The Crew 2 Review - Beautiful Cars and Lack-Luster Gameplay
The Crew 2 is a highly ambitious sequel that has upped the ante in the open world arcade racing environment. It does so by incorporating all forms of motorsports – land, sea, and air – into a single title. The problem is that while Ivory Tower did achieve their goal of including races that occur on land, sea, and in the air into their game, thereby blazing a highly unique trail in the open world racing market, they forgot to make their game stand out in any other way.
Single Player Campaign
The single player campaign is superficial to the point of being irrelevant. The concept is that your no-name and barely customizable character is participating in a diet X-Games style TV show. Your goal is to do as many crazy things as possible to gain followers and with followers comes notoriety that gains you nothing. In the world of progression based games, this is mostly just your character’s level. While I give credit to Ivory Tower for trying to make leveling up a unique experience, the fact remains that begging for likes and followers is an entirely dated concept. I would like to say that in our social media world we are beyond the “like, favorite, and subscribe” in your face days of social media marketing. Beyond the quest for social media, stardom is the tried and profoundly tired trope of the hero character blazing a path to legitimacy by participating in inherently illegal activities. Ultimately, there is no real story that you can sink your teeth into and feel part of, or feel that you are shaping your own character’s destiny through the gameplay. The so-called story is not compelling and not very interesting, and you’ll forget it in t-minus one day.
The Game Modes
In a nutshell, the game modes are all mostly the same regardless if you are on land, sea, or in the air. You race from Point A to Point B, and whoever gets there the fastest wins the event. Drifting is the most noteworthy departure from this format, but it’s only one part of the entire puzzle and therefore not enough to make the game fun. No matter how you shake it, the game modes in The Crew 2 are highly repetitive and bland because they are substantially the same across all three forms of racing.
The Vehicles and Vehicle Mods
The most redeeming quality of this game is the vast array of vehicles. The level of detail that has been put into the cars in this game is fantastic! The library of cars, motorcycles, boats, and planes is impressive and certainly cements The Crew 2 as a vehicle collecting style of game. Every vehicle looks great, they sound great, and they are a lot of fun to drive or fly. Even though this is an arcade racing game, the driving/flying experience isn’t lacking one bit. I did play this game entirely on a controller, but it would be a lot of fun to hook it up to a racing wheel and try to get more of a dynamic experience out of it. To me, the vehicles are a solid 10!
The problem I have with the vehicles in The Crew 2 is how you collect them. Naturally, you earn in-game currency to collect the cars you want, but the prices for the cars in The Crew 2 appear to be wholly arbitrary and hyper-inflated. The Crew 2, as previously mentioned, is a car collecting style of game but the prices of the cars vs. the amount of grind time that is required creates a disconnect for the player. This is where games such as Forza and Gran Turismo do it right. They understand the car collecting nature of car enthusiasts, so instead of forcing the players to grind for one car, they keep the price per car relatively reasonable, thereby keeping the players engaged because they can afford multiple new cars in a gaming session. And of course, those newly purchased cars need to be modified too, so that means the player will spend more time in the game to earn money to buy those must-have power or aesthetic mods. It’s a cycle of reward that is instilled in the player that fuels the pleasure part of our brain which keeps up playing. When the amount of grind doesn’t match the compensation, that’s when players walk away.
Additionally, certain cars are locked behind paywalls. For instance, if you own a season pass, then you’ll be given access to purchase some unique cars that cannot be bought any other way. Lastly, microtransactions are part of The Crew 2’s profit model, which does explain the inflated pricing structure. Rather than grind for your new car, Ivory Tower would prefer that you purchased your way into your new project car.
The power mods in The Crew 2 are rudimentary at best; they are there to give the players a way to increase power in a general sense but not in a way that we are familiar with. Rather than giving the player a choice of which level of mod they would like to purchase, all mods are earned through time racing the car, boat or plane. I do like that because it means that to increase the power of your vehicle you have to drive/fly it to make it faster. You can’t just buy your way into the fastest car/boat/plane in the game; you have to earn it by racing for it.