The Crew is a multiplayer always-online arcade-racer set in a huge open world which is a condensed version of the United States. It was designed by many of the same people who created Test Drive Unlimited, so it can effectively be thought of as TDU 3. It contains many of the same features, but not all (no houses or shops).http://youtu.be/CBYh4vPmH2k
I think many people are unfairly critical of this game, and are failing to appreciate the best feature, the huge open world. In reality, the world area is only around 5000 sq km (about a quarter of the size of Wales), yet that's still a huge size for a game world, possibly the second largest open world racing game (Fuel is over twice as big). Road wise, there's 10,000 km of roads, 10 times as much as in the first TDU game, so that will take a long time to explore properly. But it's not just the size of the world that's impressive, it's the attention to detail and the huge number of landmarks. It's extremely well designed.
The USA is not only condensed, but distorted, some areas are much larger than others. This is necessary since if everything was to scale, every city would be a tiny village. Instead, the biggest cities are made much larger, as well as features like the Grand Canyon, while less interesting areas are shrunk in size. The result is greatly distorted, but it feels really good to drive around, and I believe it does a good job of representing the "highlights" of the USA in a way which suits a computer game very well.https://youtu.be/vNx4FtHofwU
Many people have complained about the horrible car physics. I was a bit shocked at this too in the beginning, but it turns out that the early cars handle badly by design, and get much better as you upgrade them with parts. The few cars I've tried from the DLCs handle much better. It also takes a little while to tweak your wheel or controller settings to get it to feel good, but it's worth the effort.http://youtu.be/KksGtk6F-i8
Apparently rubber banding is also a problem in the game, although I did read someone say it's been fixed. I've noticed it a few times with police chases, but it doesn't seem to be much of a problem to me. Speaking of police chases, I find them to be a lot of fun, while others seem to hate them. Similarly, the raid challenges can be quite frustrating, but are also fun to me. Depends on your point of view I suppose.
The GPS tends to provide the shortest route between two points, which is often not the best way to get to where you want quickly (taking you through backstreets instead of sticking to main roads), but hey, SatNav does that in real life too! Just think of it as a guide that you don't have to stick to. Learning the main roads and using your "local knowledge" instead can save time! Also it tends to suggest offroad shortcuts, which can be annoying if you want to stick to roads, but on the other hand, it gives you a route through difficult scenery which you might otherwise get stuck in.
One annoying thing I have noticed is graphical glitches during the cut scene intros to most missions. Don't know what's causing this, but it's only a minor irritation, it doesn't happen when I'm driving.
Another slight peeve is that much of the terrain is too destructible, you can drive straight through lamp posts and other features as if they weren't even there, yet some are rock solid. It's sometimes hard to know which is which. Okay, so it's just an arcade game so you could say it's excusable, but it does lead to bad driving habits, driving through obstacles that you'd normally avoid. In fact, to win certain missions it's often a good idea to crash through things.https://youtu.be/blIdOUmGMh8
Same goes for crashing into other cars, often (not always) this has little or no effect, barely slowing you down in most instances. Again, I don't like this because it encourages bad driving habits, not caring about hitting other cars when normally you should try to avoid them at all costs. But again, it's an arcade game, so I can live with it.
Sure, there are a few faults with this game, but most of them hardly matter to me. The game world is so large, with so many places to go, so many things to see (there's educational info on historical landmarks) and so many cars to drive (not a huge selection, but there are many variants of each, and who needs hundreds of cars anyway?) that I'm having too much fun cruising and exploring to take much notice of the faults. I think if people focused less on the faults and concentrated more on the fun aspects of the game, they'd enjoy it a lot more.
For me the FreeDrive mode is the real game, going on road trips solo or with friends. I dont' really care about the missions and the story that much (although they do add a nice bit of character to the game), I just want to explore America!
Having said that, the game gets more interesting the deeper you get into it. As you level up you unlock factions and faction missions, and that adds a lot more fun to the game, not to mention money! Some say that money is hard to come by and there's a lot of grinding, but they're wrong, money is easy to make. It's not a "pay to win" game, you can pay if you're lazy, but you can make it easily enough by simply playing the game.
I'm really enjoying The Crew and I highly recommend it to positive gamers who enjoy exploring a huge open world, who don't mind the arcadey gameplay and can live with a few faults. Be sure to get the Gold Edition or buy the Season Pass to get a bunch of good cars that unlock fairly early in the game, to give you a decent variety of cars to go free roaming in, otherwise you'll be stuck with the early cars for a while.
Negative focused nit-pickers need not apply!