A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Crew 2 is an open-world arcade-style racing game available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows PC that's the latest installment in the racing franchise. Players compete in a variety of motorsports events behind the wheel of many ground, air, and water-based vehicles. There's a learning curve when it comes to getting the hang of how each type of vehicle handles. Parents should be aware that there's some profanity, drug references, and suggestive lyrics in the game's soundtrack, though music can be turned off from the in-game radio. Also, due to the online nature of the game, players could be exposed to offensive language and behavior from other racers. Finally, while players can purchase vehicles using currency earned through gameplay, players can also use real-world money to buy a separate form of in-game currency to use as well.
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What's it about?
In THE CREW 2, players hit the land, the sea, and the air in a cross-country quest to be crowned the king of all motorsports. Whether you're racing through the streets in downtown L.A., going off-road in the Arizona desert, speeding through the waters of Miami, or doing barrel rolls in the skies above Chicago, being a part of this crew means taking the phrase "road trip" to an extreme new level. But when you're playing for fame, "extreme" is the norm. Pulling off fantastic stunts and cruising up the racing leaderboards earns followers and cements your status as the next big thing. With fans on your side, sponsors signing your checks, and a garage full of the fastest ways to travel, it's only a matter of time before the crown is yours.
Is it any good?
Let's get one thing out of the way right from the starting line: What you get out of your time with this racer is absolutely dependent on how you choose to play it. For starters, The Crew 2 is big. In fact, it's almost too big, at least geographically speaking. Even using a compacted version of the United States, it still can feel like it takes forever to get from Point A to Point B. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, though. It can actually be quite relaxing to enjoy the view and take in the sights as you fly, drive, or boat your way across the country, stopping occasionally to take advantage of virtual photo ops along the way. Occasionally, you'll see a few other gamers traversing the countryside, but unless you're riding with friends as part of a party, it can be a lonely trip. Of course, if you want to just jump into the action, The Crew 2 allows fast travel to most events scattered around the map, too.
With so many different types of vehicles in one place, it's no surprise that the controls take some getting used to. Flight controls feel completely different than the cars, and the boats have their own little tricks and nuances to get use to as well. In fact, the actual street racing component is probably the weakest of The Crew 2's offerings. Oddly enough, though, the individual vehicles don't feel dramatically different from each other. Instead, any major performance differences come from equipping parts, which can be earned or found throughout the game and come in color-coded rarities. In some ways, this adds a certain level of loot grinding to the racer, forcing you to keep racing to get better parts for your machines. This might seem out of place in most racing games, but in The Crew 2, a game where you can instantly swap vehicle types on the fly and the United States map looks like a post-baked Shrinky Dink, "out of place" feels right at home.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about character strengths like competition and good sportsmanship. What are some positive ways to compete with others in games like The Crew 2? What are some of the behaviors to avoid when participating in a competition?
How does operating a vehicle in the real world differ from driving in a virtual environment? What are some ways that virtual simulations can help in the real world?
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