The Crew 2 is Ubisoft’s latest racing game. From its trailers, we know that the new game will feature races not just on the land, but on water and in the air. As someone who has played The Crew 1, I am very excited to get my hands on the game. That’s why we live-streamed the Open BETA gameplay on our Facebook page days before the official release. Now after clocking almost 24 hours of game time in the official release, here is my review for The Crew 2.
This review is completed with The Crew 2 Gold Edition on Windows 10 PC with Intel Core i5-3470, 16GB DDR3-1600 & NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8GB.
The Crew 2
Take on the American motorsports scene as you explore and dominate the land, air, and sea across the entire USA. With a wide variety of cars, bikes, boats, and planes, compete in a wide range of driving disciplines.
The Crew series put a lot of emphasis on the open world racing and I’m really happy that Ubisoft has brought back the miniature United States from The Crew 1. This is the game where you can pretend driving all the way from Miami to Los Angeles. Of course, that would roughly take around 30 minutes of game time depending on your car and driving skill. But how about Need for Speed: The Run? Wait, that is not even an open world racing game.
What has changed in The Crew 2 is the story. Gone is the Hollywood style revenge seeking movie plot. The Crew 2 is all about mimicking real-world motorsports. Where you as a rookie driver slowly climb up the motorsport stardom. With that being said, the game is filled with social media vibe and everything you do is to gain more followers. The story becomes non-linear and the player gets to choose whatever race they like and the story would just progress along with it.
The bad thing is, the story has less impact and oh god, it is cringy and makes zero sense. Throughout the game, there are a few supporting characters telling you how to win the race and how skilful your rival is. by all means, that is perfectly normal, but the problem lies with the rival him or herself. The character lacks personality. The character development is close to none, to a point that I can’t even recognise or remember the face of my rival.
I can tell you it makes a whole lot of difference. You know Razor from Need For Speed: Most Wanted? The guy who rigged your M3 GTR and took away the pink slip. I can still remember his face until today. He has a good back story and the whole interaction with him is the motivation for me to get better in the race so that I can win back my ride.
In terms of graphics, the cars look amazing and the tracks are pretty decent.
However, The background details and the characters modelling are not something I would describe as good. If this game is the first iteration, then I won’t be complaining about these aspects. But if I were to compare it to The Crew 1, I would say the previous game did a way better job in the building details and the character modelling. I mean, why The Crew 1 has great background details and nice looking characters with CG cutscenes but none of those is in The Crew 2?
Oh wait, they do have a really amazing trailer video, let’s take a look. I mean expectations and reality huh.
Other than that, I really want to highlight this, the side and rearview mirrors are still not working. The developers’ answer was due to the processing power limitation. OK, fine.
Now back to the gameplay, the key highlight of The Crew 2 is no other than the ability to race on the ground, water and in the air. That means the game has a tonne of different play style.
There are more than 10 categories or disciplines of races shared among the 3. As an open world game, races and challenges can be found in most of the cities and point of interest, just some of them are spread out way too far. The good thing is that players can instantly start the race from anywhere through the game menu or map menu. The downside is that, even with all those new disciplines, the problem lies in the lack of races for each discipline. The Super Car discipline only has 4 races for crying out loud. Yes, I understand there are a lot of other activities other than races but 4 is just ridiculous.
The arcade gameplay means you get to do all sorts of crazy stunts with abundant of nitrous boost. Heck, even if the exhausts’ backfire sound doesn’t seem realistic but hey they sound freaking awesome. The most interesting feature of the game is you can instantly switch from car to plane or a boat. And that is really cool. the game has also incorporated all the 3 ground, water and air race into 1 single event – they call it the Xtreme Race series. It is something like Triathlon, but for motorsports, where you race 1/3 of the course in a car, another 1/3 in a boat and the rest in a plane. This is the first of its kind and I hope Ubisoft will include more than 4 races in the coming future update.
The control is fine as it supports keyboard, gamepad as well as wheels. I mean pedal and wheels are great for racing games but for The Crew 2 since there are boat racing and air races, the wheel is not 100% suitable for some of the races. That’s why I kept a gamepad handy so I can switch the control depending on the race type.
Diving deeper into the game mechanics, the game employs loot drop system for the vehicle part upgrades that is Very similar to The Crew 1. But I do hope that the game allows users to purchase up to a certain level of parts and leave those exclusive parts as loot. Otherwise, players will have to repeat the same mission and grind for parts. The RPG aspect is unnecessary here.
Then again, the upgrade parts are pretty boring. Even though there are professional tuning options available, but honestly speaking, I can just install the part with the biggest performance number and I’ll immediately feel the difference.
Moving on to another key highlight of The Crew series, Online Multiplay feature. That’s why it is called “The Crew”. You gather your team and race. Right now you can interact with other players and race the events, and… that is pretty much what you can do right now on because PVP will only be available at the end of 2018. So can we expect a newly developed PVP lobby and gameplay?
I personally think the game itself is an unfinished product. I get the idea of putting down the concept first then slowly work it out from there. If they come as free update patches, by all means, but paid DLC? No thanks. While the general graphics look pretty decent but still falls short when compared to the previous iteration, especially the character modelling and environment details.
To conclude our review, the new game has incorporated a bold decision to have the water and air races tied into the recipe. It is a fun game with plenty of potentials especially when the platform is designed for Online Multiplay. Imagine cruising down the San Francisco street with your crew in different vehicles then instantly transform into stunt-planes and performing loops over the Golden Gate Bridge. Apart from GTA V, I don’t think you can find this kind of freedom in any other game. In the meantime, we shall wait for more updates from Ubisoft.
- Massive open world to be explored
- Multiple racing disciplines
- Fun-filled arcade racing with plenty of gameplay freedom
- Beautiful car details
- Improved audio, especially engine sound and sound reflection
- Weak story & lack of character development
- Lacklustre character modelling & environment details
- Default key mapping is a nightmare
- Loot box concept: grinding need for performance parts
- No PVP at launch (coming end of 2018)