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The Crew 2 Review

We maintain that the cars are—and will remain—the biggest draw that racing entries like The Crew 2 have to offer, so we’ll start there first. With planes and boats being introduced to this title, there was a very real fear that much-needed work on the feeling of the cars in this series would have been sacrificed. Almost miraculously, however, the opposite is true: cars in The Crew 2 are fun to drive, accessible, and versatile in what they provide.

There are two disciplines for when it comes to designing the feeling of a car in a racing game: the reality mentality, and the arcade mentality. An arcade-focused driving experience will allow you to take a hard corner, sideways, while going 90 miles per hour with a big smile on your face. A reality-focused driving experience will make you earn that corner, breaking at the precise right moment, at 45 miles per hour, tops. The Crew 2 doesn’t make you choose between these two disciplines—it only makes you choose a car. If you’d like to spend more of your time going sideways, we recommend the Acura NSX, paired with Steppenwolf’s “Born To Be Wild.” If you’d like to carefully master what it means to dominate The Crew 2’s physics engine, we’d recommend the Ferrari 458 Speciale, and the quiet sound of precise joystick tapping. Either way, you’ll have a choice, and developer Ivory Tower doesn’t disappoint.

THE PLANES AND BOATS

The planes are a different story, however – there’s nothing realistic here. The fun dial is turned to 11 and it’s stuck there. You’ll find flying in The Crew 2 easy to master and easier to like—so much so that this reviewer couldn’t stay mad at them for being in his car game. You’ll find the planes agile, quick, and invincible. Feel free to land them pretty much anywhere: highways, corn fields, pine trees—doesn’t matter. All in all, the planes in this title control just fine, but don’t really stand out from games like Just Cause and Grand Theft Auto, neither of which market themselves as racing games.

And, finally, boats in The Crew 2 are fine. They’re not particularly over-designed, and they don’t have any glaring faults, but they’re not exactly going to be a large part of The Crew experience unless they get a pretty solid revamp in an upcoming DLC. To give them cannons, or something.

THE MAP

Ivory Tower decided to base the title’s map off of the United States again – an interesting gimmick that also didn’t work all that well for its predecessor. The result is a bizarre and misshapen map of the United States that will leave anyone trying to glean any significance from their home state disappointed and with a hurting sense of civic pride (with the exception of New York, whose inhabitants will find a Manhattan that has grown five times in size).

If you ever take a moment to slow down and really look around, or in the more likely event that you crash, there’s a good chance you may find graphical glitches and weird little map elements that’ll pull you out of your suspension of disbelief slightly. While taking it slow (post-crash), we noticed plenty of examples of impossible-to-enter car park entrances that were several feet off of the ground, sidewalks that weren’t placed properly sitting above the street, and the occasional floating tree. These little oddities leave the map feeling half-baked at best and rushed at worst.

Bizarro-America or not, there are some great driving roads in The Crew 2, and Ivory Tower has done an excellent job of mapping out racetracks from its different roads and side alleys. We’re also certainly not going to deny that it’s satisfying taking a biplane on a ride down the California coast—even if we had to sacrifice Rhode Island to do it.

THE RACES

Races in The Crew 2 are high-octane fun, promising interesting circuits to belt around and plenty of opportunities to send your car flying over a parking garage. Unfortunately, what they aren’t going to offer is a challenge.

The first few races in The Crew 2 will have you playing them once or twice to get the first-place spot—however, once you’re able to buy a new car and go for something with a bit more horsepower, there’s nothing your competition’s AI can do to beat you, even if you have no idea how to get a car through a corner. This is a shame, as well. If the game doesn’t require you to learn to drive with skill, you’re most likely not going to. The result is an unsatisfying and unending first-place winning streak from a racer who’s smashing into every roadside barrier on the course. There are challenges to be had in The Crew 2’s races, but they’re only accessible if the player decides to use a slower car or pick a race that’s far above a car’s skill rating.

All in all, races in this title are far from uninspired--even occasionally mixing up the formula with a race where an opponent is injured in a crash and needs to be taken to the hospital—but as much as we would like to believe we’re Speedracer reborn, they’re just too easy.

THE NITTY-GRITTY (AND THE NITPICKY)

The music in The Crew 2 gets very quickly repetitive, which Ivory Tower has remedied by making it very simple to shut off while driving to sub in some of your own tunes from elsewhere. Menus in the game are very streamlined, easy to understand, and well-suited for a fast-paced racing game. Cars have ‘pro settings’ available that allow you to adjust traction control, ABS, ESP, and Slide Help settings. More specific controls are available as well, allowing you to adjust tire grip for the rear tires (low, please), suspension options, brake balance, differential options, your gearbox, and more. These settings are accessible, easy to understand, and come with a ‘set to default’ option for when you inevitably completely break your car.

The Crew 2 sits fairly comfortably at 60fps without many frame-rate drops, but does have a tendency to crash once or twice a game session. The online play has its glitches as well, with fellow players (as well as normal traffic) appearing and disappearing occasionally in front of you on the road.

7

The Verdict

The Crew 2 is an ambitious title, and when judged solely by what was expected of it—a car racing game—it’s superb. Unfortunately, judged by the sum of its parts, The Crew 2 tries to do too much at once, and could have put less time into designing its many different types of vehicles and more time into AI, optimization, and world-building.

James Kuhtreiber
Written by
July 24, 2018
Published in Sport

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James Kuhtreiber is an American writer and comedian who is currently living in Ireland. His work can be found on Amazon and probably below the paragraph you’re reading right now. James is also the Chief Editor over at Nerfwire, the oldest established (and most definitely genuine) gaming news site in the world. When James is supposed to be working on everything mentioned thus far, he’s usually playing World of Warcraft.

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