Review

The Crew: Wild Run Edition Review

  • First Released Dec 1, 2014
    released
  • PS4

Mild in the streets.

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Ambition has never been an issue for The Crew. When it launched last December, Ubisoft's open world "carPG" attempted to provide players the opportunity to drive across the entire continental United States with a full squad of friends, competing in a wide variety of events like traditional circuit races and chaotic desert raids along the way. Unfortunately, much of the game's potential went unrealized. The world map--while indeed massive--led to hours of empty commuting through bland environments. The online multiplayer's myriad technical issues crippled its cooperative aspirations. Even the driving felt too floaty to offer much satisfaction. The Crew, in short, was disappointing, especially given how appealing its original aims were.

Now, just shy of 12 months later, Ubisoft has released the Wild Run expansion, and like the original, it bursts with ambition, building out the base game with motorcycles, monster trucks, drag and drift builds, new licensed vehicles, dynamic weather, visual upgrades throughout, game-wide physics adjustments, and a massive on-going online competition called The Summit. With such an impressive suite of new opportunities on offer, it's painful to report execution once again undermines ambition.

Wild Run exists as both DLC and a total package disc that includes the full game and a Wild Run download code.
Wild Run exists as both DLC and a total package disc that includes the full game and a Wild Run download code.

Admirably, several of Wild Run's broadest updates are available to all players, not just those who purchase the expansion (if you already own The Crew, your game most likely updated itself last week). Chief among these: upgraded graphics and physics, as well as all new weather effects. And while each objectively improves its previous iteration, The Crew as a whole continues to trail behind the competition. Take the dynamic weather: During the dozen or so hours I spent driving around Wild Run, I encountered only moderate rain. That's an improvement over the complete absence of weather in the base game, but honestly, it's hard to get excited about some underwhelming white dots that vaguely resemble rain drops refracting headlight beams.

To the game's credit, wet streets noticeably change your cars' traction thanks to the improved physics and handling. Every vehicle now reacts more believably to user inputs, making the simple act of driving a bit more enjoyable than it had been previously. This update doesn't resolve every issue, though. At times, it still feels like cars aren't even touching the road but rather gliding on top of it. Most of the subtle sounds and visual cues that make games like Forza satisfying remain absent here. Same can be said of the visuals: Issues like assets that pop into existence as you approach them have been resolved, but textures are still bland and uniform while objects like pedestrian cars still feel oddly boxy and unrealistic. The Crew finally looks like a current-gen game, but it's still deeply unimpressive compared to something like Need For Speed.

All Crew players receive updated physics, graphics, and weather, but if you want bikes and dragsters, you'll have to buy Wild Run.
All Crew players receive updated physics, graphics, and weather, but if you want bikes and dragsters, you'll have to buy Wild Run.

You could argue The Crew's dated graphics are an inevitable consequence of its incredible scope, but its open world is still more of a nuisance than an asset, especially for new players who can't fast travel to undiscovered areas. Wild Run attempts to assuage the potential tedium of cross-country commuting by introducing FreeDrive Stunts, an anywhere, anytime mode that throws randomized goals at players. On-demand mini-objectives are a fine idea, but the objectives themselves--drive on the wrong side of the road for 800 yards, near-miss 15 vehicles, and so on--are forgettable at best and impossible at worst. How can you jump a certain distance within a time limit when there are no ramps around? Similarly, FreeDrive Challenge--which allows players to quickly drop checkpoints on the world map to create ad-hoc events--is an amazing idea that falls apart in practice because it's only available while players are participating in in a co-op Crew. If you're playing solo or can't keep random internet players around long enough, you'll never see a FreeDrive Challenge in action.

Fortunately, Wild Run's new vehicle specs prove a bit more reliable--and yes, I do mean "specs." For the uninitiated, The Crew allows players to select a variety of tuning profiles that automatically equip your chosen vehicle with everything it needs to rip up the streets or the race track or the untamed wilderness. Wild Run introduces three new specs that can be added to many of the game's existing cars: drift, drag, and monster truck. Drift and drag cars are so unruly--fishtailing wildly in every direction--they're nearly impossible to use outside of the extremely limited number of events specifically designed for those specs. Within those events, however, they work well and add even more variety to The Crew's already impressive collection of race types.

Drag events are simple but satisfying: Players must rev their engines to fill a meter to exactly the right level, then match prompts while accelerating and shifting. There's not much to it, but if you're looking to test your timing and push The Crew's speed limit, you now have a new best option. Drift events, as you might expect, ask players to rack up points by chaining drifts together within a time limit. Thankfully, the scoring system is a bit more generous than the comparable Need For Speed, but the handling never quite clicked for me, too loose and fiddly to feel truly satisfying. Overall, drift trials deepen The Crew but may not fully scratch your drift itch.

The Summit adds some new areas, but most events utilize previously existing portions of the world.
The Summit adds some new areas, but most events utilize previously existing portions of the world.

Monster trucks and the newly added motorcycles, on the other hand, are a total blast no matter where you drive them. As you might expect, motorcycles are fast and nimble, which presents a welcome contrast to many of The Crew's more sluggish vehicles. The real winners here, though, are the monster trucks. It's hard not to love hilariously oversized tires that let you roll over just about everything in your path, especially when they're attached to something like a Fiat. Monster trucks also bring with them massive Trackmania-style arenas, which are basically big, ridiculous skateparks for monster trucks. Not much can match the joy of pulling double backflips on a half-pipe in a Ford Raptor.

Unfortunately, I was only able to find monster truck events within the new month-long, Burning-Man-meets-autosports competition called The Summit. Given that the competition consists of weekly qualifiers leading up to a final Summit at the end of each month, we'll get just one new monster truck event per week at this current pace. Thankfully, the Summit offers plenty of other options that, while not as enjoyable as its monster trucks, give players a tangible reason to consistently return to The Crew. You'll find drift and drag events, of course, as well as time trials and circuit races, but you can also engage in unique PvP events like Blitz Brawl, which challenges players to race between semi-randomly appearing zones and hold each zone until the next one appears. Each leg of the Summit offers six or seven unique events, which a healthy enough number to allow its evolving structure and leaderboard-driven competitiveness take root.

In spite of all this new content, many of the base game's frustrations persist. The UI is still an unintuitive mess, the story is still laughably bad and impossible for new players to avoid, and finding players to join my Crew frequently took far too long. And while the driving mechanics and general visuals have undoubtedly improved, they still haven't caught up to other, better racing games like Forza and Need For Speed. As a result, The Crew as a whole remains a lackluster experience, even with its monster truck half-pipes.

Back To Top
The Good
Monster trucks add excellent goofy fun
Noticeably improved physics and graphics
Summit events provide intense competition, consistently fresh content
The Bad
Driving still feels floaty despite updates
FreeDrive additions falter
Frustrations like the clunky UI remain unresolved
6
Fair
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for The Crew

About the Author

Scott spent roughly 14 hours getting reacquainted with The Crew and its giant, unwieldy world map. He wishes he could have spent all that time in the monster truck arena.
45 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
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EQl33t

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Edited By EQl33t

if you have a force feed back wheel the cars dont feel floaty at all. the drifting so far sucks though(edit: think i gotta playwith a lower rotation in hindsight). im having fun maybe cause i got it free. the monster trucks are crazy fun the first truck event i replayed like 20 times. im a sim racer Iracing,LFS,Project cars, Assetto Corsa. wasnt expecting much but its good arcade fun esp if u own a wheel. how can you compare this to forza? you cant its a totally different arcade racer. probably better to play with friends so you can have a good crew it being free this month should be no reason not to check this out. turn off all assist pretty decent ffb esp in the trucks did i mention the trucks? man their fun just installed last nite on a thrustmaster tx really fun

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easy_target77

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Bought the original game really cheap on Amazon and although the physics are TERRIBAD, I kind of enjoyed it.

After releasing this expansion, the option to quick match to play was essentially removed from the base game and it killed it for me. Traded it in the next day.

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andre_borges73

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WILL FORZA HORIZON 1/2 COME TO PC ?

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iloveyourface

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tdu1 is still my favorite carpg game created. they should just remake tdu1 and bring back the servers FOR GOOD.

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andre_borges73

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@iloveyourface: really, the best ever?, don't agree, maybe NFS underground 2

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MAXTHUNDER99

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@andre_borges73: Underground 2 is not a CARPG.

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Bread_or_Decide

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The legacy of burnout paradise lives on.

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Hozesk

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I love the UI on this game. It is way better than GTA V because you don't need to keep looking the minimap since there is a flying blue line that guides you through. Also the phone lets you to change your car, driving style, gears and more. When you are customizing a car you can easily notice which parts are better than others, even if you don't know anything about cars. My experience was pretty great with the UI!

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Grabberflesh50

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this game is a blast if you like open world racing...I loved TDU2 and the handling was a bit floaty as well...still it's an arcade racing game that offers a huge map to roam around in...don't get hung up on comparisons to Forza...

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Ezioprez9709

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@grabberflesh50: Despite people hating the game, I really like the look of it. I played the demo on PS4 and I can't really see what the problems are. The whole ''always online'' thing might glitch out, but what online game doesn't have that? It ran smoothly throughout my overall playtime, which was around two hours. The controls were virtually perfect and the driving feels better than Gran Turismo, which is a realistic racing simulator apparently.

I don't care what other people think, to me the game looks wonderful.

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Virtual_Erkan

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Hate to see games like these have bad arcade style racing. Burnout Paradise was an arcade type racing but it handled perfectly. Miss that game a lot. I still play it on Steam but it needs a proper sequel.

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deactivated-5c1c32e0b8cc8

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I was really hoping for a Test Drive Unlimited 3 when I saw this game, and in a lot of ways, it kinda is, but the terribly floaty handling and the extremely bland and colorless uninhabited/lifeless world makes me not want the game. I only have the PS4 Demo to base my opinion on, but it doesn't feel like something I'd really want to invest any time or money into.

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rogmiick25

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While I did enjoy the base game last year, I never beat the storyline due to other games coming out. What I would like to see, (will never happen) is to take the game map and create a roleplaying/driving/combat game like the old AutoDuel. Basically a Fallout/Rage/GTAV combination using the entire country as a game world. Armed vehicles would make the driving around more exciting.

But like I said, it'll never happen.

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Hozesk

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@rogmiick25: Actually that system is already in the game on missions against the AI. I don't think letting pro players killing low-level cars freely is a good idea, but i would appreciate a game mode like that (Cars vs Cars individually or Team vs Team). It could happen since the system is already in the game.

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xXxKTTxXx

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Literally the worst racing game I've played this gen. Lackluster graphics, sound design, performance, and driving & nowhere near as good as Forza, Driveclub, Project Cars or Need For Speed in anything.

And to top it all off it's online only (I know NFS has that too but at least NFS has other redeeming features).

Haven't tried Wild Run but I won't even bother.

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cboye18

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Tried this on the ps4; doesn't look bad but should have been 60 FPS IMO. Also, the UI is indeed very bad.

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Travian1

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The only thing they kind of messed up is the car leveling process. It is now better, but also more annoying at the same time than is used to be. I've never really had a problem with car handling. There are a lot of assist options you can turn on and off to get the handling working perfectly. They probably have the worst vehicle handling options turned on by default for some reason, which tends to make you oversteer unless you adjust it.

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blkgsr

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I was thinking of picking up the crew because i found it cheap but hows the driving? Because it looks bad from the videos ive watched but i just bought a wheel for my pc and one and wanted more driving games.

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Excelsion

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I give this game an 8/10.

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PETERAKO

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Edited By PETERAKO

"Frustrations like the clunky UI remain unresolved"

Seriously, did nobody gave any feedback on this?

I got a small question. Do they patch in non content improvements or you have to buy the DLC?

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darkprince2

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@PETERAKO: I've done a lot of research on this game and they said it was patched in as a free upgrade.

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whippyice

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fair enough i can accept that a review is a point of view, but i think its unfair to want a game like this to look like forza thats not realistic

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rodoxthedark

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I was one in of a the very few that enjoyed the crew I waited for the updates don't have it anymore but I may get this when it drops in price

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baral-o

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is this online only?

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XCrimsonxSynX

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@baral-o: Yes.

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BassMan

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Edited By BassMan

I am having a lot of fun with the game. I passed on it when it came out initially and started playing it with Wild Run as the improvements make it worthwhile now. I would much rather play this game instead of the new Need for Speed. This is a beautiful game on PC. The world is amazing to explore. If you like driving and fucking around in cars, this is a great game. I hope that they adjust the progression system though. The credits are too slow to earn and it is designed to push you into buying crew credits (micro-transactions). I refuse though. I won't spend a penny on that shit.

If you like open world racers like Forza Horizon and Test Drive Unlimited, you will like this game. I can't speak for the console versions, but this is a good game on PC where you can enjoy it at 60fps and Ultra settings.

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NyaDC

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Edited By NyaDC

The headline for this review should have simply said "Yes, this game still sucks".

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XCrimsonxSynX

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@nyadc: Like they said in both reviews, it had a lot of ambition, but the execution is terrible. The game isn't terrible, just hard to compete with Forza series and now Need for Speed.

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shadow580

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@nyadc: 6/10 - this game is still okay FTFY.

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kozzy1234

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All other racing games have gone down hill, Forza has been killing it lately though with Horizon 2 and Motorsport 6.

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dani_i89

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@kozzy1234: Both games offer incredible content and look stunning.

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rodoxthedark

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@kozzy1234: I'm guessing your actually saying driving games for Xbox but just had a typo

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dani_i89

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@rodoxthedark: Don't see how it is a typo since those 2 games are the best car games in the bizz.

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thecman25

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@kozzy1234: *DriveClub

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eternaldragoonx

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@thecman25: Driveclub what?

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NyaDC

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@thecman25: What about Driveclub?

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shadow580

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@nyadc: It's good.

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Edited By NyaDC

@shadow580: I'd say it's an okay game as of now, after all of the stuff which should have existed in the game at launch is in it, but good would be a stretch.

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shadow580

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@nyadc: Have you played it?

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NyaDC

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@shadow580: I've owned it since the day it came out.

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shadow580

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@nyadc: alright then.

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ps3gamer1234

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@nyadc: Maybe he never played it to give a opinion on it.

The Crew More Info

Follow
  • First Released Dec 1, 2014
    released
    • PC
    • PlayStation 4
    • + 2 more
    • Xbox 360
    • Xbox One
    The Crew is a street racing game from Ubisoft that is set in a persistent, massive and living world developed exclusively for next gen consoles and high end PCs.
    6.2
    Average Rating211 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate The Crew
    Developed by:
    Ubisoft, Ivory Tower, Ubisoft Reflections
    Published by:
    Ubisoft
    Genre(s):
    Driving/Racing, Simulation
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    Language, Mild Blood, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence