Reviewers and gamers alike have had the opportunity to play The Crew for 4 days now, and the fact that we haven't seen any review from any big publication like IGN, Gamespot, Eurogamer or Polygon, tells us that they feel exactly like we do. You don't need this long to review The Crew for very simple reasons, it's clear from the outset what this will be like.
It's always a bad sign when a publisher (particularly Ubisoft, now) comes out and says that review platforms will not have a review up for the game on the launch date, in fact, it'll take about a week after it. Assassin's Creed Unity had a post launch embargo, and we know why now: the game was broken and not ready to be released.
The Crew Review for PC, Xbox One & PS4
The Crew didn't have an embargo, but Ubisoft may as well have had one in place as they didn't activate the servers until the day of launch. We were all held back from jumping into the game until everyone could jump in together. Sounds like a good idea, but here's what the USA is like in Ubisoft's The Crew: Empty.
I mean this in almost every sense of the word. There are simply not enough players to leave you feeling like you're in the world that Ubisoft may have imagined. They have placed a limit on the number of players that you can see in your immediate facility, the maximum number being 7. But that doesn't mean that they are always in your line of sight.
For most of the game you will drive around a desolate USA, one that is devoid of character or presence. The amount of AI vehicles in the game is absurdly low. You will find yourself driving through manhattan with almost no one around one of the busiest cities in the world. It looks a bit like New York yeah, I mean the buildings are tall, but it doesn't feel like a place that's alive.
This feeling transfers over to a lot of the States that you visit. They look a bit like their real life versions, but don't feel like any kind of effort was put into bringing them to life. You end up driving around a world that feels devoid of any kind of charm, yeah the graphics are pretty nice and the map is huge, but I don't enjoy traversing it.
From the opening moments of the game, I could feel like (the campaign at least) was going to be either a waste of time are unexciting to play. It's both. There are a small variety of missions in The Crew, as Ubisoft has in everyone of their games (though Far Cry 4 was the only one this year where I couldn't get enough of them! By far their best game this year and a hell of a lot fun).
You have your generic races, time trials, trick missions and so on, but they become rather tedious. You long for some kind of excitement or reinvention, but it's not to be found here. Doing these with other players isn't exactly great either, and my interaction with them in the open world has mostly been seeming them drive past me or crash into me. They're probably as bored as I am.
When it comes to driving itself, the game is certainly better than Need for Speed in terms of controls, but the game is too forgiving and doesn't give the satisfaction or feeling of control. This is particularly evident in missions where we are required to chase NPCs. Their driving is scripted, as is every other part of the world as you race in these missions, which removes the sensation of The Crew being an open world adventure.
As you speed up close to the enemy vehicle you notice that suddenly you can't pass them, they are locked at a certain pace in front of you that can only be tackled on corners. Even if you boost on a straight you won't be able to pass them out 9 times out of 10. This is extremely frustrating as your skill in the game is removed as the enemy car even slows down after you crash.
This game has been delayed since March due to a number of issues, so I can't imagine what it looked like at that time. Don't be fooled, The Crew is not bug free. I was kicked off several times during my play-throughs, even in the opening mission which required me to play it all over again.
This is the case with even an hour of progress. Suddenly you'll be met with the disconnection screen and a small part of you will die inside as you realise that the last hour has been wasted on a game that you weren't even enjoying anyway. Now its just chosen to forget that you weren't enjoying it.
Unfortunately, Ubisoft's The Crew on Xbox One and PS4, is not in any way what I want from a driving or open world game. It's landscape can be beautiful at times, and the cars do look great and sound wonderful. The level of customisation is pretty great, though there is quite a limit on the amount of cars that are available.
It's an enormous world filled with nothing to see. After playing the incredible Forza Horizon 2 earlier this year, one can't help but look at The Crew as a game that was released years ago. It feels dated, empty and I really didn't have a great time exploring its world. It may sound harsh, but I'll give Ubisoft credit where they deserve it. Far Cry 4 is an excellent open world adventure and of the best games of the year, you won't find one within The Crew, no matter how long you search for it in this huge world.
I watched IGN's review in progress (I seriously dislike these videos) and found that the reviewer didn't really play The Crew yesterday at all. He's supposed to be reviewing it! But I know why, because the game just doesn't offer anything for you to return to. Reviewers will say that Ubisoft failed, and if they don't...well...then they got a different game than I did.