7. Alien Emperor Trevor

    December 17, 2014 at 15:59

    Sounds a bit like Skyrim for cars. 😉

    Reply

    • Captain JJ the engaged

      December 17, 2014 at 15:59

      Only not EPICCCCCCC!

      Reply

  8. ReaperOfSquirrels

    December 17, 2014 at 16:12

    But, it’ll all be fixed with a 40GB patch!

    Reply

    • Captain JJ the engaged

      December 17, 2014 at 16:13

      so much win.

      Reply

    • Hammersteyn

      December 18, 2014 at 07:33

      That small?

      Reply

      • ReaperOfSquirrels

        December 18, 2014 at 09:27

        That’s what she said?

        Reply

  9. oVg elfroot slayer

    December 17, 2014 at 16:17

    If I bought this at retail, how would I know that it is an on-line only game?

    I am sure some off-line gamers must have purchased Destiny thinking it was a kick ass shooter like COD. Or is every single gamer who owns a PS4 and Xbone on-line?

    Reply

    • Captain JJ the engaged

      December 17, 2014 at 16:19

      It’s the new age man. Every person in the whole frikkin world has access to perfect internet with great speeds. Don’t you know? Pfff, so naive.

      Reply

      • oVg elfroot slayer

        December 17, 2014 at 16:25

        Tell me about it. Do the arrogant off-line gamers get a full refund from BT Games?

        Reply

        • Quo Vadis?

          December 17, 2014 at 16:32

          “‘BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA”” <——-That is the response you will be receiving when asking for your refund 😉

          Reply

    • FSR

      December 18, 2014 at 08:36

      It says so on the box? In bold “A constant internet connection is required to play this game”

      Reply

      • oVg elfroot slayer

        December 18, 2014 at 08:58

        are you talking about the small print in the bottom left corner of the back cover that nobody reads?
        Also, I did not see MANDATORY day 1 activation required anywhere on the XBONE box.

        Reply

        • FSR

          December 18, 2014 at 09:01

          Nope, on the front of the box, in bold. PC version. It was enough to catch my attention and I even smirked (wryly) and thought “welcome to the new generation of always on”

          Reply

          • oVg elfroot slayer

            December 18, 2014 at 09:02

            Cool, nice to see our hobby is still abiding to consumer legislation in some form or another.
            But the patches need to go otherwise do not call the product Gold.

        • Brady miaau

          December 18, 2014 at 09:26

          But my Xbox One did not require mandatory day one activation. When, however, it detected the internet (was off for a while when I plugged it in) it immediately stopped working and asked for a 500mb patch before it would continue.

          Reply

          • oVg elfroot slayer

            December 18, 2014 at 09:42

            Finally, after a year my question is answered. “Can the XBONE play games out of the box like the PS4 can?” I never imagined after 30 years of gaming that I would ever need to pose such a question in the first place.

            I ended up buying a PS4 just because I could play the games, I already understood that the Blu-Ray needed on-line activation.

            But who cares? I am the only gamer on the planet who will not allow internet in my man cave partly due to funds, time and short leases.

          • Brady miaau

            December 18, 2014 at 11:16

            I did not play games offline, just messed about. Bought da digital

  10. boondocksaint87

    December 17, 2014 at 16:28

    Ubisoft, because fuck you

    Reply

    • Captain JJ the engaged

      December 17, 2014 at 16:32

      I will now accept that as their new slogan 🙂

      Reply

  11. Matthew Holliday

    December 17, 2014 at 16:32

    i wanted to love this game as much as i wanted to hate CoD AW.

    but i havent bought it because i was expecting dumb shit ubisoft to screw it up.
    so many great concepts cocked over by stupid developer decisions and half assed cash grab attempts.
    its a AAA driving game, where the driving mechanics are the poorest part of the game.
    I could tolerate a NFS movie quality storyline, but how do you justify shitty driving mechanics in a DRIVING game?

    ubisoft needs to get their shit together, they are 0-3 in this last stint of game releases.
    farcry, bugged to shit.
    assassins creed, bugged to shit.
    the crew, cocked up.

    Reply

  12. RinceThis

    December 17, 2014 at 17:02

    The nana is a lie, his review is a lie! Online foeva!

    Reply

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      December 17, 2014 at 17:14

      The lie is…. the lie! 😛

      Reply

      • RinceThis

        December 17, 2014 at 17:17

        Don’t you come here with your big words!

        Reply

    • Rock789

      December 18, 2014 at 07:47

      Damn internet AI’s think they can review games now?! 😛 🙂

      Reply

  13. CAE9872

    December 17, 2014 at 17:56

    Banana reviews games? Sheesh I never knew that.

    Oh and OUCH!!!

    That is a low score for a racing game! In the immortal words of my favourite TV show “I mean…how hard can it be?”

    Reply

  14. HighlanderZA

    December 17, 2014 at 20:39

    Good review. Agree, however my 7 year old son is enjoying it a lot, will not last long as minecraft will take him back to hos ps3.

    Reply

  15. Car Gaming Blog

    December 17, 2014 at 23:36

    For someone who loved TDU I’m surprised you scored The Crew this low. TDU/TDU 2 were far from perfect as much as I did enjoy them. The Crew does a lot of things better though in my opinion, but I’m still waiting for the killer open-world racing/cruising game. 🙂

    Reply

  16. Hammersteyn

    December 18, 2014 at 07:31

    Ubisoft really “Crewed” the pooch on this one.

    Reply

  17. Hammersteyn

    December 18, 2014 at 07:31

    BANANA!

    Reply

  18. Rock789

    December 18, 2014 at 07:43

    Honestly, I was interested in this game purely for the ‘cross-country driving’ part – would love to just drive the roads and enjoy the scenery in a multitude of cars whilst visiting multiple cities and towns…

    But “online only”? Really?! Me thinks I’ll be giving this a skip then… Sorry Ubi – you almost had me…

    Reply

  19. Mandom (Umar)

    December 18, 2014 at 08:14

    Haven’t read a Nana review a while. Get a chance to read one again and it’s 4.6……
    http://cdn.meme.am/instances/500x/57256488.jpg

    Reply

  20. FSR

    December 18, 2014 at 08:42

    I disagree strongly with many points in the article. Sure you don’t NEED to Crew-up, but the game is a whole lot more fun when you do. I only really started co-opping stuff once I finished the story (which I do agree, is atrocious) and hit level 50. I have spent 30 odd hours in the game and… here’s the kicker… lost connection to the server…. twice. For an online only game (and most notibly an Ubisoft game) it’s worked pretty damn well. Does it NEED to be always online, no. But i see what they were trying to do and it doesn’t fall completely flat.

    Was this worth the R400 i spent on it? Absolutely. Will i continue to play it now that i’m level 50 and finished the storyline? Absolutely. Most importantly of all, am i having fun in this game? SO MUCH.

    Don’t base your opinions on reviews people, base them on your personal preferences.

    Reply

    • Archzion

      December 18, 2014 at 11:14

      Agree think everyone on this site seems to jump on the train that something is shit without having a go at it. Like a bunch of people following Justin Bieber blindly.

      Reply

  21. Ghost In The Rift

    December 18, 2014 at 11:03

    so is it uplay or weplay or usplay or onlineplay or drmplay or dontplay or stayaway???

    Reply

  22. SentientSlug

    December 18, 2014 at 13:59

    listen iv never trusted bananas. Especially those with names like “James Lenoir”.

    Reply

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