Crew gets lost on way to start line

Irish Independent - Weekend Review - - BOOKS -

The Crew 2 (PS4/XO/PC) ★★★ Age: 12+

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 open­world 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 post­launch, 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.

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