Have You Played… The Crew?

A lonely car considers its options in a world made for human beings

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

The Crew [official site] isn’t a great racing game. The car handling of this open world “MMO racer” isn’t great, there’s UI vomited at you from every corner of the screen, and it launched with so many problems that we never actually gave it a full review. It annoyed John a lot. But Ubisoft have this thing they do. Step 1: Release a mediocre game. Step 2: Make one hundred sequels of it. Thus, The Crew 2.

I’m being cranky. It’s really a good thing, because the first game still had something wonderful to it – a scaled down map of the United States complete with well-known landmarks like the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley. That alone was enough of a hook to make Adam and I embark on a cross-country race (but, er, only during a free weekend). Nevertheless, the school of incremental improvements of which Ubi is so fond will doubtless get applied to this sequel. And that’s good good.

It would have been nice if they’d expanded into a new territory, though, rather than sticking to the U, S and A. I’m not totally sold on the need for airplanes, either. But if they can just sort the handling of the cars, get people connected easily and swiftly, and dial back the usual Ubi busy-ness, I’d happily take another long drive across the States.

22 Comments

  1. Paul says:

    Yes, I played over 120 hours of Crew. It made me buy a racing wheel (T-150) and eventually get a driver’s license. Sure, physics could be better (Forza Horizon 3 is perfect at that), collision model needs reworking, mirrors should be functional etc, but there is simply nothing like this. Driving for 90 minutes from LA to NY with a wheel (which works perfectly) from cockpit view with HUD completely disabled listening to great ambient soundtrack is something that never quite got old for me. I wish Forza Horizon 4 would have much bigger world closer to Crew, or the SCS guys released nontruck car game based in their world recreations. But until then, Crew it is. And hopefully Crew 2 improves the weaker edges.

    • cqdemal says:

      In the same boat here, although I never actually bought a wheel despite flirting with the idea many times. I’m at 290 hours and nothing on earth will stop me from playing the sequel.

  2. AutonomyLost says:

    Yep, wasn’t great.

  3. bill says:

    I went on a real long drive across the states a long time back.. Route 66 i think, or thereabouts.

    It wasn’t as much fun as I’d been lead to believe by pop culture.
    The roads are very long and very straight, so it’s just a case of turning on cruise control and trying not to fall asleep… and then every few hours getting rudely awakened when your car goes over a massive crack in the tarmac and jolts towards the desert.

    Oh, and I forgot to take any cds so I was stuck with country music for 7 days.

    This might be better… at least in terms of music options.

    • Creeping Death says:

      I havent done it myself but you do make it sound like you did 0 planning for the trip. No stopping to see the sights? I’d never think of doing it alone either, which you make it sound like you did.

      And I cant imagine going 5 minutes up the road to the shops without music xD

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      barashkukor says:

      Did as-close-to-66-as-I-could-get from Chicago all the way to Las Vegas after my contract to work in the US was finally done in 2010. Thousands of miles of me, a shiny black Mustang and meeting up with folks along the way. I planned just a little, re-planned because Oklahoma was experiencing tornados and Old Opry was under about 2m of water and had an absolute ball.

      • spaced says:

        Sad to hear you missed the Opry during Nashville’s flood! Come back to music city and I’ll be happy to show you the sights!

    • MikoSquiz says:

      I think the pop culture cachet comes from the road being very long and straight with few cops, providing an opportunity for owners of V8 Mustangs to see how fast they can get them from 0 to 120mph and then how long they can keep it floored.

      Driving sanely, it must be the dullest road in the world.

  4. Son_of_Georg says:

    You forgot to mention the hilariously cheesy story, that I’m pretty sure was entirely written for this one great line: “We’re 5-10s. We settle things on the road.”

    Despite some frustrations, I had a lot of fun with this game for a while. The map was great. But it felt like it ran out of worthwhile things to do too quickly.

  5. Chaoslord AJ says:

    Played it, got a refund.

  6. ephesus64 says:

    I would like to like The Crew, especially if it all looked like that screenshot. Problem is,the UI is clogged with Ubi-stuff and it’s designed with an attention span of 10 seconds in mind, so there is a constant flow of bright lights, waypoint markers, and audio prompts to do something videogame-ish. Mods to remove them? I haven’t checked.

    I’ll go off the road to avoid the challenges when I can, but if I can’t avoid them I hear sad video game noises telling me I’m not playing the game well enough. Then, if you press a button at the wrong time it warps you back to the start of the same challenge.

    Okay, grousing and grumbling is over, I’ll go back to ATS and Project Cars with the other sim fanatics now. However, I do love being able to meet a friend and just go for a drive, even though he’s living in another state.

  7. widardd says:

    Tried to play it, but performance was horrible.

    Racing games with anything lower than 60 fps are horrible IMHO.

  8. foszae says:

    It was a perfectly suitable freebie (from the Ubi anniversary party). But it did set a new low of ghastliness with its plot; and that’s compared to how generally awful the plots are in racing games and movies.

  9. spilth says:

    I bought The Crew, popped it in and was enjoying the first few minutes racing through a field. I was enjoying the music, the speed and the scenery flying by!

    Then my car hit a barn silo and bounced off of it with 0 damage to my car. I didn’t play it much beyond that.

  10. April March says:

    I played it during the beta, was hella floaty. My PC wasn’t good enough to run it well, though.

    Later I got it for free during Ubisoft’s half-year giveaway, but I haven’t actually played it. I have to, one day, just to drive cross-country.

  11. malkav11 says:

    I didn’t pay much for it so I don’t feel particularly guilty that I also haven’t played it much. I’m not into cars or straight racing games so the bulk of the game doesn’t really do that much for me but I did very much appreciate the ability to roam around the scale model US and see the sights, and even though I am generally incompetent at these games, the start, at least, is gentle enough for me to be able to make some progress in the missions.

  12. Talsted says:

    I really enjoyed the actual gameplay and just tooling around on the open road. The story itself was one of the most hilariously dumb things I’ve seen in video gaming.

    “That’s right, I beat you in a street race, so now you have to leave this state forever and give me your position in the gang we belong to! And though you’re a professional criminal (and presumably have, like, a house and family here, since you live here), you’re surely going to comply with this insane demand!”

    “Gosh darnit, you’re right, I have to abandon my entire life because you beat me in a race! If only criminals were allowed to lie, or use guns. Them’s the rules!”

  13. Ericusson says:

    Am I the only one to just forego Ubisoft products completely ?
    The formula and feel of their game has always the same taste like sensation that leaves me just slightly nauseous to their approach of what a game is.

    • Dogshevik says:

      Not on purpose, but it turned out that way. Being treated like an unstable 6 year old that needed incessant nagging for even the most mundane tasks sucks the fun out of any game.

  14. Raoul Duke says:

    I tried to play it but found it almost impossible to work out what I was supposed to be doing. Also the performance was appalling and the online features super confusing and broken.