The Crew - a weird car-rpg that is yet to get off the ground
The Crew 2 (Xbox One), 6/10
The Crew 2 is an ambitious but largely haphazard attempt at rectifying the sins committed by its predecessor. Evidently unhappy with the lukewarm reception to 2014's The Crew, Ubisoft have sought to redeem themselves with a number of dramatic additions to the established formula. Unfortunately, these additions have come with some inexplicable omissions, contributing towards a sprawling game that never really masters any one facet of the overall gameplay.
Ubisoft's dedication to a scaled-down recreation of continental USA was as admirable in the first game as it is in the second, as The Crew 2's map is not too different - if a lot more aesthetically pleasing. The water and wilderness portions are of particular note, with some scenes bording on obscenely beautiful. However, while stationary, The Crew 2 does not hold up to much scrutiny, particularly in the city and urban environments.
Much ado has been made about The Crew 2's 'Fast Fav' system, which allows the player to - at the press of a button - instantly swap between land, sea and ground vehicles. And indeed, this may very well be the best of the novel mechanics introduced to The Crew 2, affording the player extra layers of fluidity and truly injecting a unique feel to game that struggles to shine amidst the shadows of more well-respected titles. Unfortunately, the amount of events and races that make use of this mechanic are sorely lacking, which feels like a waste of potential for such an interesting feature.
Another wasted opportunity is Ubisoft's failure to capitalise upon The Crew 2's incredible map size. A single race in the game makes use of the full horizontal width of the map - a 40 minute trip between New York and San Francisco. This race alone is the only true long-distance sprint in the entire game, a disappointing showing for such a large and varied environment.
Another silly omission is the lack of PvP lobbies at launch. The developer's have stressed that these should be made available in December but this really does feel like something that should be available at launch. If this means releasing the game at a later date, then so be it.
The Crew 2 is beautiful and visceral at its best and a boring jack-of-all-trades at its worst. Car fanatics will more than likely steer clear of this one and the casual racing sim fanatic will surely be unable to stick out the overwhelming humdrum of this weird car-rpg that is yet to get off the ground.