Racing fans will remember 2014’s The Crew for being a massively ambitious racer, but one which failed to pick up enough steam to have a viable community for its multiplayer-centric set-up. The series is back, though, with a sequel that ups the ante, while adding aerial and boat racing into the mix. That’s right, players can jump from the streets to the skies to the water, all within the same race; but does that translate into a fun and cohesive racing experience?
In terms of a story, the game doesn’t rest its hat on investing you in a plot. You need to become the best racer in the good ole US of A, and that’s about it, and that’s fine, considering that the real star of the show is the racing itself, not the motivation.
While The Crew 2 doesn’t have the vast breadth of cars available, it does have the standout vehicles from the likes of Audi, Nissan, Ferrari, Pagani, and other big-name brands. Now, they don’t operate in a simulation-style as they would in Gran Turismo, for example. This is an arcade racer through-and-through, so wide drifts and tight handling is the name of the game here, more along the lines of Need for Speed and Burnout, and that’s something the Crew 2 is aware of – it’s not trying to be taken too seriously.
What this results in is a fun and expansive racing experience that doesn’t take itself too seriously, allowing more casual racing fans to be able to pick up a controller and have a decent go. The same can be said for the air races which can be exhilarating at times, dicing between buildings and towers as you try and overtake your opponent, but it can also feel a little ’empty’.
The boat racing does a bit of a better job to increase the pace of the action, giving you some frenetic tracks based in inner-city canals, but it also struggles to capture the excitement of sliding around a corner in a Nissan GT-R. There’s this undeniable feeling that you always want to return to the road.
The ability to switch on-the-fly between a car, boat, and plane does make the world in The Crew 2 more like a playground than a set of tracks, which is great! You can swap at will when exploring the world, but unfortunately, this mechanic is automatically implemented in races, switching you as the terrain changes, which is fine, but it would’ve been interesting to have some races where you as the player are in control of when the swap-overs happen.
One thing about The Crew 2 to keep in mind is that it doesn’t feature an offline mode, so those without an internet connection will have to, unfortunately, ensure they have some sort of connectivity in order to play The Crew 2.
There’s no denying that The Crew 2 will provide racing fans some fun, but it’s hard to shake the feeling that the game would’ve benefitted from sticking to one discipline and doing it extremely well, rather than the kitchen-sink approach. That said, it’ll keep fans of online racing busy for months (or even years) to come due to its easy-to-play attitude and tons of content.
The Crew 2 is available now on Xbox One, PS4, and PC.
Will you be picking up The Crew 2?