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The Crew Review

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Graphics:

The graphics of The Crew are not what I would call impressive, but considering how much the game has to show you, and the speed it all has to be rendered at, this is understandable. Car models always looked very good to me, even when covered in mud. One thing that actually surprised me when I first noticed it was that the reflections on the car hoods are rendered live, accurate, and detailed. In one case I was actually able to read a reflected sign. I have just grown so use to reflections being pre-rendered that I had to take a closer look, and still do from time to time.

One slightly disappointing point about the car models looking good is that they always do. The Crew is not a collision simulator, so you will not see cars with entire panels bashed in. The most damage I have seen was a rear bumper mostly detached, bouncing up and down, and some mildly crumpled front bumper. Besides those examples, most damage is represented by scratched off paint and cracks that alias quite a bit.

You may spot in some screenshots, though not many, a person actually driving my car. This is Alex Taylor, your in-game identity, and he does more than just sit with his hands on the wheel. Even when the camera is outside the car, you can see him reaching to shift gears at the correct time. His model also has some nice detail to it, although you really do not see it much, since you should be looking at the road.

 

The roads look okay, but you can tell a lot of the detail is contained in the texture and that the textures repeat. This is also true of the open ground you will drive on at times. While it would have been nice to have larger textures that repeat less often, I can understand a preference for best performance, because you do not want to stutter while driving 200 MPH on a busy highway.

The lighting of the game I found to be quite good and accurate. Perhaps not 'stop and watch the sunset/rise' good, but there is nothing to take issue with. The shadows are also very nice, thanks to NVIDIA's HBAO+ technology. The Crew also has contact hardening shadows, although this is not labeled as NVIDIA's Percentage Closer Soft Shadows, but again, it likely helps with the shadow's appearance. During gameplay, it is hard to notice the fine details of the shadows, but looking at the screenshots you can see how detailed the shadows are, and how they soften over distance. You will notice the lighting of your headlights when driving at night, as they light up a good amount of the world ahead of you.

All of this (maybe not the hood reflections so much) is visible when you are zoomed in on the map. The map, when you look close enough, is not just a pre-rendered image, but a live view of wherever you are looking. That is pretty cool, and also comes in handy if you are searching the map for certain objects. (This does not apply to the mini-map.)

 

 

The water in the game at first does not look all that special, besides being a reflective and disturbed surface. Driving into it does very appropriately throw up some spray, just as you would expect. One thing special about it is that I at least could not see any seams to it, to give it away as a canned animation.

There really is no fire to speak of in The Crew, although sparks will go flying when you are in a crash. Your car goes flying then too, and you are treated to a video of it all. Besides the lack of structural damage to the car, as mentioned above, this still looks pretty good and does give you an idea of just how much force there is to a car traveling at high speed. (At least how much force a car in this video game has. Not sure how accurate it is to life in that regard.)

 

 

Time to consider performance, so here are my specs:

  • Processor: AMD A10-5800K @ 4.40 GHz (44.0x100)
  • Cooling: Corsair H110
  • Motherboard: ASUS F2A85-M PRO
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 980 4 GB
  • PhysX: EVGA GTX 770 2 GB
  • Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws 4x8 GB (32 GB total) at 1866 MHz 10-10-10-27
  • PSU: OCZ Fata1ty 750 W
  • OS: Windows 7- Professional 64-bit

I played with all of the settings at max, save motion blur by personal choice, and Anti-Aliasing, which I will cover better in a bit. For the great bulk of the game, it ran at or very near 60 FPS for me, and any dips down were not significant and very smooth. I feel like many of these were caused more by the MMO nature of the game than the graphics. There are some points that it stuttered, but these were not common, so I cannot say more than that I experienced them. More often than the stutter, the game would crash and I am not sure why, except that it seemed related to transitions. To deal with this, I started playing the game in borderless fullscreen, so I can esily return to the desktop and force the game to close, as needed.

 

 

At first I was playing with 4X TXAA, which is actually the second highest option for that setting. The highest option, 8x MSAA, was noticeably impacting performance, so I did not use it. I did not stay at 4X TXAA for long because of a coincidence of when I was futzing with the setting. There just happened to be a tree in the frame when I was going between 4X MSAA and 4X TXAA, and I noticed a change in the tree's quality. Specifically, the TXAA setting was blurring the details of the leafs while MSAA was not. I am more willing to accept aliasing, especially temporal aliasing, than blurring, so I put the setting to 4X MSAA and played at that. It is entirely possible that if I had played with the settings in another location, I would never have noticed this and played with TXAA the entire time.

 

When you first look at the graphics of the The Crew, they are, as I described earlier, not all that impressive. When you consider the scale of them though, and the game's performance, then they become impressive. When you can drive from New York to Los Angeles in a video game, with everything around you looking good for a modern game, including the cars you pass on the roads, at a strong framerate around 60 FPS, that is impressive.




  1. The Crew Review - Introduction
  2. The Crew Review - Graphics
  3. The Crew Review - Story
  4. The Crew Review - Gameplay
  5. The Crew Review - Additional Gameplay Media
  6. The Crew Review - Conclusion
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