After Grocs’ comprehensive review of the PC beta of The Crew, I was fortunate to get a beta key for the Xbox One version. I’m not going to go into too much detail here as that’s already been done; I will however add my own perspectives based on my limited time with this version.
First up impressions are the story is something you’d expect to see from a Need for Speed or GTA-lite. The cutscenes convey the story well, they just aren’t all that great to watch. The plot is merely there to give reason for mission variety.
Visually the game does well to project the size of the game world. There’s a lot of detail there and some complexity to the road networks. But it seems to let down badly by texture quality which in this version are quite muddy and dark. The first mission looks plain ugly and there is little punch with anything beyond that. The PC beta’s visuals are far more impressive.
In direct competition is Forza Horizon 2 which was released last week and may be smaller in map size but has a strong engine behind it. That it also has an abundance of brightness and colour is in stark contrast to The Crew which feels quite last gen with it preference for the brown side of the palette.
Controls are arcade like and are surprisingly more reminiscent of GTAV than Forza Motorsport. Handling isn’t as responsive as I’d personally like and the AI seems less than impressive. The first mission does not help on that front either when it appears to make it challenging by giving your opponents better vehicles with which to crowd you in.
The game makes me think back to another recent Ubisoft title in Watch Dogs; initially it appeared to be pushing the envelope but on delivery it turns out that it borrows more than it innovates and is feels very cookie cutter in implementation. If the games released at the console’s launch it may have been a different story but time has shown bigger titles on the horizon (pun intended).
The beta comes to an end on the 6th of October. As this is still a beta a lot can change when the final game arrives in stores but I wonder if the timing of this may have backfired for the game. Launching the beta at the same time as Forza Horizon 2 only highlights the difference in quality (especially visually) and may sink the game before it even has a chance.