STAFF REVIEW of The Crew (Xbox One)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014.
by Adam Dileva

The Crew Box art When The Crew was announced, it seems like Ubisoft had some extremely ambitious goals. It was touted as an online MMO-esque racer were you can your friends could drive from one coast of the United States to the other freely. Did they deliver on their promise? Well, technically, as you can hop onto the persistent world with your friends and drive from Seattle to Miami if you want, but it’s obviously not a 1:1 scale of the whole country. There’s actually only a handful of cities depicted, and if you’re a native of these, you’ll notice some things are slightly different than its real life counterparts as well. That being said, the world does feel substantial and you’ll notice as you cross from one state to the next as the typical backgrounds will reflect the actual locations.

Aside from the one or two exceptions, racing games aren’t generally known for their engaging stories, and while The Crew tries to make you care about its main plot and characters, you simply won’t, which is a shame given that Troy Baker voices the protagonist Alex Taylor. The central plot focuses on Alex’s older brother, the leader of the 5-10 gang, who is murdered which you are framed for and get sent to jail for 5 years. Once you get out the only thing you care about is revenge and you start figuring a way to do so. The 5-10’s have been taken over and is led by a notorious dude with the title of V-8 (his officers have ranks of V-6, V-4, and so on) and it’s up to Alex to avenge his brother and take the 5-10’s back. You’re tasked with making your way up the ranks and you’ll have a friend within the FBI to help you along the way.

The plot is predictable and you’ll see everything coming a mile away, and in all honesty, it simply dragged on for way too long over the course of sixty plus missions. The cutscenes look decent, but the dialogue and writing is flat, along with the bulk of everything you’re told will simply be done over the radio when you’re driving as opposed to specific cutscenes. Even if you’re free roaming, you’ll constantly get reminded that you should be doing something else in relation to the story and can become quite tiresome hearing the same lines repeatedly.

As for missions in the campaign, there’s really only a handful of different types, but sadly the two worst types keep getting repeated and are extremely frustrating. These missions are the takedown and police pursuit missions, and I get that they are meant to bookend an exciting chapter, but the frustration from these will simply infuriate you rather than motivate you to move forward. Police pursuits is self-explanatory and has you trying to evade the police’s radius, much like any other game, but getting stopped from hitting random traffic can only be forgiven so many times. Cops seem to spawn out of thin air and if you have a helicopter chasing you, be prepared for a lengthy chase that always tends to drag on with unfair and unbalanced cops that seem to have the ability to catch up to you and ram you whenever they feel like.

Even worse is the Takedown missions. After a single one of the missions I dreaded them every time they were next on the list to progress the campaign further. These missions have you chasing a target who is on a set path that you need to ram a few times to stop his vehicle. Problem is it can be completely broken at times. Because they race on a scripted path, you’ll fail numerous times and have to simply learn where to cut corners or gain some ground to inflict the needed hits to take them down. When you actually do hit them though, you’ll be lucky if it actually registers and does damage. Also, don’t be so happy when you ram them head on or into a wall, as it’s all based on the number of hits they need to be stopped, not the damage done in a percentage form, it’s silly and frustrating.

When you go through the campaign missions make sure to do so with a friend, as it will take much of the frustration away, as doing these particular missions with numerous players makes it much easier. Teaming up with a crew almost makes the game too easy though, as the mission will complete as long as one of the crew finishes in first or completes the objective. So that means you can have your friend that’s really good at the game essentially finish it for you as long as you play together simply because you’re in the same crew.

Impressively, the game map is quite huge and there’s no loading at all when you’re driving, even from one coast to the next. Given that The Crew is set in an online persistent world, you do need to be online to play, even if you want to play alone, and this has some issues which I’ll get into shortly. The idea is that you can simply invite other racers and friends nearby to join your crew and race together either in missions, skills, or simply exploring the open road.

If you don’t feel like replaying one of the frustrating campaign missions, you can test your abilities in any of the hundreds of mini-games called skills scattered throughout almost every road across the country. Once you drive through them they trigger and you’ll need to either slalom, speed, hill climb, land a jump, or other specific tasks in a set area. Doing so earns you XP, money, and car parts and they can be repeated as many times as you like to either earn a better medal or to simply grind for levels or money. Since you’re always connected, you’ll constantly be updating the leaderboards and can easily see how you compare against your friends at any of these skill tests.

Completing campaign missions or skills earns you car parts, and the better medal you earn, the better car part you’ll earn. The catch which isn’t explained at all and I learned the hard way is that when you complete a skill challenge and earn a car part, it’s only for the car you’re currently in. If you eventually start swapping between multiple vehicles, you’re going to have to do some skill grinding to earn better car parts (and thus raiding your car’s individual level). I was excited to finally be able to use my Dodge Viper only to find out it was a much lower level than my starter car because I’ve not earned any parts while in the Viper. You’ll hit random difficulty spikes that will require you to grind for better parts just so you can progress, so it can become quite a chore if you have multiple cars.

Once you begin the game you’ll be given an initial choice of a handful of cars, but be warned, you’ll be living in this vehicle for quite some time. As you gain levels you’ll eventually be able to unlock new specs for your cars (street, raid, dirt, performance, etc) and your initial car can be switched to any of the specs once unlocked where bought cars are usually only able to be changed into certain specs, usually two or so. As you earn cash you can eventually buy new cars or visual upgrades for your cars, but even when I was in the final stages of the campaign, I never had enough money to blindly waste on cars of overly expensive vinyl decorations. Part of this is become of the Crew Credits system that is built in, essentially microtransactions. Would you like to purchase this car for in-game money you’ve earned or simply pay a few bucks for Crew Credits and have it now? You don’t earn cash enough for it to be your main viable source, so it feels as if the Crew Credits system was favored highly instead. There are even perks that you can spend points on, but if you want to, you can purchase more perks with Crew Credits; it’s disappointing as there’s no way to do this without opening your wallet. Joining one of the games factions will earn you some Crew Credits, but once they are gone be prepared to shell out more real cash to get more.

Speaking of factions, most missions takes you maybe five to ten minutes to complete, but faction races are a whole other beast in itself. These online races can be simple objectives, but some of these races last well over two hours. TWO HOURS. Prey you don’t lose connection to the game servers while doing so or it’s all for naught. Sitting in last place for over an hour isn’t all that fun.

Speaking of losing connection to the game servers, be prepared to have that happen (at least as of this writing) numerous times. Since you are forced to be online to play, the moment you lose a connection to their servers, of your fault or theirs, you’re booted back out to the main menu and lose any progress you’ve made in whatever mission you were racing in. Now imagine working on a Takedown mission being repeated over and over, you finally take him down and just before it goes to save, the game crashes to the main menu. I’ve had this happen numerous times and I can’t even tell you the amount of anger that I was filled with. I’ve also had the game randomly disconnect me from my Crew, have me unable to send them invites even though we’re in party chat talking, and other issues that are connection related.

I have no issue with a game needing me to be online to play when it’s needed, but I don’t see any reason it’s needed with The Crew. I get that the idea is to place you with people nearby, but the game doesn’t automatically populate your races with others nearby or fill your crew. You have to do everything manually, and I’ve tried inviting session players to hundreds of different missions, only to never have anyone accept, not once. Maybe they aren’t getting invites, as I’ve never received a non-friend invite to any race either, so possibly it’s a server issue. That being said, for an online only racer, it feels incredibly isolated aside from seeing the odd person drive by here and there.

While I was initially enjoying the game, the more I saw its missions structure, odd design choices (why can’t I use unused parts I’ve earned for other cars I own), and microtransactions, my enjoyment kept fading the more I played. Even playing with friends I was hitting random difficulty spikes that just felt completely unfair with the highly unbalanced AI. I did enjoy having hundreds of the skill challenges all throughout the country, but they are quick and is a lot of repetition. Almost without fail it takes me three or four tries to load the game from the main menu, as I don’t get a response from the server almost every time. I’m sure this is just a hiccup at launch, but it’s a huge issue when it’s an online only game. Almost every car and spec feels way too slippery and the in-game sounds and engines feel completely flat.

If you have a group of friends that are all picking up the game and are willing to play together, you’ll probably enjoy The Crew much more, but if you don’t or simply are wanting to play alone, it becomes very tedious and challenging for the wrong reasons. The Crew has a lot of great aspiring ideas but feels like it’s constantly falling short, especially in the dull campaign that drags on way too long, and that’s not even factoring in the aggravation of constant server issues I’ve had every day since playing.

Overall: 5.8 / 10
Gameplay: 5.0 / 10
Visuals: 6.5 / 10
Sound: 6.0 / 10


Site Statistics

Registered Members: 43,984
Forum Posts: 725,139
Xbox One Titles: 655
Xbox 360 Titles: 1,084
Xbox 360 Kinect Titles: 95
Xbox 360 Arcade Titles: 583
Xbox Titles: 847
Staff Reviews: 1,448
Member Reviews: 10,339
News Articles: 13,078
Screenshots: 28,839
Xbox 360 Achievements: 45,112
Xbox 360 Faceplates: 2,016
Cheat Codes: 1,706

Latest News

See News Archives

Community Forum Activity

GOW 4 Horde Credit and XP Earn Rate Updates
Post by Nato King
1 Replies, 47 Views

Post by Nato King
1 Replies, 55 Views

Red Dead Redemption 2 releasing Fall 2017
Post by Nato King
5 Replies, 109 Views

Xbox One S Protoype Zebra
Post by oryanphine
3 Replies, 144 Views

Xbox One South Korea Edition Limitee Mother Pearl
Post by oryanphine
1 Replies, 90 Views

Xbox One Official China Edition limitee Lunar New Year Monkey 2016
Post by oryanphine
2 Replies, 101 Views

Xbox Play Anywhere Set up.
Post by Nato King
6 Replies, 168 Views

CONTEST! Win a copy of Worms W.M.D.!
Post by Variation-XBA
9 Replies, 323 Views

The Gears of War 4 Live Broadcast Airs Today
Post by Nato King
7 Replies, 207 Views

Post by Nato King
9 Replies, 258 Views

Spoiler: First 12mintues of Battlefield 1
Post by Nato King
9 Replies, 241 Views

Custom Xbox Addict Controller!
Post by Variation-XBA
8 Replies, 320 Views

Post by BananaMan
5 Replies, 274 Views

Post by Nato King
7 Replies, 263 Views

Club for Forza Horizon 3
Post by TheOutcast-XBA
9 Replies, 1157 Views

© 2000-2016 - All rights reserved. All trademarks are properties of their respective owners.
Xbox is a registered trademark of Microsoft. is not affiliated with Microsoft.

Made in Canada
Site Design by Cameron Graphics