Review

The Crew 2 Review - On The Road Again

  • First Released Jun 29, 2018
    released
  • PS4

Planes, boats, and automobiles (Plus: hovercrafts, helicopters, and bikes).

After 30 hours, The Crew 2 has left me with a lot of wonderful memories. They aren't filled with the kind of emergent stories you get from exploring an open world and its systems, nor are they moments that involve goofing around with strangers--The Crew 2 is lacking in both those aspects. Instead, my memories are filled with the game's variety of vehicular activities and the wonderfully curated tracks: the unrealistic, the impossible, and the delightful.

It's surprising to see just how much The Crew 2 differs from the original game. There's been a noticeable shift in Ubisoft’s last few open-world titles, one that's moving toward a focus on player-driven progression--large selections of optional activities, non-linear structures, rewards for doing just about anything--and The Crew 2 benefits significantly from this direction. The gritty crime angle from the original game is gone, and instead, The Crew 2 takes reams of pages from the book of Forza Horizon. The game centers on a nationwide festival of motorsports where you, a rookie, are poised to become the next big star. While the setup is conventional, and the focus on social media fame is obnoxious, what it brings to the game is a colorful and upbeat vibe, an impressive variety of different disciplines, and positively ridiculous arcade driving on land, water, and through the air.

Despite the game's focus on real-world branding and mimicry of televised motorsports, The Crew 2's greatest asset is its willingness to be ridiculous. Races in The Crew 2 might involve jumping your street-racing car off skyscrapers, or your powerboat off the Hoover Dam. They might include making high-speed touring cars go head to head through the tight, windy Hollywood Hills, and motocross bikes take jumps across shipping freighters and freeways right before you transform into a prop plane like some kind of extreme-sports mecha. This is a game that will cover Los Angeles in three feet of snow for no logical reason other than icy roads make for more thrilling street races. Abundant nitro boosts, uncomplicated drifting, and generous rubber-banding also help keep the act of driving exciting when things are relatively tame.

As a game with an open world, races and challenges can naturally be found and initiated when you stumble across them at particular points on the map. However, playing The Crew 2 with open-world exploration as your primary means of moving from activity to activity reveals the game's major downfall: it's too big, and all the activities and interesting locations are too spread out. The game hides a number of boxes with vehicle components across the map, which you can hunt for using a proximity tracker, but even these feel too few and far between.

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But with that in mind, The Crew 2 thankfully makes it easy to cut your commute down via player-friendly shortcuts. The game has an option to view all 120+ primary activities and countless more skill challenges (featuring things like escapes, slaloms, and a rewarding photo mode) in a categorized, list-style view, with the option to not just set a waypoint to them, but instantly start them no matter where you are in the world, at no cost. The loading times in The Crew 2 are impressively brief all around, so if you want to, you can churn through races and challenges back-to-back to very quickly and efficiently rack up progression points, earn cash, and set leaderboard positions from the moment you start.

It's an option that's both convenient and gives the impression that the game is conscious of your time. Likewise, any activity can be restarted or aborted in seconds if you're having a bad run, and there's a quick back-on-track feature that can be used any time. When you're not in an event you can switch to any vehicle you own immediately, without penalty, and without having to go anywhere. That's on top of being able to assign a favorite ground vehicle, boat, and plane to your right analog stick to allow for instantaneous switching during free-roam exploration, which provides its own kind of fun, for example, flying into the stratosphere with your plane before switching to a boat and careening back to Earth. Any vehicle that's available for sale is also graciously available for you to test drive on a moment's notice.

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The variety of different vehicular disciplines in The Crew 2 is downright impressive--each of the 14 styles is tangibly unique from one another. Every time I started to get fatigued with one method of competition, I could quickly jump to another that had a completely different feel. Each is housed within one of four "Families" which you're free to move between to perpetuate your overall progress: Street (street racing, drifting, drag racing, long-distance hypercar racing), Offroad (cross-country rally raid, motocross, loose-surface rallycross), Freestyle (plane aerobatics, jet sprint boating, monster trucking), and Pro (power boating, air racing, touring cars, and grand prix).

While the execution of The Crew 2's disciplines might not wholly satisfy purists of any one given style, it does a great job of making each feel accessible, fun, and unique. I'm usually too intimidated by grand prix racing to give it a shot in other games, and I would never have even considered the idea of playing a power boating game. But, the Crew 2 encourages you to try a little bit of everything, and it's easy thanks to the game's approachable arcade-style mechanics, as well as the prospects of seeing more beautiful and ludicrous tracks.

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Those tracks are certainly another highlight of the game, because there's an inherent novelty to the virtual tourism of The Crew 2. You'll likely recognize iconic structures, but there are also enough abstracted details that contribute to the city's atmosphere and character. And, like the original game, The Crew 2 does a great job at building a seamless and recognizable version of America to drive through, whether it's a designated top-to-bottom endurance race or a self-assigned recreation of a road trip you did a few years back. The journey across the country feels grounded, as you drive through cities that morph into industrial areas and farmland, into plains, deserts, forests and rural areas, occasionally flying by a small town now and then.

And whether you're driving, boating, or flying across The Crew 2's America, it's a mostly beautiful journey. The game's natural environments, particularly bodies of water and the sky, look fantastic, as do weather effects like snow and rain. All are enhanced to breathtaking heights by the superb lighting, though the continuous day/night and weather cycle can be an occasional inconvenience during some events--whether it be afternoon sun in your eyes, snow obscuring track obstacles, or having to fly through a tight canyon in complete darkness. Where the visuals visibly falter are in dense urban areas. You likely won't notice buildings when you're zooming past them at 200km/h, but any slower and you can't help but notice how plain they are, especially in broad daylight with clear skies. Character models, on the other hand, always look incredibly basic, no matter the situation.

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The game's RPG-style vehicle upgrade system returns from the original game, though it still doesn't feel particularly meaningful. You'll receive loot after every race in various stages of rarity (common, uncommon, rare, epic), and each corresponds to a particular vehicle part and has its own power number, which contributes to your vehicle's overall power number. There is some small benefit to this system--all vehicles of a particular class, despite having different power levels in their stock configuration, will max out at the same number, meaning you can stick with your favorite car all the way up to and through the endgame.

But while some parts come with unique gameplay perks, and more professional tuning options eventually become available, I found the upgrade system pretty easy to ignore--simply equipping the one with the biggest number was all I had to do to stay competitive. However, if you own multiple vehicles in a certain class and decide to switch between them at some point, stripping one vehicle of all its powerful parts and re-installing them on another is a tedious annoyance. The gear system as a whole feels like it's there to act as an additional roadblock to make sure your progress to higher tiers of races stays gradual; there were a few times where I found it necessary to replay a number of previously-won races in order to earn higher-grade parts to give myself a reasonable chance in later events. Another obstacle is the cost of the vehicles you're required to purchase to be able to participate in certain disciplines: Buying a vehicle in order to gain access to an advanced discipline like air racing or grand prix is expensive, and will typically empty out your in-game wallet completely. I didn't need to dip into the game's real-world currency equivalent to progress during my playthrough, but those who like to keep a garage filled with lots of different cars will likely have a tougher time with in-game credits.

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The Crew 2 allows you to form a party with three other players to explore and participate in events together, but, at the time of writing the game doesn't offer any meaningful ways to interact with players outside your party, despite their visible presence in the always-online world. Aside from manually inviting them into your party via the roster menu, there is no way to formally challenge them to race in any capacity. Ubisoft has stated that player-versus-player lobbies are planned as a free content update in December, on top of new vehicle disciplines and other updates, but they do not exist in The Crew 2 as of July 2018.

The Crew 2's large open-world feels too sparse to be engaging enough for anything more than some light virtual tourism, and it's easy to disparage it because of that. But it also provides the landscape for the game's most memorable experiences, and these can come hard and fast, if you want them to. There's always a ridiculously indulgent twist or spectacular moment, whether it be drifting off cliffs in a snow-covered Grand Canyon before transforming into a boat to jet down the Colorado River, or hurtling down a mountain during a spectacular sunset in a rally raid.

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I'm annoyed by the game's lack of public interaction and meaningless gear system, but I'll fondly recall both the tension of flinging sprint boats back and forth through the narrow, artificial canals of The Venetian in Las Vegas, and the easygoing satisfaction of an hour-long hypercar race from New York to San Francisco, where I listened to a podcast and enjoyed the rolling scenery. Despite its shortcomings, The Crew 2 still displays admirable strengths, which lie in its player-friendly features, freedom of movement, and its willingness to bend the rules in order to make things exciting and varied for an accessible, American-themed thrillride.

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The Good

  • Accessible and fun arcade-style vehicle mechanics
  • Substantial variety of racing disciplines that feel distinct
  • A large, cohesive open world that's enjoyable to tour
  • Imaginative and exciting track design
  • A number of player-friendly quality of life features
  • Beautiful natural environments and weather effects

The Bad

  • Loot system feels mostly superfluous
  • Urban areas and character models are visually unappealing
  • Points of interest are spread too thin for exploration to be consistently engaging
  • No meaningful public player interactions at launch

About the Author

Edmond Tran prefers to virtually drive cars from the 1970s and kinda wishes Ubisoft would make another Driver game. The Crew 2 was played on PS4 Pro using a code provided by Ubisoft.
127 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

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SoHo-69

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Hello Everyone , its been a while since the game released , Since all the patches an updates would you still recommend this game or not ?

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PrimusTool

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Edited By PrimusTool

There are times when the game looks awesome and is really fun and there are times when the game looks worse than PS3 and is convoluted. It could be much better than it is but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't having any fun with it.

Still, my internet was down today and I couldn't play it because of the stupid always online requirement. How in the world is that not listed under the bad bullet points?!?! I'd be pretty mad if I spent money on this game but thankfully it was a gift.

*Edit aaandd it's down again two weeks later. I'm completely locked out from all content. So glad Gamespot is posting a million Marvel articles instead of giving us basic information on games.

2 • 
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skippert

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No - for uninspiring story and characters / bad dialogue. Add that and you are left with yet another shell that has potential. 6.5/10

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TMJMajorVapor

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Edited By TMJMajorVapor

After being a huge fan of the first one, I was scared when I played the closed beta. Then I played the open beta and realized that Ubisoft ruined this game. It's like they forgot all about the first crew and tried to make a whole new game. Also on a side note, I'd like to know how much Gamespot got paid for the 8 they gave this game. Myself along with other Crew fans are not pleased. Not getting my money!

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GameboyTroy

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It might be better to play Gravel instead.

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Alucard_Prime

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hmmmm….from a technical score perspective, here is the issue:

You either need to bring this down to 7, or leave it at 8 but increase the score of Forza Horizon 2 to 9......but then if you do the latter, you would need to also bump up the score of Forza Horizon 3 to a 10....but what if Forza Horizon 4 is better than FH3?.....just joking of course :)

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deactivated-5e7f8a21de9dd

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so it's Forza Horizon but worse

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PETERAKO

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This game does everything in its power to annoy you every step of the way. Unbreakable obstacles, physics that are not that improved over the first one, thematology that is trying too hard to be hip with the kids and the dudebros, economy that favours microtransactions, looting upgrades, constant nagging from the game to do stuff, Ubisoft just stop it. You really aren't that good at making racing games.

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bongaconga

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Edited By bongaconga

In 1999 I bought a Sound Blaster Live Platinum 16 bit sound card. It came with three games, one of which was “Need for Speed 3: Hot Pursuit”. This card is still in my Win98 retro computer (together with a Voodoo 3, 3000) and I can tell you that this game kills any modern race games incl. “The Crew”.

Man, the more we go down in time the shittier racing games become. Incredible. Too late now, people love to spend money on crap.

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Warlord_Irochi

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Edited By Warlord_Irochi

@bongaconga: As weird as it may sound, people actually pay money for the games they like and enjoy.

Kinda the same way that others seem to like spam website comments crying over how bad current games are and how they miss the old times like a grumpy old man. :)

Seriously man, not a single post you write that is not a rant or an insult to those who like what you don't like. You should thing about it: Do you really enjoy being mad and frustrated all the time?

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bongaconga

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Edited By bongaconga

@Warlord_Irochi: Well, if you spend a ton on a system, you expect at least decent games but all we get is commercialized crap while the next game is already being worked on.

BFs, CODs, Destiny, The Crew, SWBF, etc, all these major “AAA” games are crap and all had already people work on the next installment while the first main game barely came out.

Also, complaining is healthy.

6 • 
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Axecution

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That was a super in-depth review, man (y) well done

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skippert

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@Axecution: except he missed some stuff and came to an 8/10 by some miracle, but yeah awesome review..

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Todddow

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The physics and handling of the vehicles are AWFUL, unfortunately, THIS IS THE CORE OF THE GAME. I thought the boats and planes would be a cool addition, but they are really boring to use in this game. Very disappointed.

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death_burnout

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Now that this review is finished, I am stunned that it is still an 8.

Listen people, this game is not finished. The main premise of the game is not fully realised and could not be any more shallow, the events carry no weight and are thin in numbers. The world is not fully utilised and all exploration features from the first game have been forgotten. Nothing has been expanded upon in this area. It is riddled with problems top to bottom.

This concept has been done better in the past and it is so frustrating to see Ivory Tower under perform yet again. Is this game an 8 in terms of fun? That's not for me to say, but objectively as a whole I can't fathom such high praise.

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doorselfin

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doorselfin  Staff

@death_burnout: So... you haven't played it?

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skippert

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@doorselfin: I have and he is not incorrect

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tronny2011

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To be honest people the crew 2 is not bad, yes it is better than the first as far as content goes, but it is still an enjoyable romp..some will like it I do and some will not...i am sure it will make its money back...nice one ubisoft...

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Steelworm

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meh, beta was bad and the game still looks like a draft

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deactivated-5c1c32e0b8cc8

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I played the Closed BETA and the Open BETA and I put in over 3 days of time into the game between the two. In those 72+ hours of playing, I can confidently say that an 8/10 is certainly too generous. The formula of the game is incredibly boring and simplistic. It goes a little something like this... Grind, grind, grind, buy a car. Grind, grind, grind, buy a boat. Grind, grind, grind, buy a plane. Maybe go mess with the way they look for a minute, then grind, grind, grind, buy another car, etc... You get so fed up with how small the payouts of events are and how many more races you're going to have to do before you can advance that you end up doing the races in a rush mode instead of actually enjoying each race. You just want to get them all done and over with so you don't have to mess with them anymore. And the world is 100% lifeless. Unless you're doing a race or a challenge, the world offers you nothing but a huge vast place to drive with nothing to do in between. I have never understood how you at GameSpot rate your games. An 8/10 tells me that this game is amongst the greats and clearly, it is not. I believe a 6/10 is more reasonable with a 5 being dead center average. It is slightly better than average, but that's about it.

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doorselfin

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doorselfin  Staff

@jayskoon93: Wow, that's a lot of hours to put into the beta of a game you apparently didn't seem to enjoy very much?

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deactivated-5c1c32e0b8cc8

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@doorselfin: I enjoyed it, but I didn't LOVE it. I think with time the game will grow and become something more. Especially after PvP releases in December and the expansion packs they will release at some point later on. And yes, I know that's a lot of time, BUT I wasn't feeling good during that time which kept me in bed. That is basically all I did until I felt better.

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hughesyboozy

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@doorselfin: Yeah because why would someone put so many hours into a game to get the full picture so they can give an honest opinion of the game.

So often I see people say "Oh you've only played it for an hour, how can you give an opinion"

And you are saying.

"Oh, why did you put so many hours into a game you didn't like"

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PrimusTool

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@hughesyboozy: You don't think there's a middle ground somewhere in between one hour and SEVENTY TWO hours? I'd think by hour 10 he could have figured out he wasn't enjoying the game very much. It's not going to suddenly get better after 50 more hours.

"Well I've found this game awful for the first 60 hours....better sink another 12 hours of my life into it just to make sure the people who read the comment section on gamespot know I didn't care for it."

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deactivated-5c1c32e0b8cc8

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@PrimusTool: Lmao! I absolutely love your comment. Honestly, I do. You are right in a lot of ways, but when a game is in a BETA stage I tend to play it even more than a full release because I actually write in to the developers during BETA tests with creative feedback. I will look extra hard at little details, I will test different scenarios, try to trick the game, and just overall find and write down any errors or issues I come across. Some games take longer than others. With such a massive game world and so many different factors to go wrong, it took me just that long.

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PrimusTool

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@jayskoon93: Haha well that certainly helps make some sense out of things!

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Saladudo

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8/10 for kids under legal driving age, 4/10 for racing simulation enthusiasts.

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Warlord_Irochi

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@Saladudo: Maybe the problem is in the fact that this game is an arcade, not a simulator.

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skippert

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@Warlord_Irochi: thats not the problem at all, its an empty husk with lots of issues.

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str8killa007

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This game is not good by any means .. maybe the complete edition will have more content than this empty release world.

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Acillatem1993

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I played the beta, racing feels bad, better than first game, but still bad.

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warwickknight

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You've taken more points away for less.

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couly

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Looking forward to that blue 8 turn to red!

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GunnyNinja

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I have to say, there is NOTHING like trying to fly a plane with a steering wheel. Nothing....And there is a reason for that...

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Steamaddict

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The problem I have is in the layout and color of environment...Since there is no set way you have to go to get to a checkpoint...Walls or equipment or concrete barriers blend in with enviorment or ground...you hit one and your starting over..it sucks...also i cant find restart event button in the case of hitting one..other than that games a blast..

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Xiricon

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@steamaddict: press triangle or Y for restart

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csward

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Giant Bomb says this game is really bad. I'd be cautious about this "8" readers.

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Saladudo

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@csward: PC Gamer gave it a 55/100

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Mogan

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Mogan  Moderator  Online

@csward: The metacritic scores ranged from 90 down to 50 right now. I guess you just go with the one you trust, or you watch a bunch of quick looks (or just rent it) and form your own opinion.

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doorselfin

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doorselfin  Staff

@csward: Seems to be a pretty divisive game!

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Warlord_Irochi

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Loving it, and the PC version is very good optimized. Has everything that worked in the old NFS Underground and then some.

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Karmazyn

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Lets the grind commence !

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siarhei

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Edited By siarhei

How is the progression? Does it take long to unlock all different vehicle classes? Is it easy / hard getting enough game money to unlock/buy new vehicles? Do you have to rerun the same races over and over?

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doorselfin

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doorselfin  Staff

@siarhei: If you stick to one or two vehicles per discipline you should be okay going through for the first 10 hours or so, but a few disciplines, as I mentioned in the review, have a huge buy-in with vehicles that can drain your wallet.

Rerunning races becomes necessary much later on as well, when you need to get better parts to upgrade your existing vehicles so they can stay competitive in harder races.

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JesterOfBass

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Edited By JesterOfBass  Online

@nibbin1191: Clearly. This is Ubisoft we're talking about here. lol

The Forza games may be a little egregious as far as locking cars behind paywalls, but in-game credits were never an issue for me. I'm sure Ubi will put the same "pay to fast-track progression" (no pun intended) that they have in most of their games.

Then again, I tended to stick to the same couple vehicles in Forza anyway, so it may not be much of an issue ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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siarhei

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@doorselfin: Thank you! I'm really eager to get my hands on unique vehicles like the hovercraft and the helicopter, but they seem to be locked away by progression in each class section. It sounds like sticking with 1-2 vehicles per class is the way to go.

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The Crew 2

First Released Jun 29, 2018
released
  • PC
  • PlayStation 4
  • Stadia
  • Xbox One

With a wide variety of exotic cars, bikes, boats, and planes to choose from, experience the unbridled thrill and adrenaline-pumping excitement of competing across the entire USA

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6.2

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Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
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