Wednesday 16 October 2019

The Crew 2 review: Getting lost on the way to start line

The Crew 2 (PS4/XO/PC) ★★★ Age: 12+

The Crew 2
The Crew 2
Ronan Price

Ronan Price

Meet the new Crew, same as the old Crew (but different). Yes, that doesn't make sense but then neither does this sequel, at least in its current form.

Those of you with long memories may recall the enjoyable Test Drive Unlimited series, which a decade ago offered an open-world multiplayer driving experience set in Hawaii among other places. The Crew and this follow-up attempts the same shtick, this time modelling a scaled-down version of the entire United States.

Mercifully, Crew 2 drops the obnoxious Fast and Furious characterisation, only to replace it with a bland, even cringeworthy focus on extreme-sports dudes. No matter, because what counts here is the novel air/water/land triptych that enables you to flick instantly between driving a car, flying a plane or piloting a speedboat.

As neat a trick as this is, it's rarely used to great effect and you're left somewhat aimlessly flipping between separate races on water, land and in the air.

The Crew's version of America lets you travel from coast to coast (taking about an hour in real time) and though there's some fun to be had and sights to be seen, the overwhelming impression is of an empty spectacle.

Just as Ubisoft improved the underwhelming Crew appreciably post-launch, much is promised for Crew 2 in the coming months, not least a meaningful multiplayer experience. But that's little consolation to those players who shell out now only to be greeted by a slightly buggy, incomplete version of the game's true vision.

Lumines Remastered

(XO/PS4/PC) ★★★★★ Age: 3+

This one's 14 years old but the tunes still sound as fresh, hummable and memorable as they did on Sony's PSP way back in 2004. A Tetris-like puzzler set to deliciously infectious electro music, it's one of Tetsuya Mizuguchi's great creations, up there with his other classic, Rez.

This Remastered edition actually changes very little beyond upgraded visuals, usefully borrowing a few ideas and modes from later iterations in the series.

Essentially, though, it consists of a falling-block puzzle in which matching the dominant beats with your actions becomes hypnotically addictive.

Original criticisms remain relevant, such as the lack of online multiplayer and the absence of genuine difficulty for much of Challenge mode. But if that's the price you pay for being drawn into a lengthy solo session with some euphoric dance numbers, then sign me up.

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