Gary plays…The Crew

Since changing blogs, I’m not too sure how to write about games. At the moment, I’m just trying to play as much as I can, try and work my way through my backlog and get into a groove of completing games while rambling on this blog. I think The Crew is a good place to start after my Monopoly session last week. It’s not a game I really want to complete to be honest, it’s just a game on my ‘clear PS4 hard drive space’ list. I have a ton of PS4 games I got from PSN’s monthly free games taking up my hard drive, to the point where I can’t download any more. It’s time to start a purge…

I’d forgotten I had The Crew on my PS4 hard drive, if I’m being honest. When I drafted my post about dealing with games backlog, that was the first time I had thought about The Crew in months.

When I wrote my Art of Redress blog, The Crew was always on my list of games to play as I wanted to complete the daft challenge of driving across the USA. As time went on, I forgot about it and it just sat on my PS4’s hard drive. Now I’m running out of space, I’m thinking I should play it to see if it is possible to drive across the US. I’m sure I read somewhere that it takes around four hours?

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So I load up The Crew and am greeted with a completely different title screen to what I remembered. I think this sort of thing is one of the reasons I never took to The Crew – it’s too confusing to keep up with what is happening with the game. There is all sorts of DLC, expansion packs, game modes, cars, online players….I have no idea what is going on. It’s like the programmers of The Crew looked at Burnout Paradise and thought “You know what, this isn’t confusing enough, let’s add lots of stuff and never really explain it.”

I think Calling All Units is a downloadable game mode where you can race against the police or something similar. I honestly have no clue – the game never explains this at any point, which if Ubisoft were trying to sell the mode, is a bad idea. To be honest, I’m not even sure if I’m playing the full version of The Crew or if this version is a deal where you get to play for a few hours before it expires. Again, the game doesn’t really explain anything.

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Once I navigate The Crew’s loading screens and skip past all it’s confusing talk of modes, I’m dumped straight back into the game. Zoe (who if I remember correct, helped my character Alex escape jail…or something) tries to set me a mission, but I just ignore her and begin driving like an idiot. as fast and as far away as possible. To be fair, The Crew’s plot seems a bit too Need For Speed for me, all this ‘cars involved in crime’ stuff goes over my head. Also, Zoe asked me to do the mission as a favour, so that means I don’t have to actually do it.

My first impressions of The Crew after not playing it for over a year aren’t great; maybe I’ve been spoiled by newer games, but The Crew doesn’t look all that great to me. It could definitely pass for a 360/PS3 game, in my uneducated opinion. The controls are good, but there’s nothing really distinguishing The Crew from any other racing game. I could lie and tell you the screenshot is from ‘Need For Speed: Adrenaline Rush’ on the PS3..I reckon most people would buy it. You know, if I’d not said I was lying.

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Tired of driving around randomly, I bring up the map and try to plan my route across the States. I literally want to drive across America, so the starting point of the Midwest really doesn’t help. I want to start on the east coast and drive across the country, ending up on the West Coast. I begin to plan a route across the country, starting in Salem (the nearest place I can see to Boston on the map), then heading to New York,  driving across the country to Las Vegas, then onto either Seattle or LA.

If you’re wondering why I want to drive across America, I guess it’s just my love of American culture. America has influenced me greatly, from bands to TV to wrestling and sports. I’ve enjoyed my trips to North America too (Orlando as a kid, Vegas twice and Toronto) and enjoyed the atmosphere, the people and the food…especially the food. I want to go to America at some point again, but I’m not sure when the chance will arise. Sometimes, I dream about an American city tour when I’m retired, just going to various cities to attend ice hockey games and eat Shake Shack.

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Sorry, where was I? Ah, yeah the roadtrip. Unfortunately, The Crew has other ideas and just keeps dumping me back in the same place and even worse, keeps asking me to complete it’s challenges. ‘Jump this gap’, ‘Race through these checkpoints’, ‘Eat ten Dairy Milk bars’ (fine, the last one is just wishful thinking). There are all sorts of random challenges and none of them appeal to me at all. When I play driving games, I just want to drive, not attempt wacky jumps or try and hit a few icons on a road.

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I’m getting more and more frustrated as I realize that The Crew isn’t letting me drive to Salem to start my challenge; it just keeps dumping me in the Midwest so I’m driving around in circles. My route to Salem disappears every time I load up the map and I’m starting to smell a rat. A bit of internet research confirms that you can drive across the US in 40 – 50 minutes if you have the full game. I think that I just have the Calling All Units expansion pack, so I’m confined to the Midwest. I’m not 100% sure on that, but I definitely can’t leave the Midwest at the moment.

I can’t remember clearly, but I’m sure that I owned The Crew for a while, hence why I get confused between the different versions of the game. As my only real interest in playing The Crew is wanting to drive across the USA, there is no real need to pursue this version of The Crew any further. I can delete it from my hard drive and move onto the next game. Not sure which game yet, I need to organise my backlog into some sort of order. At present, the only order I have is ‘big pile of unplayed games’…I think I need a better system….

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Author: Gary Heneghan

I write about video games and wrestling at https://gamesandgrappling.game.blog/ and moonlight as the The Hopeful Sega Mage at https://thewellredmage.com/

7 thoughts on “Gary plays…The Crew”

  1. The Crew is set up like an MMO in that there is a base game you need to play at all, and then there are two expansion packs on top of that. First came Wild Run, which added a bunch of offroad events and monster trucks and stuff like that, then came Calling All Units, which added some additional police-related stuff. It’s not actually that complicated — think how Burnout Paradise added Big Surf Island later.

    Like an MMO, The Crew updates with the new title screen for the latest expansions even if you don’t actually own those expansions, which is where the confusion for some people might lie. But anyone who ever played an actual MMO (which The Crew really wants to be, but really isn’t) will be familiar with this practice already — WoW has been doing it since the beginning. The reason it does this at all is that even if you don’t own the expansion, you’ll be able to see elements from it such as new cars and suchlike — for example, say you don’t own Wild Run but another player owns a monster truck from that expansion. You’ll still be able to see that monster truck and the data will be in the game; there’ll just be some flags set that mean you can’t purchase a monster truck of your own.

    The Crew is a typical Ubisoft game in that it kind of forces you through some early missions before you’re really let loose in the open world, so that was probably the issue you were running into. I played the game for maybe 10 hours or so and had no problem driving anywhere I wanted to, and all the challenges you describe are completely optional — just don’t drive through the gates that start them!

    I enjoyed my time with the game; not enough to want to see it through to completion or purchase the expansions (I think I got the base game free when Ubisoft was giving it away on PC a while back), but it scratched a bit of a Project Gotham itch that I hadn’t had satisfied for quite a while.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Pete, that makes more sense now!

      Not sure I have the motivation to play a ton of missions just to drive across the country. I do usually ignore the challenges, but I feel like I’m constantly saying no to the game!

      Not played much Project Gotham, but I think I prefer it to The Crew. My issue with The Crew is it’s kinda generic, nothing really stands out about it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The Crew suffers a bit from Ubisoft’s trademark open-world bloat in that they felt the need to fill the map with objective markers to give it a “reason to exist” beyond just looking nice.

        Oddly, the idea of there being some sort of appeal to just driving around and looking at things clearly occurred to someone on the team at some point, since there are all the collectible “viewpoints” or whatever they were called, rewarding exploration and seeing the sights all around the map. They just rammed so much other stuff in there it’s hard to maintain focus sometimes.

        That’s probably why you liked Project Gotham more; the fact it didn’t unfold in an open-world environment and instead used completely discrete events gives it a strong sense of structure and progression.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That”s true on Project Gotham and most racing games to be honest, I feel like they need linear progression otherwise they get confusing.

        I haven’t played many Ubisoft games, but I’d heard about their bloated world’s. It’s a bit much for me, as you say I struggled to focus on what to do!

        Like

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