The Crew 2 review: Where is everybody?

July 10, 2018

Enlarge / L E G I T (credit: Ubisoft)

Over the years, Ubisoft has quietly and steadily built itself a reputation for supporting its games tremendously after launch. Those efforts usually pay off; most Ubisoft games released in the past few years are meaningfully bigger and better than they were at launch.

But what those games typically have (and The Crew 2 lacks) are solid foundations. Instead, the new open-world racing game feels so light on features, personality, and fundamentally enjoyable activities that I’d swear it’s an Early Access game—aside from the telltale graphical polish that comes with a big budget. It’s enough to make me wonder if the publisher is abusing its own “it gets better” model. Because this game still feels like it needs to be finished.

If you played the beta of The Crew 2, you’ve basically seen what there is to see. The “story” in particular mostly burns itself out in the first five minutes. You’re a nameless racer (both literally and figuratively) who is looking to make a name for yourself. That means teaming up with a fictional GoPro knockoff company to accumulate social media followers—The Crew 2’s in-world name for experience points. And… that’s it.

The minimalist plotting is quite the change from the first game’s tale of a brother seeking revenge against a nationwide gang. Whereas The Crew’s plot was intolerably bad—akin to a USA channel original movie you might catch late at night—The Crew 2 manages to be intolerable without even attempting anything. Disembodied and poorly acted voices occasionally spout juvenile philosophy about the freedom of freestyle racing or something equally hollow. It’s just enough to make me wish the game didn’t have dialogue at all.

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