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GEAR. CLUB UN­LIM­ITED 2

Motor Sport News - - Headline News - Tom Er­ring­ton

The ar­rival of the Nin­tendo Switch in 2017 was a gamechanger, bring­ing por­ta­ble gam­ing back but at a much more pow­er­ful level than seen be­fore. Up­take from de­vel­op­ers out­side of Nin­tendo’s own fran­chises has been a slow­burner, which meant there was a wide-open goal for a rac­ing game to steal an early march.

Un­for­tu­nately, Mi­croids’ Gear. Club Un­lim­ited 2 hit the post twice be­fore blast­ing the shot over the cross­bar af­ter its first at­tempt with Switch. The big­gest crit­i­cism is that the game plays like a low-bud­get mo­bile ti­tle, to the point that an of­fer­ing such as EA’S Real Rac­ing is vastly su­pe­rior to the Switch game, de­spite be­ing played on a touch­screen smart­phone.

The fact Gear.club has no­tice­able per­for­mance strug­gles in hand­held mode, and lags to your con­trol in­put, makes it un­playable on the go. In short, it feels like a poor mo­bile game on a high-end con­sole.

The chief gripe with the game is a poor han­dling sys­tem, although it could be ar­gued that the Switch’s dual-sticks lack the pre­ci­sion of an Xbox One or a Playsta­tion 4. But re­gard­less, races were spent de­cid­ing where was best to side-swipe a wall and lose min­i­mal time, hav­ing given up all ex­pec­ta­tion of brak­ing prop­erly. Even the art of tap­ping the brakes and preload­ing the car be­fore ap­ply­ing the full stop­ping power into a corner was a wasted ef­fort.

It’s clearly a prob­lem be­cause even the pre-set driv­ing aids are flum­moxed. It’s even tried to ap­ply brak­ing in wheel-to-wheel com­bat, but it ends up be­ing the big­gest hin­drance to over­tak­ing by con­tin­u­ally slam­ming the brakes on when draft­ing. You have to turn all aids off if you want to com­pete in this game.

A rac­ing game lives and dies by its feel, whether it’s ar­cade or a sim­u­la­tion style racer, and Gear.club falls short to the point it de­tracts heav­ily from the pos­i­tives.

The most im­pres­sive el­e­ment of the game is the de­sign, with races through Euro­pean­flavoured towns, moun­tain ranges and deserts man­ag­ing to clev­erly look as though they are liv­ing and breath­ing de­spite the Switch’s graph­i­cal lim­i­ta­tions.

The enjoyment in this game will come through range, with a claimed 1800 miles of track and 250 com­pet­i­tive events, given va­ri­ety by mix­ing the for­mat be­tween races, sprints and time tri­als.

It’s so good it de­serves a fully open world, which the game teases with its maps but never lets you ex­pe­ri­ence.

There’s a lot to be said for a rac­ing game at­tempt­ing to in­cor­po­rate a story of sorts, some­thing Motorsport News ar­gues should be con­sid­ered more by de­vel­op­ers.

But this one hits ev­ery cliche pos­si­ble: earn­ing a shock chance in a rac­ing team, im­press­ing a doubt­ful boss and com­pet­ing in a se­ries of races in a lin­ear, dot-to-dot style pro­gres­sion.

The fact the story is told through comic-book style im­ages and speech bub­bles makes the story of lit­tle in­ter­est. Fans of TOCA 2’ s drama, turn away now. Slow load­ing times make you all the less likely to per­se­vere as well.

Car se­lec­tion is size­able, although the motorsport of­fer­ing is small – a sur­prise, con­sid­er­ing the story is cen­tred around a rac­ing team.

Cus­tomi­sa­tion is de­cent, with a range of per­for­mance-based up­dates and vinyl wraps to make your mo­tor stand out from the crowd – not that there’s any mul­ti­player op­tion for oth­ers to see your work.

If you’re one of the adopters of the Switch and need your rac­ing fix, it would ap­pear 2019’s re-re­lease of Grid is the next chance for a rac­ing game to make it big on Nin­tendo’s con­sole.

Con­sid­er­ing Gear.club’s mo­bile roots have barely been dis­guised, ask­ing over 50 quid for the game is daft con­sid­er­ing more mo­bile-es­que of­fer­ings on the Nin­tendo es­hop are less than half the price of that.

Most im­pres­sive el­e­ment of Gear.club Un­lim­ited 2 is the de­sign

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