I better see nothing boom rear bumpers as ubisoft’s second take on a massive open world drive across America The Crew 2 – puts its best foot forward. Exhibiting more vehicle types better controls and more interesting course designs. However despite our initial optimism, more time with the game increasingly reveals its flaws. Some at the very core of its design.
The Crew 2 – dispenses with a crime laden revenge story of its predecessor, but replaces it with something just as bad or worse. It’s simply about being a racer working your wait at the top of the game is constantly throwing annoying dialogue and meaningless cutscenes in your face. Character models are poorly animated and the vocal performances lack energy. Rather than giving you a sense of purpose every scene, just feels like a big waste of time.
The Crew 2 structure focuses on four families of racing each encompassing multiple disciplines. The off-road group includes rallycross motocross and rates across open terrain. Freestyle as he doing tricks and plains and monster trucks and puts you in cockpits of jet boats that can skim across small patches of land. Street includes weaving through tight urban corners as well as drag races drift events and lengthy hyper car races stretching between distant cities. Finally the pro family includes power boats air races touring cars and a fictitious f1 equivalent formula alfa.
Each family has its own loose story all four begin with lengthy introductions so it can take a while to get started. But once you get the preliminaries out of the way, you can skip to various races across the u.s. In whichever order you please. In addition to full races there are also smaller challenges spread across the map called skills. These include speed traps slaloms flying a low altitude etc. As you gain popularity you’ll unlock new disciplines and dozens of events at a time. Then once you’ve cleared 70% of a family’s activities. You can take on one of their top drivers and net yourself an ultimate vehicle, like the helicopter.
Sprinkled in between our occasional multi class events sponsored by a camera company called live. The first one serves as the game’s tutorial, having you switched between a car a boat and a plane. The rest similarly tasks you with succeeding with the mix of vehicles, but they never really feel like they’re tying it all together, and they’re only five of these races and all.
Out since this all takes place in an open world depiction of the United States. One of the biggest draws is simply taking road trips, driving up the coast or checking out familiar landmarks. Some areas feel faithfully recreated while others present bizarre mutations or omit major cities. Either way it’s easy to get caught up in the curiosity of seeing what’s been included and what hasn’t. And the game allows you to quickly swap between cars boats and planes on the fly.
At the same time there aren’t many other incentives to explore of The Crew 2 Game. As you drive through areas you may get photo assignments to document local landmarks or wildlife. Other times you may hear a radar paying alerting you to a loot crate hidden in the area. Since the parts inside of these crates aren’t any different from what you’d earn in a race, you’re not missing much by skipping them.
One thing that hinders exploration though is The Crew 2 poor navigation system. The gps doesn’t provide any markers on the road or vocal call-outs when there’s a turn ahead. And simply highlights routes on the mini-map, splitting your attention as you drive. In the open world there are times when the GPS simply doesn’t know the best route and can send you in circles. Races are a bit inconsistent as some provide clear signage to mark the route and others don’t. When they don’t it’s frustrating to have to watch the corner of the screen instead of the road ahead. And it can be easy to blow past an important turn near the end of a 12-minute race.
The vehicle handling is nothing special, but it’s a step up from the floaty feel of the first game. Perhaps the biggest disappointment is that when weather comes into play there’s no noticeable effect from rain or snow.
The Crew 2 Scenarios Games
Each event takes advantage of its setting to present fun scenarios. When driving through New York or la, you take huge ramps to launch over rooftops. You go off-roading through the bayous of louisiana having to choose whether to take raised dirt tracks, or cut through the swamps. One boat race has you hopping over a massive dam while another takes you through the canals around las vegas casinos. There’s a flight section through washington dc’s no-fly zone, and a three-part race through a snow dusted grand canyon. The setup and creativity behind many of the races is really one of The Crew 2 greatest.
Strengths yet all of that is practically wasted due to the lightweight RPG system at the center of its design. An assortment of parts determines your vehicles performance level and after each race, you get new parts to upgrade it. And events difficulty is determined entirely on how closely your vehicle matches the recommended level. If it’s above that level, there’s no challenge whatsoever. Since races don’t have to be done in any particular order you’ll often be far above the requirement when you arrive.
There’s no way to raise the difficulty either, the hard mode of a race can only be done after you complete the standard setting, and it simply raises the level requirement. Likewise competing with friends feels worthless because the leaderboard times clearly go to whoever has the highest level. So it’s just a matter of collecting parts, until your vehicle is better than theirs.
While your overall level is the biggest factor of whether you’ll win or lose there’s very little value in any individual part. You’re just bolting them on to raise the overall number. Some rare parts include additional stat boosts, but you have to stack effects to even notice the benefits. Once your popularity reaches icon status, you’ll begin to earn additional skill points for your driver but these gains are absolutely tiny as well.
Since it’s so easy to get over leveled and boost your starter vehicles there’s no reason to invest in more cars, until you need something specific for a new discipline. And with the high prices of vehicles needed to compete in hyper car races, it’s easy to simply get in the habit of saving, and not care about adding to your garage unless you have a particular favorite. Altogether the RPG mechanics collectively take away from the sense of competition, and everything that typically makes a racing game fun.
Well not as detrimental the always online functionality of The Crew 2, is practically pointless. Players are haphazardly merged into your gameplay session as you wander the open world. But they may be miles away with no incentive to interact. What’s worse is that there’s no simple way to queue up for a race with a group of random people, you have to be in a crew to race together. Predictably if you do happen to find a stranger who’s the same level as you they’re likely to decline any invitation because they haven’t signed up for a multiplayer session, they’re just trying to play the game. It would have been better if The Crew 2, just allowed you to group up with friends rather than being constantly online, since that’s all you can realistically do anyways. You get a whole lot of nothing for the hassle of getting kicked from the game, if you’re idle for too long.
The Crew 2 Visual
The visuals have improved from the first game and The Crew too can look nice in specific events like racing in cities or skimming through a harbor. But speeding fast through open deserts or going airborne reveals a lot of popping in and out, with vehicles and environments. The level of detail is continually fluctuating and at times it can look flat outdated and bland.
The soundtrack doesn’t do the game any favors as it all sounds fairly similar and the radio just drones in the background. We also came across some random hiccups like typos and floating rocks. And one bug that miscalculates the amount of time we’ve played after putting the xbox in sleep mode. On the plus side the load times are remarkably fast when popping from one side of the country to the other. And it’s great to be able to zoom in and out on any part of the map.
Even though it makes some steps forward The Crew 2 doesn’t offer much beyond wandering aimlessly and stumbling across landmarks. The variety of vehicle types removes any barriers on where you can go, and the creative racing scenarios keep things somewhat interesting. However these strengths are overpowered by the annoying dialogue, pointless features and considerable lack of challenge. Stats are king of the road in The Crew 2, racing skill is supplanted by thoughtless RPG mechanics and before long it all just feels like going through the motions.