I still feel nostalgic for The Crew. It’s not that it was an excellent racing game—it wasn’t. Not by any means. The early hours were a grind, trying to get your car to handle like a car instead of a super-powered tractor, and even once you’d leveled up enough to drive halfway decent it still never felt as solid as a Need for Speed or a Forza game.
But the map. That incredible, America-spanning map with its theme park representations of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Detroit, New York City, Miami, and everything in between. In my review back in 2014 I referred to The Crew as “stellar virtual tourism,” and “a tribute to American car culture.” It was both. It was a game about discovery, a history of America told through landmarks both natural and man-made. It was Simon & Garfunkel’s “America” crackling through a racing-striped Charger.