The Crew 2 Review: A Race of a Summer

Fresh Video Game News 2022

Ubisoftthe company that brought us the trilogy Prince of Persiagames Ghost Recon originals (considered the definition of tactical shooters at the time) and who invented the crazy character Rayman, was very different from the “king” of open world games these days. Their futile quest to publish a successful MMO eventually turned into implementing one open world recipes in all series, regardless of whether this approach fits or not. Many times, the company’s new franchises seem to be just attempts to catch up and take advantage of the wave of innovative games from other manufacturers.

The desire to obtain substantial profits gave birth to two eloquent examples: Tom Clancy’s The Divisionwho wanted to take advantage of his success Destinyand The Crewwhich was undoubtedly trying to be an alternative to Need for Speed. The problem with any formula implemented in an industrial way is that, at some point, the passion and soul put into the creation process is lost. I had this feeling throughout the hours I spent with The Crew 2: the game from the Ivory Tower studio leaves you with the impression of a imitations of the Forza Horizon series of those from Playground Games. A pale and “cheap” one, as if ordered from Ali Express.

The Crew 2The Crew 2

The Crew 2The Crew 2

Both the studio and the publisher set out to fill it as much content as possible in The Crew 2, trying to make us forget the existence of the first game in the series. The problem is that the basic elements have remained more or less the same: a line of events forced by story, clumsy dialogues and characters that, when you see them, you want to cross the street just to avoid them. Fortunately, almost every in-between sequence is skippable, allowing players to focus on racing instead of interacting with the talking mannequins. After you choose a character to represent you and get to know the four teams associated with different types of races, you open the way to a not quite real, but believable copy of the United States of America.

You get to understand how huge the map is only when you participate in a race that starts from New York, with the destination San Francisco, which lasts no less than 40 minutes. Buildings and cities are rather inspired by reality and not modeled exactly, but you will always recognize where you are venturing. The excitement of driving in the Nevada desert or exploring the Grand Canyon is quickly replaced by an overwhelming feeling: the map is just too big. It’s much simpler to choose the specific courses from the menu, rather than driving to them in the game world. A positive aspect of the menus is that they give you an overview, complemented by a series of statistics, knowing at every moment what your reputation is with each faction and what races are available for your level.

The Crew 2

The Crew 2The Crew 2

The Crew 2The Crew 2

In an attempt to distance themselves from the accusation that they copied the Forza Horizon model, Ivory Tower included, in addition to machinerymany other challenges, which will ask you to ride on two wheels motorized, to conquer the sky from the cockpit of some aerobatic planes or prove your superiority on the water by piloting the fastest ones racing boats. The focus is still on the cars that “pave the asphalt”, and the aerial and water races can be ignored, the only disadvantage being the slower increase in level. Thus, a minimum duration in which the game can be completed is of about 15 hoursbut those who want to try everything included in The Crew 2 will invest twice as much time.

In order to enjoy the game it is best to ignore any attempt at narration. All you need to consider is the existence of yellow, orange, blue and pink teams whose members are interested in street racingof off-road racingof professional championships and of the “free style” challenges. The first category includes, in addition to the classic street races, events of drifting and racing dear. The most persistent of players will unlock the path to Hyper Car, which involves racing with exorbitantly expensive and very fast cars, in races that last between 20 and 40 minutes. The second category focuses on the freedom of off-road driving alongside racing motocross and rallycross. The third category has the main characters monster trucks, boats to cross the swamps and aerobatic planes. The last category includes high-speed water racing, a championship with touring cars and a series of air and ground events inspired by Red Bull Racing.

The Crew 2

The Crew 2The Crew 2

The Crew 2The Crew 2

Each team has an AI controlled pilotparticularly talented, who serves as Bossi. In exchange for a special car, these boshis must be defeated in a series of events. In addition to the races themselves, each with specific and quite different objectives, increasing the reputation with each team also requires the performance of special actions such as taking photos in very difficult conditions. In Las Vegas, for example, you will have to photograph yourself perched on top of the pyramid or piloting the plane upside down between the pillars of the miniature copy of the Eiffel Tower. Each race can be completed both in the normal version and in a difficult one, with strict winning conditions. Being able to jump from one type of event to another at any time adds variety and, in theory, prevents boredom. In reality, unless you’re a big fan of arcade racing games, the game doesn’t give you the feeling that you can’t tear yourself away from the screen.

Those expecting some trace of simulation will quickly learn that, in The Crew 2, using the brake is not only optional, it is often counter-productive. Another result of the arcade nature of the game is that cars are more indestructible than Superman. On the other hand, after a stronger collision, even if you clearly see that you could continue the race, the re-tracking mechanism is automatically activated, which makes you lose too much time.

The Crew 2

The Crew 2The Crew 2

The Crew 2The Crew 2

It is not missing either the rubber-banding effect: in many of the races for nothing you accumulate a significant lead, without making mistakes, at some point you will find yourself with an AI-controlled opponent who, after passing you, slows down to your speed, allowing you to pass him again . This only gets frustrating when it happens flat on the last hundred meters, but things aren’t as annoying as in the Need for Speed ​​series. On the other hand, the AI ​​isn’t exactly brilliant, often bumping into scenery or going under a bridge. Although in most races the main goal is to win first place, in some races you end up on the podium to be able to continue.

Race and object design from The Crew 2 doesn’t necessarily fit the nature of the game. Especially in cities, it will happen that you get stuck in an object that according to any logical deduction, you should have flown around or passed over it without problems. And when it comes to the 40-minute races, this aspect can become especially frustrating. Equally disturbing can be the lack of handrails, which prevent accidental flights from bridges or falling into chasms. In free driving the result can be spectacular, but when you have to follow an exact route, the result is only frustration.

The Crew 2

The Crew 2The Crew 2

The Crew 2The Crew 2

The category of negative aspects also includes game performance, in the case of the PS4 edition. Besides textures that leave something to be desired even when it comes to car models, especially the speed with which objects are displayed is particularly disturbing. When it comes to highway racing, it becomes annoying that you have to have ninja reflexes to avoid oncoming traffic. Using the dash cam, the mirrors are just for decoration and the gauges aren’t detailed enough.

Fortunately, things are much better in PC version of the game, where the details can be increased to the point where draw distance problems no longer appear. Also, on PC you can compete at 60 frames per second, if the configuration of the owned system allows it. For example, on a PC equipped with an i7 6700 processor, 16GB of RAM and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 video card, you can use the maximum details, in 4K resolutionmaintaining a playable framerate (even if not a constant 60fps).

The Crew 2

The Crew 2The Crew 2

The Crew 2The Crew 2

neither lack of clear directions regarding the route do not help. Especially in the case of long races, some semi-transparent arrows or the use of a widely accessible invention would have been useful: GPS with voice playback. It is impossible driving at 340 km/h to pay attention to both the road and the minimap in order not to miss an intersection. Things get even more complicated in the case of passages where the three or more exits lead in completely different directions.

neither the offer of cars it is not quite satisfactory. Although in The Crew 2 they are found the most popular manufacturers, each of them is represented by only a few models. The selection is not exactly bad, but there are missing legendary models that I would have expected to meet. A positive aspect, however, is that cheaper models can be tuned to cope with the races. The improvement of the machines is done through random pieces won from the races. These are universal and are limited only to the vehicle category, not to the manufacturer. Thus, a part intended for cars participating in street races can be mounted on an Aston Martin, but also on a Mini Cooper. The result of this system is the possibility of defeating dream cars with super-tuned cheap cars.

The Crew 2

The Crew 2The Crew 2

The Crew 2The Crew 2

But what you will encounter in abundance are customization possibilities. Within the virtual house owned by each player (those who purchased the Season Pass even get two mansions), he can create his own “costume” for the pilot, but also for his favorite cars. Players can choose from a number of clothing items, alongside car parts with an aesthetic rather than performance-related role.

In conclusion we can say that the change of inspiration from Need for Speed, in the case of the first game, to Forza Horizon, in the case of The Crew 2, was a good choice for the franchise. The second episode is more successful than the first, but it always gives you the feeling of one video game lacking originality and soul. The graphics are not at the level you would expect and many design decisions seem to be made in haste, without being finished. The Crew 2 is a suitable choice for arcade fans who cannot survive summers without a virtual “dash” and are willing to overlook the game’s flaws. The others better wait for autumn and spend their money on the next Forza Horizon.

The Crew 2

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