Riding Down the Highway of Loneliness
The Crew 2 has been live since June 29th, and by now we have all had a decent amount of time to sink deeper into what this game is supposed to be. The first title in the series debuted to mixed reviews but eventually was shined up nicely to be quite a good game. Has Ubisoft learned from the past and made a stronger game or are we simply going to get more of the same? This is our review of The Crew 2.
The biggest thing you’ll notice as you first fire up The Crew 2 is that it’s story starts off in a very lighter tone than the original. The story itself progresses for the most part about you being a racer trying to gain fame, fortune and respect in the world of multi vehicle racing. While you can choose a character, there isn’t much in the way of customization, just clothes you can buy and wear later. There are a few cutscenes as you learn a bit more about the Elite racers in the specific racing circuits, but for the most part it feels like filler content put there just to guide you along as you race. This is definitely a far cry from the involved and dark story that was in the first one. It’s debatable for this being good or bad as the original story got very mixed feelings from people. But don’t come into The Crew 2 expecting some epic story as you race, it's just about gaining fans to level your popularity and getting cash to buy bigger and better things. In a lot of ways, it’s like The Crew 2 tapped into Forza Horizon, but with all manner of vehicles, not just cars.
The next thing that is noticeable is how multiplayer is set up in The Crew 2. It just doesn’t feel very intuitive. At times it seemed like the game was more of a single player game with some multiplayer thrown in because it’s a racing game. Let’s be honest and for the most part in a racing game you do want various ways to race others. At best you can join a group and do stuff on the road. In their roadmap there is supposed to be PvP coming in December. PvP seems like a very vague term to be thrown into a racing game and raises questions of why wasn’t something more solid included at release? If you’re looking to jump into random races against other players, for the moment you aren’t going to be satisfied with what is currently on offer. It’s very much a co-op open world driving game, with tons of single player challenges.
It isn’t all doom and gloom. The choices of vehicles in The Crew 2 are great with more coming down the road as time goes by. Two new ones will be added for free every month. There are plenty of paint options, stickers and sprays you can customize or use ones that other people have made as well as visual add-ons if you’re willing to spend money or time if you’re making the spray design yourself. While all the beautification is great, what lies under the hood of what you are driving is a different matter entirely. Whatever vehicle you buy starts with a bunch of generic gray parts and you can upgrade those, but only by gaining RNG loot.
Yes, that’s right, the only way to upgrade the power of what you’re playing with is by placing in the top three of a race or by randomly getting lucky enough to drive by a live loot box. What you get isn’t guaranteed, it could be any of the gear you need and come in various color grades. In a very MMO fashion loot is color scaled with green being good and then blue and pink having better stats and added perks like faster nitro recharge. So not only will you have to grind for money to get your favorite vehicle (or the best one in a type), but you have to grind for loot to upgrade the stats of your car, or plane or boat or bike. Thankfully there are no loot boxes on the horizon which is the greatest concern with a thing like this. But it makes an already grindy game, grindier.
But is The Crew 2 any fun? Understand that this is more of an arcade style racing game. Its various racing styles can be entertaining and challenging as you dash against the AI to get the best times. Weather you prefer simple street racing, drifting, cross rally, motorbike, monster trucks, F1 racing cars, stunt planes, high speed motor boats, drag racing or just driving around taking in the sites to take pictures with the advanced photo editor, The Crew 2 has a lot to offer to a varied crowd. Understand though what you are coming into with eyes open. Overall while the game is fun, it has its flaws and doesn’t feel like a 100% complete game at the moment. With no real competitive racing options, it’s missing that ingredient to make it a truly special experience. At least when that DLC comes, it’ll be free for all players, and not something extra to pay for.