As XNVR Chief Petrol Head, I have reviewed my fair share of racing games, spanning from Forza to F1, DIRT and Moto GP, but one series I haven’t touched yet was the Crew series. Launched in 2014, which covered different types of racing nationwide the US and A. While I didn’t play during the early days it was okay game nevertheless, but it wasn’t without its faults like the framed/revenge for my brother’s death story and a quite restrictive progression which with the whole of the USA to drive about it felt kind of dumb. Now, fast forward to today with The Crew 2 which is out now, we wait to see if its learned from its mistakes.
Well firstly the story is thrown out, and in its place is up to you as the game is fully open as you start out from an unknown driver and work your way through the ranks in the 4 groups of racing from Street Racing to Off-Road, and Freestyle and Pro Circuit, covering all sorts of vehicles from Supercars and Sport Cars, Superbikes, Off-Roaders, Racers, Monster Trucks, Hovercraft and more. In fact, it would have been easier to name the mode of transport that you get to use in The Crew 2. With a wide range of manufacturers as well it’s fair to say that there is plenty of options for your morning commute. With the final goal to become an icon by accumulating followers which unlocks more disciplines and races to win in.
Overall, this is a much better as it brings in much more variety of motorsports as it opens more ways to race and explore the world than ever before in the first crew game, there’s much less hand-holding and more design your own fun with the game open from the start.
The manufacturers are varied but there isn’t a wide range available, cars, in particular, being somewhat scarce, you can go on several manufacturers and see only one car listed, however, the race disciplines on offer does balance the lack of car choice, stretching far and wide across multiple disciplines from F1 to touring cars and hypercars to drag racing and more with some having unique gameplay to contend with keeping it fresh longer.
Now coming to the gameplay, let start with the cars at as it’s my comfort zone it very arcade style but has some sim-like qualities such as set up to further adjust the car/bike/boat/plane. In the cars is the issue, it acts rather odd, as with the different disciplines have a varying rate in speed, but all the vehicles feel rather similar and inconsistent physics.
Boats and planes offer something not seen in the franchise before, and they break up the driving nicely, The Crew 2 tries to keep it fresh with the disciplines in drifting, drag racing (more on that later) which both are self-explanatory. But Monster trucks – isn’t what you expect, it’s a trick-based gameplay as you go over ramps and half-pipes performing tricks which were surprising at first but a different take on just racing around a circuit.
The variety of gameplay somewhat vast but it doesn’t cover up the chinks in the armour, as they’re still with racing circuits being unnaturally wide, and with air races there is a Simon Says element where you must match your plane to the angle that is described to you, and you must obey to have time shaved off which is rather unnecessarily complicated for my taste, when the stopwatch should be all that matters at the end of the day.
Also, you can partake in races where multiple disciplines are needed so you could be starting on a powerboat, then on to a bike and finish in a touring car, and on top of this with a large open world to explore as well makes road trips from coast to coasts with nice natural environments and varied weather effects.
Aside from the racing, there are side challenges to complete which can range from speed traps and Slaloming to escaping from a city, entirely optional to your discretion but a nice change from doing the main races and road tripping. Graphics are a particular high point as they look incredible and bang on at points when the weather comes into play. The sound is a sold meh at best, in particular, cars don’t sound like their real-world counterpart and all sound very similar and very stale.
As a single-player game there is a lot on offer but multiplayer it falls short drastically, you can interact and drive around the US and makeup races. But there are no PvP element at all which boggles me because with The Crew 2 was looking to be an alternative to the wonderful Forza Horizon series and not having a PvP element needs to be added very, very soon. Other than that, for an online game, there was not a lot of server disconnections which for Ubisoft is a victory in itself.
The soundtrack is rather bland with a few noteworthy mentions, and lack of a mixtape option does which the first game had is a glaring omission. The AI is a weird beast, there were times where I blew the opposition away, other times there were obvious “rubber-banding” and almost perfect driving where they make little to no mistakes. You start the game able to complete each race on normal, which the chance to unlock hard, but once you’ve done the race, there’s very little reason to go back to a completed race.
The loot system where you win upgrades for your vehicles when you do well in races to improve the performance. Which is pointless as the AI seems to always adjust no matter the required performance level to compete and does really work for me (see Need for Speed: Payback). It does seem that with the lack of PvP it does question why the need for an always-online connection at launch when the online is rather shallow at launch.
At the start of the game, it gives you a free car to start building your collection, but while driving around and in the quick-select menu, it allows you to select almost any car, so what was the point in giving you a free car? The Crew 2 has a lot of design choices that scream missed opportunity, even more since the Crew 1, even though it wasn’t groundbreaking, it wasn’t as generic as they come.
So, do you spend your hard earn cash to play this game? if you are looking for a fun single player experience then this is a fun game to play but as people would have brought it for the online experience it’s rather hard to convince people to fork over £60. Afterward maybe with more polish with updates like adding PvP modes for a start, and what the DLC will bring to the table.
The Crew 2
The crew sets itself up to be a great open world experence, however it fails at the first few hurdles.
- Fun with friends
- Great graphics
- Amazing sound
- Nothing new to the table
- A large, but largely empty world
- Cases of poor optimization