The Crew 2 review for PS4, Xbox One, PC

Platform: PS4
Also On: Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ivory Tower
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-8
Online: Yes

Dustin’s Take:

Ubisoft generally has a pretty good track record when it comes to sequels. Look back at the jump from Assassin?s Creed to Assassin?s Creed 2, or the more current improvement from Watch Dogs to Watch Dogs 2. They do well enough when improving upon a base idea that I thought surely The Crew 2 would turn out a bit better than its predecessor. Unfortunately, that isn?t the case.

I?d say The Crew 2 has more content at launch than The Crew originally did when it came out in 2014, but having content doesn?t mean much if the base experience isn?t all that enjoyable. There isn?t one particular element about The Crew 2 that makes it into a bad game, the controls are passable, the ability to zoom in and out on the map in a Google Maps style fashion is pretty slick, and having nearly the entire United States to drive or fly through is pretty cool. However, there are a number of other elements that tend to pull the spotlight away from the good stuff.

First off, the ?story? is a pretty limp caricature of every racing movie that tried hard to ride The Fast and the Furious? coattails in the early 2000?s, but with zero teeth, stakes, or characters to speak of. You play an unnamed racer that?s attempting to get famous by performing well in races, stunts, and other events. Your sole goal is to increase your follower count for some sort of unnamed social media, which in turn doubles as your experience meter in-game. That?s about it, despite a number of small cutscenes stitched in as you complete events in the 4 major disciplines the game has to offer. Seriously, the story element is so remarkably stripped down that it feels like an afterthought here.

Next, while the controls in The Crew 2 are OK, it never feels like it steers hard enough into the arcade racer motif that it goes for. Outside of a few small events, like the Monster Truck arena, The Crew 2 tends to play things a little safe, and you?ll rarely see moments that stand out when racing or just driving cross-country. Drifting with standard cars doesn?t feel consistently reliable even with upgrades, but using a car specifically designed for drifting events is almost comically over-tuned and touchy. Planes are fun to fly around in until you?re forced to maneuver through tight, slalom style events, and even boats tend to feel a little too loose when turning. You can absolutely toy with the controls a bit, but out of the gate nothing feels entirely right.

Other, smaller issues, become more apparent the longer you play. For instance, there are photo opportunities scattered throughout the world, typically centered on finding landmarks, monuments, and animals. When you get close enough, you?ll be prompted to keep an eye out, and when you locate the objective, you can enter photo mode to snap a photo. The way this is designed it feels as if loading in and out of photo mode should be snappier, but it isn?t. You?re ejected into a loading screen for a few seconds, then you can move the camera around to take a photo, and once done, you hit another small loading screen before being able to drive again. The load time itself isn?t particularly awful, but it doesn?t feel smooth, and becomes annoying enough over time that I started to just ignore the prompts altogether.

Essentially, I never found myself enjoying The Crew 2. It?s not broken or busted in any major way, but I kept hacking away at the progression in the hopes that something would click and make the core game fun, but that never happens. It?s remarkable how similar in design the game is to the original, and how little feels improved upon outside of the visuals and the number of events to compete in. I know Ubisoft tends to support their games fairly well after launch, so here?s hoping that improvements can still be made. As it stands, I?d definitely hold off on The Crew 2 for now, it isn?t worth your time just yet.

Dustin’s Grade: C-

Jim’s Take:

With the ability to seamlessly jump into all sorts of land, sea and air-based vehicles and explore a surprisingly detailed virtual reproduction of the United States, the Crew 2 beta sessions were quite a bit of fun in my opinion. In terms of the full The Crew 2 game experience though, there’s definitely something still lacking. The community, with up to 8 players per instance, feels too sparse and many of the events in the open world don’t really give you the feeling of being part of a titular racing crew. Across all the disciplines The Crew 2 certainly takes inspiration from a number of sources including The Fast and the Furious, Midnight Club, MotorStorm, Need for Speed and others.

The single player content, which is integrated into the game world and map, will keep players busy for a while, although spending hours upon hours of gaining social media “followers” and occasionally interacting with a pretty dull cast of outdated character stereotypes and tropes does the game no favors. That didn’t actually stop me from  accruing many hours in The Crew 2 though, since the pick-up-and-play experience is just so casual and generally stress free — until you need to take on one of the “bosses” or higher level special races that feature some blatant AI rubberbanding.

I didn’t actually mind the loot system or the sparse selection of vehicles, and other than the squirrely jet boats and hyper cars, the gameplay and controls were “good enough” for an open-world, multi-vehicle driving/racing title. The trackside signage and waypoint indicators are pretty bad though, and at high speeds it’s difficult to know which way to go until it’s too late. Also annoying is how easy it is to get hung up on environmental objects, though being an open world racer, it’s a bit difficult to work around that.

I too see there’s a lot of potential in The Crew 2, so hopefully Ubisoft ramps up their post-launch support and provides an engaging reason to hop online and knock out some racing events with friends and other dedicated players.

Jim’s Grade: C+

Note: Ubisoft provided us with a The Crew PS4 codes for review purposes.


Grade: C