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Game Review

The Crew 2 is a racing-game sequel that adds a lot, takes away a lot, and in the end, feels more like a reboot of the first game rather than a continuation of it. But is that a good thing or not?

First of all, let's look at what the gamemakers at Ubisoft have taken away. The first game set up a cross-country car race event much like the one in this game. But that storyline revolved around a notorious gang of street racers called the 5-10 Motor Club—an unlawful organization that had its collective fingers in everything from illegal street racing and underground gambling to black-market drug sales. And we played as a guy recruited by the FBI to race and crack this nefarious gang wide open.

That's all gone.

A Reality Race to Fame

There's no high-speed tale of crime here, just a reality TV show of sorts. As an aspiring rookie racer, you jump into the spotlight in the hope of grabbing the attention of all the folks glued to their TV and computer screens at home.

The more races you win, the more outrageous and ramp-leaping driving skills you display, the more you gain public favor. Oh, and you unlock awesome new vehicles and rise through the ranks of the viewing public's favorites, of course.

That's this game in a nutshell: Master its huge number of open-world tracks, gain favor and become a star. Sorta like having your own YouTube channel. But don't speed away just yet, there's more here to discuss. Because now we get to the new bits that have been added.

A New Fav to Finesse

A huge amount of flat-out racing content has been dumped into The Crew 2. There are pedal-to-the-metal events galore here involving cross-country vehicles, street racers, exotic supercars, dirt bikes … oh yeah, and airplanes and boats. That's right, F-150 Raptors, Porsche 911s and Ducati street bikes are mixed in with the likes of P-51 Mustangs and Jaguar Vector speed boats.

And here's another twist: This cool collection of vehicles doesn't just get doled out in separate races. There's been quite a buzz about The Crew 2's new "Fast Fav" system, and for good reason. In certain "Xtrem," events you can choose to, well, magically morph between vehicles while you're in the heat of a race.

Why simply race the streets and trade paint with other speedsters in that Mercedes coupe of yours when your vehicle can transform and take you above it all as a cool Spitfire, then splash down in the nearby coastal waves as a souped-up speed boat? This nimble, well-designed vehicular transition system adds new dimensions to the game's adrenaline-pumping competitive challenges.

The ultimate goal, of course, is still to race your way to being king of the hill … or, actually, to become the "King of All Motorsports." By pulling off fantastic stunts and mastering various vehicles' individual idiosyncrasies bit by bit, you earn followers, claw your way up the leaderboard, gain check-signing sponsors and eventually slip on that coveted crown.

A More Comfortable Ride

Oh, and another advantage to the previous game's crime-focused storyline being stripped away? Most of The Crew's nasty references to crime have been left in the junkyard, too.

There are no gangland murders or grungy lingo to endure this go 'round. (Though I will note that the word "bada--dom" is a part of the narrative.) As for the game's soundtrack, some songs reference joint smoking, use some sexualized lyrics and incorporate the s-word. (All of that can be eliminated, though, simply by turning the music track down or off.)

Apart from those speed bumps in this game's T-rated road, by the end of this high-octane championship, I felt this Crew experience was much improved. The fast and furious fun on hand is geared more toward those interested in shaving seconds and finessing shiny vehicles through serpentine courses than it is about ravaged sheet metal or other sharp-edged gaming stuff.

And that suited this digital hot rodder just fine.

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Record Label


Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC




June 29, 2018

On Video

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Bob Hoose

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