The Crew 2 Review – Top Notch Arcade Racing Across America with Friends

By: Louis Edwards
 

Developer Ivory Tower has unleashed the highly anticipated sequel to their 2014 release The Crew. Does The Crew 2 live up to the standards of its predecessor, or was the series a victim of the sophomore slump?

Read our review to find out

Ubisoft and Ivory Tower teamed up for The Crew and published it almost 4 years ago. The continued support with DLC and updates took an already great game ( we gave it an 8 upon release), and continued to make it better. New vehicles, and new vehicle classes, took the game to another level from launch and added a depth that we didn’t even realize was missing. Fast forward to now and The Crew 2 is fully released to the world, bringing with it even more vehicles and classes, adding even more depth to this fun racing title.Upon launching the game for the first time, you are introduced to the Extreme Racing series, and three of the racing classes that will be available to you. The opening sequence starts you out in a street car, racing at high speeds through a big city, then you’ll be tossed into a boat for some serious power boat racing, followed by some air time with some airplane racing, and then tossed back onto the street to finish out the course. No need to worry about how you finish because the introductory race is just for show and has no real bearing on the game. It is an awesome introductory experience, and should get you hyped about the fun that is to come.

So Many Racing Classes

Once you’ve finished the intro, you are given a choice of one four classes to begin with. You can head to LA for some Street racing, New York for some Pro Boat racing, the Midwest from some Off Road racing, or Salt Lake City from some Freestyle events. Whichever you choose, you’ll be given a vehicle to start out with and it can already hold its own with the beginner races. We went with the boat racing, because we wanted to try out something new with the series. Boat racing within the game isn’t just racing across flat water in an empty lake, it also includes open water racing in the ocean, where you’ll have to fight the waves of nature, as well as the waves from the boats in front of you, if you’re not leading of course.

As you finish races and meet the criteria of the event (usually that means finishing in the top 3), you’ll earn new parts for that class of vehicle. Quite often in games, these parts are locked to the specific vehicle or make that earned them, and you’ll have to grind out new parts for any future vehicle purchases within that class. Not so with The Crew 2. Unlock a new motorcore for your first boat, and you’ll also be able to install it into a future, possibly faster base boat. One of our favorite classes in the game is the drag racing class, and being able to swap out parts came in handy there. While we are huge Ford fans, and started out with an awesome drag class Mustang, we found out that the Chevy Corvette, and it pains us to say this, was the better drag racing car. Being able to swap out all of the previously earned parts took the Vette to a level above what the Mustang was, even though the Performance Level was the same.

Performance Level and You

Every vehicle in the game has a current performance level, and a max available performance level. Earning new parts will slowly raise the performance level for that vehicle. Each events has a recommended performance level, and each event can also have its difficulty raised, which in turn raises the recommend performance level of your vehicle. The difference between a normal difficulty event and a hard difficulty event is pretty big, and we advise you to take heed of that recommended number. It’s not some random number but is a solid recommendation of what you need to compete. If it says you need a level 380 vehicle, trust us when we say you better have something pretty darn close to that, or higher, if you want to complete the challenge.

As you finish races and tasks around the country, you’ll be earning followers. The number of followers you have determines your current status. You’ll start out as a Rookie, slowly working your way up to Famous, then on to Star, and finally to Icon. Once you hit Icon status, leveling up adds a number to your icon name and also earns you icon points, which in turn are used to unlock extra perks found within the Pilot Profile menu. This isn’t something that was pointed out very well within the game, but once we found it, was easy to use and the extra perks do come in handy. Leveling up your Icon status can also earn you new vehicles, so climbing up the Icon ladder should keep you busy for some time to come.

How’s the actual racing?

The game has a lot of bells and whistles, with tons of eye candy and awesome graphics, but the bottom line with any racing game has to be how the game actually plays when it comes to driving and racing. There are generally two different types of racing game: the arcade racer and the simulation racer. The Crew 2 is clearly an arcade racer, with unrealistic drifting, cornering abilities, and super high speeds. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just an arcade thing. If you want realism, play some Assetta Corsa or Project Cars 2, but when it comes to pure fun and adrenaline with no need for serious driving skills, a good arcade racer like The Crew 2 can’t be beat.

Full Size Monster Trucks in a Half Pipe.

The game does have its flaws, and Street Racing highlights one of them, as it can be a frustrating experience. There’s a term called rubberbanding that comes into play and what that means is, no matter how well you do, the AI will stay right there with you, or be able to catch up even if you build a huge lead. Case in point is the Papa John Race, where you are in the Papa John Camaro and the AI is in several other older cars. It’s a race of decent length, and we had as much as a full 7 second lead at one point, but then out of nowhere, near the finish line, the AI closed that gap in a flash and we were having to fight them off. The AI had to have skipped several checkpoints in order to close that gap. We only saw this in the Street Races, so at least it wasn’t in the other classes as well.

Meant to be Played with Friends

The Crew 2 is a lot of fun to play solo, but it is even more fun to play with friends. Ubisoft knew this and was nice enough to send us four review codes so we could all play together online. Flying or driving in formation will net you bonus followers, as will doing events together. When racing in a crew and competing in events, it doesn’t really matter if you do well as long as someone in your crew meets the challenge of that event. This can allow a crew to be made up of folks that enjoy different classes and excel in those classes, while maybe not doing so well in others. Team up with someone that’s good at street races, while you are better at air racing, and you’ll both benefit when playing these events.

Some of these events can be time consuming, and the Hyper Car races can be extremely long. While the world record times may say 35 minutes, you may end up spending 45 minutes or more, so be prepared and be sure to set aside enough time to complete them. Hyper cars won’t become available until you reach Icon status, but once they do, they are long races. Every event also becomes available once you reach Icon status, so climbing up the Icon ranks will happen faster than you may think.

So Much to See and Do

The game starts out with only four items on the map of America, but as you climb the popularity board, the map fills up nicely. Areas like Miami, New York, and LA are jam packed with events for you once you hit Icon status.

The Beginning

Icon Status Unlocked

For completionists out there that are always looking for extra stuff to do, there are speed traps to be found and photo opportunities to be had. Speed traps can be found using the menu, but the photos will require you to drive around and find them. Some photos will also require you be in a crew, as we came across one that required a Ferrari to be jumped over by a monster truck. Photo mode is easy to use and all of the photos you take are saved as if you used the share button. This was smart thinking by the developer as it makes sharing these photos a breeze. You can see some of them in the photo gallery below this review.

Developer Ivory Tower took the successes of the original game and built a solid sophomore title with The Crew 2. This is arcade racing at its finest. Now go and get you AND your friend a copy.

9


The Crew 2: Gold Edition review codes provided by publisher and reviewed on a PS4 Pro. For more information on scoring, please read: What our review scores really mean.