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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Review: ‘The Crew’ drags in plot, missions



    “The Crew,” a massively multiplayer online game, is one of the first driving-only games to boast that characteristic. As great as it sounds to be able to hop in a souped-up whip and drive across America with your friends, the novelty runs out faster than your car’s NOS canister does.

    This codevelopment from Ivory Tower and Ubisoft Reflections stars Alex Taylor, another Troy Baker-voiced everyman with little personality on a quest to avenge his dead brother, who was murdered by the now-leader of a national gang. It’s a typical cliche but not all that bad. Plot points seemed a little too easy but hey, I wasn’t expecting a narrative masterpiece. I came to drive.

    Too bad that was also lacking.

    That’s not to say cruising across America isn’t enjoyable. It is — for a while, at least. The few cars available actually do drive well, look good and sound great. But when it comes to content, Ubisoft made the choice of quantity over quality rather than striving for both. Yeah, Times Square looks like it should, but it isn’t Times Square. The city lacks genuine life, and this is true for nearly every unique location in the game, an issue that should have been addressed in lieu of the ability to get out of your car and explore like you can in “Grand Theft Auto.”

    For a game that plays a lot like “GTA”’s driving component, one would think the developers would focus a little more on visual authenticity where Rockstar Games had to create a whole other traversable-on-foot game. But instead, “The Crew” thus far has been a mediocre-looking experience. Yes, the more content there is the harder it is to include detail, but still. Players can’t even hit pedestrians.

    It’d be easy to assume a driving game would at least have cars, but 30 hours later, I still only own four and three of them suck. Even with the soundtrack, “The Crew” avoids quantity and quality by featuring maybe a dozen tracks which play on repeat the entire time. Kill me.

    “The Crew” is by no means an ugly game. In fact, it’s quite gorgeous, specifically when cut scenes show off the image quality next-gen consoles can produce. But it’s not as crisp as “Forza Horizon 2” or as lively, either.

    Despite the name of the game, there isn’t much of a crew to join players on their journey. Sure, there will be other players here and there, but most often they’ll just follow you around a bit or ram into you as soon as you cross paths. The few times there were players in my area actually competing in events or PvP lobbies, I did enjoy it. But these instances were seldom and getting T-boned during a slalom event by the one other guy in Miami is sadly the norm.

    Ubisoft’s problem here is that it’s created a catch-22 by giving players an expansive map with literally hundreds of events to partake in but limiting the amount of people players can see in their server to seven. Seven. The entire nation to peruse and Ubisoft only gives seven people to do it with? Go home, Roger.

    Boredom doesn’t take long to set in either. As big of a game world as “The Crew” offers, the amount of things to actually see is unfortunately meager. Even the 200-plus “monuments” players can visit each only provide a cutscene of several pan shots, no descriptions or anything. These instances and the rest of “The Crew”’s world feel empty and lazy, albeit beautiful.

    Recent titles have proven something about the way Ubisoft thinks games should be played: together. “Assassin’s Creed” has been plagued by mediocre multiplayer since “Brotherhood,” “Far Cry 4” can be played with friends who don’t even own the game and “Tom Clancy’s The Division,” slated for 2015, has been revealed as online only, as is “The Crew.” It doesn’t seem players are actually opposed to this format, but few titles have succeeded at it.

    As entertaining as it is, “The Crew” lacks in areas it should excel in following a nine-month delay and fails to improve some of the many issues Ubisoft has been pegged with in the past, namely the mind-numbingly repetitive missions. Players will have fun driving around the U.S., avenging their brother and trying to best their event rankings. However, “The Crew” isn’t topping anyone’s game of the year lists. Happy hunting.

    Follow Torsten Ward on Twitter.

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