2014 was the not the greatest year for Ubisoft. Watch Dogs over-promised and under-performed, while both Assassin’s Creed Rogue and Assassin’s Creed Unity were met with little enthusiasm. Even Far Cry 4, which has been heavily praised and is in contention for Game of the Year, had its fair share of troubles upon launch. With the year coming to close, however, Ubisoft has one final chance to finish strong with The Crew.
Taking place throughout the United States, the game features a surprisingly lengthy single-player story. Players step into the shoes of Alex Taylor, a young punk who was framed for the murder of his brother. Having spent the last five years in prison, Alex is released by an F.B.I. agent in order to infiltrate his brother’s former racing gang (The 5-10), which has since become a criminal trafficking ring. Putting his driving skills to good use, he’s looking to bring down not only the corrupt F.B.I. agent who framed him, but also the man who murdered his brother, who just so happens to be the gang’s new leader.
If you’re thinking, “Hey, doesn’t that sound a little generic?” you’re not mistaken. I know that people don’t play racing games for their deep storylines, but man, the story here is absolutely abysmal. At best it’s a rip-off of the crummy Need for Speed film, and at worst, it’s worse than Fast & Furious fan fiction. The dialogue is cheesy, the characters are awful and plot details, such as how the members of the gang get tattoos of their ranks, are embarrassing.
Even with how horrible the storyline is, I was still impressed with the sheer amount of missions that Ivory Tower brought to The Crew. The sixty-five mission-long campaign includes activities as diverse as getaways, takedowns, checkpoint races and time trials. Even if some of these mission types get repeated a little too often, things are constantly switched up due to the fact that you are traveling throughout the United States. Whether it be blazing through the streets of Chicago or traversing a rocky mountain road near Las Vegas, there is plenty of variety to be found. Unfortunately, not all of the missions are as fun as they should be though.
Two types of missions that most players will want to rip their hair out over are times where the player is tasked with either escaping the cops/gang members or attempting to run down another vehicle. The A.I. is simply ridiculous during these portions of the game, as they are incredibly aggressive and tend to be faster than you would ever hope to be. There’s no reason a regular cop car should be able to out-run my tricked-out Nissan, especially when I have a lengthy head start.
The Crew had a lot going for it, and could have been great, but countless issues prevent it from being a good game, let alone an excellent one.