For a very long time Need for Speed titles have been the only source of real racing power for millions of gamers all over the world. There were no other games alike, there were no competitors serious enough to take the lead in this list of the best racing games or, at least, become a real pain in the back. But, at a certain point something changed in Need for Speed community and with a few so-so titles they lost the popularity. At the same time, games like Grid, Gran Turismo, Test Drive Unlimited and others started to appear and kind of took a greater part of NFS fans. Today we are going to talk about the Crew – the expected racing game with unexpected surprises.
The Do’s and Don’ts of The Crew
Yes, the crew is a lot like the Test Drive Unlimited 3. It has all the great features its competitors can offer: enormous territories, great gaming community, thousands of players ready to join you at any time not to speak about the great number of cars, unique elements and a lot more. At the same time, The Crew is nothing like Test Drive Unlimited 3. Based on the dynamics, arcade game style, navigation and controls, The Crew has more in common with Forza Horizon and Burnout Paradise. By all means, these are great examples to follow and to have something in common with but those who search the pure Test Drive Unlimited 3 feeling, probably, won’t like the game or, at least, will have to spend some time looking for comfortable gameplay settings.
The Amazingly Big World of The Crew
The Crew can definitely boast with the biggest open world possible among racing games. If you need a comparison, it has more space than Liberty City and GTA IV. The greater part is that the Crew allows us to discover the most popular cities of the US and if the intel is right, there will be 12 of them (probably, new cities will come with DLC or won’t, if the weather is bad). Sure, it can’t beat the Fuel with its almost endless roads but at the same time, unlike Fuel, the Crew has truly dynamic gameplay with interesting tasks, sightseeing and else. In order to cross the US map from the New York City to Seattle, you will definitely have to spend 2 hours or real time. Of course, your time will definitely depend on your car and the way you drive (taking highways is faster, taking offroads makes things complicated) but in general – it won’t be that easy.
On the other hand, the Crew kind of misses the true-to-life scale of modern cities of America. Unlike Test Drive Unlimited 2, where Ibiza and Oahu are copied 1 to 1, the territory of the United States was shrank from 5000 to 135 kilometers between Eastern and Western coasts. Never the less, it’s still a lot more than in Test Drive Unlimited 2. Frankly speaking, making things very realistic sometimes might harm the game. At first, any game should be interesting to play and if you can do the very same things you are allowed to do in a real life, it gets boring. To my opinion, every game has to have something more than just a copy of the real life situation. Luckily, the Crew is definitely the one.
The Atmosphere of The Crew
Big distances are not the only thing that surprise every time you ride the roads of the Crew. Extremely high attention to the details makes another great difference. The Crew has the most advanced graphical features that make every race look realistic and interesting to ride. And it’s not about roads or locations only. It seems like every single place became an interactive part of the city with the opportunity to enjoy it’s interactivity anytime you are bored. Crowded street cafes, dears running in the woods, fish swimming in small streams, garbage bags lying here and there, bicycles left at the doorsteps and a lot more. Riding the streets of every city does bring you the feeling of life and action. It does seem like these are simple decorations that do not influence the racing process itself but playing the Crew without them would definitely feel different.
Mix the high details with realistic graphics like in Project Cars or Gran Turismo 6, add cinematic and dramatic elements, beautiful sunsets and sunrises and you are going to get the Crew. Without any effort the Crew definitely steals the first place in the Best Looking Racing Game of the year from Need for Speed Rivals and even I, a big NFS fan, confirm it with no regrets. Riding the roads of the US always feels special. Every time you have a spare minute, your fingers slow the car down and you start riding the streets, watching the views and parking at the special places. For a number of times I caught myself riding with no particular aim leaving all the tasks and missions behind. On the top of that, the game itself kind of motivates you to do this stuff by giving you long-lasting tasks with no time limits or other restrictions. That’s kind of cool.
The Crew and The Plot
Yes, the Crew does have a plot. A pretty standard one, the one you can find in movies from the B category: motivated streetracers, bad cops and seek for revenge. Following a good tradition, you will be asked to join the group of streetracers, win their trust and climb the racing ladder by winning every single race. There is nothing that should surprise you in the matter of scenario but it does surprise you with the way it’s made, with cinematic scenes, great voicing and camera work. It’s like watching a movie and being a part of it at the same time. You can never forget it! On the top of that, you can leave everything behind and head to the other side of the country right after the prologue. The only thing that will force you to get back will be the need to get a better car in order to take part in the competition.
Conclusions on the Crew
As I’ve said before, the Crew is a very big game. Probably, even bigger than you can imagine. On the top of all the great stuff mentioned above, it also allows you to customize your cars the way you like it and does it in a very special manner. After adding even the smallest possible detail, you do start feeling special. Customizing the inside and the outside of your vehicles has never been so fun – you have my word for that. Sure, the Crew has some problems with the multiplayer, some strange arcade feeling and strange physics, but it is still highly recommended to give it a try. What I can tell for sure, even those who are not into racing games are going to enjoy playing it a lot.