The Crew 2 is a sequel to a game that didn’t exactly set the world on fire when it originally released. The original title was ambitious in its premise and goals, but too many setbacks and rough edges burned the game’s wings before it could even get close to the sun. Ubisoft, however, hasn’t given up and thus the sequel is here but has it fixed any of the problems that plagued the first game? Not quite.
Reviewed: PS4 Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC Developer: Ubisoft Publisher: Ubisoft Release Date: June 29, 2018 MSRP: $59.99 Review code provided by Ubisoft.
The Crew 2 sees you take the role of this up and coming all around driver. You’ll be driving streetcars, off-road vehicles, all types of racing boats, and even small airplanes, which will help you show your stuff and reach the big time. And that’s the main goal for The Crew 2; reach the big time by winning races, which net you, followers, thus increasing your fame status. This serves as the main game, with no linear story or set of events. It’s just you, your vehicles, and an open map brimming with objectives.
Mission variety is scarce within the game, where the only variance you’ll have is the vehicle types. Missions are mainly races, with the only other type being the trick-based missions with air-type vehicles. Pacing between these types is completely down to you since everything is opened up from the get-go and you’ll have a hard time not having something to do in The Crew 2. However, since there’s little to no variety, monotony sets in quick and the abundance of different vehicles doesn’t help much.
The missions that do shine are the Live Xtrem Episodes, where it’s a race that covers all types of terrain and has you switching between vehicle types on the fly. This is where the game is at its best and really displays the premise well of having different types of vehicles. Sadly, these are few and far between and are drowned out by the numerous other missions.
Despite there only being a few of the Live Xtrem Episodes, the game does allow you to switch between vehicle types while exploring the open map and is where, perhaps, the most fun is to be had. The Crew 2 brings back one of the biggest selling points from the previous title, a huge open map that you can explore. Cruising through the various locations in the United States, whether by boat, plane, or car is some of the most relaxing and fun gameplay that the game has to offer. If you feel like taking off and just want to do a few barrel rolls, then all can be done with a few clicks of your analog stick. It’s all so seamless and what The Crew 2 nails perfectly.
Although exploring all the different locations of the United States is fun, but after a while, you’ll start to notice the map itself is quite dead and lifeless. Sure there are pedestrian vehicles and a few commercial planes here and there, but nothing random or spontaneous happens at all. There’s no point in exploring the map when there’s nothing worthwhile to do in between objectives. It’s especially a shame since the game is completely online, but not a single live event has happened. It does question the reasoning for even having it completely online in the first place, especially when all objectives can be done solo. You can, of course, invite friends for co-op play, but with a dead map and little to no variety in missions, having a friend to play doesn’t save the experience much.
Not only does the online aspect of the game seem to be underutilized, but seems to hamper performance as well. Depending on your connection speed and stability, prepare to have inconsistent load times between missions. I experienced one instance, where the game was loading, where I proceeded to get up and grab a snack. Sadly, upon return, the game was still on the same loading screen. This only happened once, but the times the game took too long to load were abundant. The connection doesn’t affect gameplay, however, so things are fine in that department. However, even if the connection has no effect on gameplay or visuals, that doesn’t stop the game from having a few blemishes.
The game’s visuals are slick and crisp for the most part. Vehicles look great and seeing the different vistas and terrain of the United States is a sight to behold. However, the game does have quite a lot of pop-in textures and objects, where even when the game does close-ups of your vehicle, you’ll get the odd pop-in here and there. Also, character models aren’t the prettiest and animate lifelessly during cutscenes. The subpar and awkward dialogue doesn’t do the game any favors, either. The Crew 2’s presentation can be hit or miss, especially under a scrutinizing microscope. But when you’re cruising through the open U.S.A, the game does truly shine like a true current-gen title.
Controls are another hit or miss with The Crew 2. The game goes for something in-between an arcade racer and a simulation racer. It has more nuance and control than what you’d expect from a standard arcade racer, where you have to be more precise in your braking and accelerating when hitting corners, or watch your altitude and level when flying a plane. It takes a bit of getting used to, but even then afterward you’ll still feel like you’re wrestling against the game’s physics and handling. All in all, it’s a half step that doesn’t appeal to either end of the spectrum.
A way you can help alleviate the game’s physics and handling is by switching out parts by getting loot from objectives. These can be anything from suspension to propellors, which can give that bit more advantage when racing or performing different stunts and tricks. Unfortunately for all the loot you get and unlock, none of it is very nuanced, since it’s basically a numbers game. Add the parts that have the highest numbered stats and move along with your day. The saving glory for switching out parts, however, is the custom paint jobs you can do with the game’s Livery Editor. Here you can make all sorts of symbols and logos for whatever vehicle you desire, and even share them online with friends or to the public. Despite the mindless loot stats, the customizable parts and sharing aspect is a nice touch to keep the community engaged.
Overall, The Crew 2 seems more like a half-step improvement from the first game, while managing to add a few more problems. With its seemingly unnecessary mandatory online and lifeless map, The Crew 2 still has more kinks to iron out before it can be called and considered a great game. It has nailed the multiple vehicle type aspect — albeit scarcely used in missions — especially when cruising through the different locals in the United States, but that’s about it. The presentation can be a hit or miss, as well as the performance of the game and its controls.
Its great for those who are really into collecting and experiencing different vehicle types, but aside from that, it’s not a game that’ll keep you coming back for more. The teams at Ivory Tower need to release some major updates and events if they want to keep this game afloat. Until then, The Crew 2 just barely chugs along.
The Crew 2 (PS4)
We want to emphasize that 5 will always be the “average” number, not 7. So by far, it’s 50% great and it’s also 50% bad.