Developer: Ivory Tower
Release Date: June 26, 2018 (Gold Edition) / June 29 (Standard Edition)
ESRB: Teen / PEGI 12
MSRP: $99,99 (Gold Edition with Season Pass) / $59,99 (Standard Edition)
Available Platforms: PS4 [Reviewed], Xbox One, PC
I’ll be honest, after playing the Beta I was not hyped for this game at all. It felt like The Crew 1 with more racing disciplines slapped into it, and essentially that’s what it is, but it does improve enough on other things to make it worth a second visit. The server connectivity is perfect (not a single disconnect or lag in 35 hours of gameplay playing with a friend). There are now 14 racing disciplines / 14 vehicle types: Street Racing, Drift, Drag Race, Hyper Car, Rally Raid, Rally Cross, Motocross (Bikes), Aerobatics (Stunt Plane), Jetsprint (Boats), Monster Truck, Power Boat, Touring Car, Alpha GP (Formula One), Air Race.
It plays on the same map as The Crew 1, a replica of the United States. It’s not on a 1:1 scale but it is pretty big. Driving from coast to coast in the fastest car takes around 40 minutes.
There’s freeplay (driving around in the open world as you please), story events, 144 ‘skill events’ (such as speed traps) and 92 photo ops for taking pictures of certain sights around the map. There’s a ton to do. Luckily you can teleport straight to the events and don’t have to drive there.
The new racing disciplines are fun. Driving a boat or flying planes may sound mundane but the game actually keeps if fun by having different types of boat/plane disciplines. There are some boat races through swamps with very tight turns. For planes you have air races (flying through checkpoints quickly) and stunt events (doing air stunts). Motocross and Rally Cross are also a change to street races. In Monster Truck events you have to smash targets in an arena to hit a score limit. Touring Car events have you driving on formula one tracks. Hyper Car, Drift, Drag Race, Street Race are your normal speed races. The Rally Raid events are my favorites, they are offroad races in which you can drive wherever you want as long as you hit the key checkpoints. It’s a mix of things and keeps the story interesting in the long run. You constantly get to play new vehicles and game modes.
I played all of it with a friend in my party. The good part about this is that only one player needs to place in the top 3 and it will count as a ‘win’ for everyone. Even if you are last but your friend places third it counts as a win for you. This way we didn’t have to go back and redo events. What was evident though is that 3 AI racers always stick to the first players and 3 stick to the other player. Therefore two groups always formed. The AI adjusts their speed to yours. If you are last they will drive slower and make more mistakes. If you are first they will stick to you like glue, even if your car is 50 levels above theirs.
Once you reach 70% in a family (Street Racing, Offroad, Freestyle, Pro Racing) you can challenge their boss. After beating all bosses you unlock the final race. There are a few cutscenes here and there after certain races.
I’m not the biggest fan of the loot system. After winning a race (which in this game means placing in top 3) you get at least 2 new upgrade parts. Each car has 7 upgrade slots. It’s random for what slot you’ll get an upgrade. Sometimes I had 5 upgrades for the same slot but not a single upgrade had dropped for another slot. It does even out sooner or later though. The only way to fully upgrade a vehicle is to redo the same event over and over again. The good news is that it always drops better parts than you already have. There should have been a way to buy specific upgrades like a tuning shop to remove the randomness factor.
The control scheme has two big oddities. When driving a boat you constantly have to hold down the left stick while accelerating to gain top speed. That’s the only way to win a boat race. You also use the left stick to steer so naturally it makes for weird controls. Also, it’s annoying to hold down a stick for minutes on end. The second oddity is that long-distance Hypercar events (40-minute drives from coast to coast) have no signs to show you what roads to take and the checkpoints are kilometers apart. You constantly have to look at the map (which is a feature the game doesn’t even tell you about) while driving 400 km/h. I either missed an exit because I was driving so fast it wouldn’t even show on the map soon enough or I crashed into oncoming traffic because I had to keep an eye on the map. This could easily have been solved by putting in a colored race line on the ground or adding barricades so you don’t end up on the wrong road. They also have to add a directional arrow to checkpoints. I was often driving through one and then the next checkpoint required to take a sharp turn for which there was no indication beforehand. These are just small things but they are annoying after a while.
For its minor flaws, it gets all the big things right. Inviting crew members to events is as easy as driving into the event and it sends an invite to crew members automatically. Then they can accept or decline. I did have an issue with some of my PSN friends not showing up on the in-game friends list. This can be solved by creating a PSN party chat and joining the other player through that. Teleporting to other players or to an event is instant. There are no loading screens to speak of. This is outstanding in a game world this large and constantly connected to other players. I wish every open world game would run this seamlessly. The servers also work perfectly, not a single disconnect or lag. I have to applaud the devs, this is one of the smoothest open world experiences ever. It does, however, have to sacrifice a bit of graphical fidelity to get there. Trees and buildings look bad. Cars look fine though.
All the visual tuning is done from your home. There are plenty of preset liveries or you can make your own. There’s also a decent enough amount of body parts to customize, depending on the car.
The trophies in this game are relatively easy and fast to do. It took me 30 hours to obtain the platinum. You get pretty much everything including the level-related trophies (Icon Level 50) automatically along the way. The only grindy part was maxing out a car which took me 3 hours replaying the same drift event over and over again. For a trophy hunt this is an enjoyable game, especially with a friend.
In the end, I had a pretty good time with The Crew 2. I’m glad I played it all in co-op, that’s the game’s strength. It can also be enjoyed solo of course, but a constant internet connection and PlayStation Plus subscription is required. The game features microtransactions (in the form of credits to buy cars) but they are optional and all cars can be unlocked with in-game money through natural gameplay.
*Overall Enjoyment Factor, Fascination with Game World, Level Design, Variety, Playability, User-Friendliness (Ease of Use / Readability / Controls / in-game Tutorials / Menus)
+ 14 racing disciplines / 14 vehicle categories. This keeps it interesting in the long run, a lot of variety and doesn’t get boring
*Quality of the Singleplayer Story, Cutscenes and/or Multiplayer Modes (whichever is available). If a game has no Story or no Multiplayer it won’t be rated (thus no negative effect on score).
Campaign: 8/10 (Fair enough for a racing game, the mix of disciplines keeps it interesting, I was never bored. The boss events and Live Series are a nice touch)
*Graphics, Texture Quality, Character Details, Lighting, Weather Effects, Animations, Loading Times, Number of Loading Screens, does it run smoothly
+ Very fast load times! For such a big online world it’s mighty impressive how smoothly it runs.
*Amount of Content, Production Quality, Replay Value, is there enough content to justify a purchase
If you played The Crew 1 you already know how huge the world map is, it’s the same map. It’s absolutely massive and fun to explore in freeplay. Thanks to the many racing disciplines it feels like a true change. There are 92 photo ops and 144 skill events in addition to the main races and multi-discipline events. A ton to do here.
*Rates how much fun the Platinum / 1000 Gamerscore is to achieve: Are trophies fun to do? Do trophies restrict freedom of gameplay? Missable trophies? Multiple playthroughs required? Luck-based trophies? Pointless farming/grinding? Glitched Trophies? Are stats/trophies tracked correctly?
Maxing out a car and equipping it with epic-only parts is the only grindy part. It took me around 3 hours of grinding the same drift event to get the randomly dropped tuning parts to level up. Other than that it was a lot of fun, easy and only took about 30 hours to platinum.
|Extraordinary Score Increase or Deduction
*Reserved for extraordinarily good or bad features that the other categories don’t cover (such as game-breaking bugs). This score is directly added/subtracted from the final score.
The Crew 2 surpassed my expectations. The 14 racing disciplines are a big step up from the first game and keep it interesting in the long run. It’s like GTA V without violence.
Played on PS4 Pro (patch 1.01), played during early access phase with Gold Edition. A free review copy was provided by Ubisoft. Earned the platinum trophy, completed the story and Live Series, did 40 photo ops, maxed out a car, reached Icon Level 93, played for 35 hours.
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