The Crew — First Fun Street Racing Video Game in a While
I first heard of The Crew a little while back. I don’t remember exactly when, but I know it caught my eye for two main reasons. One, it was a street racing game, which is one of my favorite game genres; and I was excited about this one because there hasn’t been a good street racing game in a really long time. The other reason I was excited about this game when I first heard about it was the fact that they claimed that you’d be able to drive on basically any street in America. I’m from a medium-sized town, about 75,000 people, so I was looking forward to being able to drive through my town.
Unfortunately, not everything in the game lived up to the hype I had for it in my mind. You begin the game doing a race to Detroit. I’m from Michigan, and since it’s an open-world game, I figured at the first chance I got I’d head towards my hometown. Unfortunately, though, there doesn’t seem to be a way to get there. You can tell that not every place is available because even when you look at the map, it doesn’t look quite right. Not all of Michigan is there, and Texas and Louisiana don’t look quite right. The map is an abridged version of America. I understand, if they made it to scale it would be impossible to do all of the driving that you have to do in the game, but it shouldn’t advertise as being able to drive on “every street in America”. Other than that, it’s still a lot of fun. It’s the first really fun street racing game I’ve played in a long time.
Playing The Game
I first got a taste of this game while I was out in Los Angeles. I was playing on my cousins PS4 when I noticed that the demo was available. I told him about it and that it looked really fun, so we downloaded it. The first thing I noticed is that the handling of the vehicles is really tough. I don’t know if it’s realistic or not, but it takes some getting used to. It bothered me initially, but I knew that as I played, it would come more natural.
If you’re not sure about the premise of the game, (mild, beginning of the game Spoilers ahead) you play as Alex, the brother of Dayton. Dayton started the 5-10’s, and was their leader, until he got murdered by a guy who wanted to take over. You were framed for the murder, and spent 5 years in prison. Once you get out is when the game actually starts. You’re working with an FBI agent named Zoe and you have to earn your way up the 5-10’s, eventually becoming leader yourself, so that you can take down both the guy who murdered your brother and the crooked FBI agent who framed you.
You earn your rank up the 5-10 ladder by completing different objectives. It’s not all racing, and even the races vary in a lot of ways. There’s times when you’re on a track, sometimes it’s off-road, sometimes it’s on the city streets, and sometimes it’s a combination. Some of the races you have to get from point A to point B faster than the other guys, sometimes it’s a time trial, sometimes it’s a lap race, and I’ve even done a drag race.
Though most of the game is racing, it isn’t always. The game is kept pretty fresh by throwing in a mix of other objectives. Sometimes you have to take down a fleeing car by ramming it, sometimes you have to destroy boxes that are lying around an area, and sometimes you just have to keep up with someone who is trying to get away.
The map is split up into different regions, and as you progress through the game, and go to different regions, you unlock more people to add to your crew. These people unlock bonuses that you can spend Perk Points on that’ll help you along the way. You can get things such as the ability to unlock more Perk Points, earn more money and XP from each race, better car handling, discounts on cars and parts, and more. I started with the perks that allowed me to get more XP & money, and then the one that allowed me to potentially get more Perk Points. Hopefully this’ll be the fastest way to getting the most out of the game.
There is a lot of driving in this game, outside of the races. When you finish in one area of the world, the next set of missions are in another section and usually you’ll have to drive there. It seems as though the game prides itself on being able to have you take cross-country road trips. If you don’t want to drive, you can go to train stations or airports and be taken to a new city immediately, but that costs a fee.
I don’t mind driving, though. On the road, there are many different skills challenges that you can complete that’ll give you more money, XP, and performance parts. Jumps, slalom, staying on a line, driving as fast as you can while staying on the road, outrunning a growing “blip”, smashing through targets, and squeezing through increasingly smaller targets are all skill challenges that are available. It keeps the long drives fresh, and gives you an incentive to drive instead of taking a plane/train because you’re able to increase your level.
There are police in the game, and you can get bonuses for escaping them. It’s hard to get them to chase you, though. You have to pretty much directly hit them to even get 1 star. The best way to get away from a large amount of police is just waiting until something comes up in-game.
There are 5 different ways you can tune your car, and each mission requires a car tuned a certain way. The 5 different ways are:
- Street – Made for going fast down the road
- Dirt – For mostly off-road driving with some road
- Perf – Similar to street, but faster and can handle turns better
- Raid – Best for completely offroad
- Circuit – Built for the track
Some cars are only able to be tuned a couple of the ways, and other cars can be tuned in all 5 ways. You have to make the decision of whether you want to buy a new car to tune it, or if you just want to tune the car you’re currently using a different way. There really isn’t a downside to tuning your current car, as you can always go back and forth between the different types with no penalty. You don’t even have to change car types before hand. If you try to take a Street tuned car to a race that requires a Dirt tuned car, the game will automatically switch to your Dirt car with the highest level.
Each mission that you do gives you a new performance part that can be added to your car that should increase the level. You can add the part on the fly, there’s no need to go to your HQ (garage) to equip it. If, for whatever reason, the new part doesn’t increase the level of your car, you can just send it straight to HQ. This means, unlike previous street racing games, you don’t have to go into a garage periodically and buy and equip individual parts yourself. It’s nice if you want to focus on the racing, but if you want to spend a lot of time customizing your car, there really isn’t a way.
Speaking of customizing the car. The visual customization aspect leaves something to be desired. You’re able to select from a range of colors, and can even do 2-toned if you’d like, as well as change things such as the front and rear bumpers, side skirts, hood, mirrors, spoiler and interior. It seems like there is a lot you can customize, but the amount of choices in each section isn’t that great. Each car has a different set of things you can change on the car, some have more and some have less, so it takes some playing around, but there isn’t the really deep customization option that other franchises have.
There are also stickers that can be applied to the cars, to add some individuality. Unfortunately, though, there are only 30 sets of stickers and they’re preset. You aren’t able to add anything or take anything away from them. They have to be applied as is. All of the stickers are pretty gaudy as well; featuring claw marks, or pictures of animals or having a spider web across your entire car, etc. This isn’t a bad thing, per se, but I just don’t see myself putting that kind of decal on a Ferrari or Bentley. There doesn’t seem to be a way to just put like a simple racing stripe across the car.
One thing I noticed, is that there isn’t a difficulty setting. I realized though, that each race’s difficulty depends on the level of your car. As you progress through the game and do different missions and skill challenges, not only does your level increase, but your car’s level increases as well. Before each mission, it shows you the recommended car level. The higher above the recommended car level that you’re at, the easier the race will be and vice versa. If you’re too far below the recommended level, you’ll get in-game calls saying that you shouldn’t attempt that race.
The social aspect of this game is really cool too. There’s always other players in the world with you driving around. You can drive up to them, honk at them etc. I sometimes like to just crash into other players for no reason to see if they’ll chase me. Before most missions, you can choose to play them co-op. This will send a notification to all other players in your game, asking them if they want to complete that mission with you. If you get people in, you all play at the same time, taking some of the pressure off of you to win.
You can also compete against other players. There are spots on the map that you can travel to and start a PVP match. Usually it’s just a race with you against other players. They don’t regulate these matches though. I started one just to see how it was, early in the game. My car was a level 175 at the time. The cars I were racing against were 753, 1050, and 1205. I somehow managed to come in third, but it was a fluke, and I decided I’m not going to do PVP matches anymore until I have a lot higher level car.
Overall, I’m really enjoying this game! Driving around, avoiding traffic, racing people, and making my car look awesome can hold my attention for hours. I’m excited to finish it up to see what else it has in store for me. And i’m looking forward to buying that Bentley Continental GT!
Thanks for reading! Let us know in the comments if you’ve played The Crew and what you think about it, and don’t forget to hit a couple of those share buttons below. When you’re ready to take your gaming to the next level, just enter your name and email address above and you’ll be able to download your FREE copy of Winning at Video Games, which gives you 8 actionable tips to help you get better today!