Ubisoft’s The Crew originally launched over a year ago on December 2nd 2014 and right from the off disappointed a lot of those who anticipated it, we know we were one of them. Since then, Ubisoft have gone back to the drawing board and released a huge update, completely overhauling the gameplay and graphics. But is it enough to win the hearts of those it let down during its first year?
The reality of the situation is that it’ll probably never get the chance, The Crew was always an amazing concept, a huge, online, open world, massively multiplayer driving game featuring key locations across the USA, what’s not to love about that? Unfortunately the execution was SO poor that many initial fans of the game have been scared off the experience as well as from Ubisoft titles… Altogether, and I’m one of them. The graphics were a far cry from what we expect from “next-generation” technology and the handling model seemed to have been ripped straight from WatchDogs, another hideously overhyped Ubisoft title that disappointed it’s fan-base. In fact, The Crew was so terrible, that retailers in the United Kingdom at least, dropped the price by as much as 50% in a hope to shift stock.
That’s in the past and Ubisoft quickly realized that drastic action was required, going back was clearly the only way forward and on November 17th, they released The Crew: Wild Run DLC alongside the much-needed update.
I’m happy to report that The Crew is now an entirely different experience as a result of this update but, and it’s a big, fully bodied, well-rounded but. That but comes in the form of The Crew’s competition, both the Xbox One, PS4 and PC all now have plenty to choose from when it comes to driving experiences. The newly release Need for Speed, Forza Horizon, Project CARS and Driveclub have all been commended for being great titles within the genre and while The Crew has scale on its side, the mechanics still aren’t good enough to make it a good enough driving game to be recommended over one of its rivals. And don’t even get us started on the cheesy story “driving” the campaign. Pun intended.
There are so good points to concede however, so on that basis, we’ll end this little first impressions piece on a high note. The Crew’s graphics can now be deemed somewhat acceptable when you consider the strain this sort of game might have on the hardware. The map is utterly massive and littered with events and challenges, that mean you’re never short of things to do. Variety is always a difficult thing to get out of a driving game but Ubisoft have done well to host multiple disciplines within the genre, this helps keep everything fresh which can never be considered as anything but a good thing. The fact that this game is always online is also positive from my perspective as well, coming across other players and inviting them into your events does give the game a good competitive element though I know a lot of people with less reliable connections will disagree. Customization was never an issue The Crew, Ubisoft have done a great job when it comes to the way you upgrade and tune your vehicle, this aspect again shows the scale the developers wanted to achieve with this game. In fact, I’d go as far to say that The Crew is a class-leading, in terms of the upgrading and customization system, the range of available cars to use this feature with could however be better.
In conclusion, I can’t really make my mind up, on the one hand The Crew has dramatically improved, Ubisoft have achieved the mysterious art of turd polishing in that respect but it’s still lacking thanks to a terrible handling model. At this point in time I can only recommend picking this title up if you can do so for less than £20. That said I’m interested to see whether things will get better as I work my way through the story so if I change my mind in the meantime I’ll be sure to make it known in a further review.