Gear.Club Unlimited 2 – Review
Follow Genre: Racing, Arcade, Sim
Developer: Eden Games
Publisher: Microïds
Platform: Switch
Tested on: Switch

Gear.Club Unlimited 2 – Review

Site Score
6.5
Good: Clean map, Structured, Garage system
Bad: Graphics, A lot of improvements still to go, Feels like an updated version of the first game with an expensive price tag
User Score
6.3
(3 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 6.3/10 (3 votes cast)

When we look back at the games that have already come out on the Switch, we are quite surprised with the quantity of titles available, as well as the quality of many. At the beginning of this year we encountered what might have been the first proper attempt of bringing a more realistic racer to Nintendo’s platform, since the last attempts were made way back when the Wii was still a thing. This brought us to Gear.Club Unlimited, which was a nice game, with a few flaws, but also with a few fun sim elements that are not found in other games. Now, we already have the chance to try out Gear.Club Unlimited 2, which presents us with pretty much the same content, be it a bit cleaner in terms of user interface and content. Sadly, these same items also held us back, thinking this should not have been a sequel, and we’ll explain why below.

Story

This iteration of the Gear.Club series does have a bit of a storyline, which wasn’t necessarily needed, but it does make the game a bit more personal. You’ll be playing as the test driver for a racing team, but when the time arrives for your pilot to enter the car and start his career, he is nowhere to be seen, forcing you in the driver’s seat for the events to come. You’ll have to prove yourself and of course make it to the top of the ranking. The plot is thin, but it’s there nonetheless.

Graphics

Just like the first game, this second installment does okay-ish in the graphical department, meaning the cars look quite spiffy, the many added customization options are a delight and the garage and workshops do look very appealing. Sadly, the mechanics running around in the garage feel like they ran away from their respective PlayStation 2 game and accidently ended up in your garage. The levels are fairly decently done, but the backgrounds lack details, there are invisible walls, and even worse, there are tracks that are being reused in this second version, meaning there was hardly any work done when it comes to the level design. Even the backdrops in the garage, the different background themes and the workshops are identical to the first game.

The map screen looks less cluttered and the menus are better designed, but there are still some frame drops left in the game, as well as some occurrences of popping textures. The levels with a snowy underground look a bit cheaply done, and more than often it will seem as if your car is floating above the ground in those levels. Tracks are hardly left in the soil, there are no real weather effects, there is no visible (cosmetic) damage on cars and there is still no cockpit view, which makes it feel like hardly anything happened on the graphical side of this second game.

Sound

Gear.Club Unlimited 2 does have the barebones when it comes to the audio of the game. Each car has its distinct sound, but it does not alter when you insert a new engine in your car, which would normally be the cause of some change. The cars do sound nice however, which is great, as you’ll have to make do with the sounds of your engine, the screeching of your tires and some crashing noises during the races, as these are completely void of any music whatsoever. The latter feels like a missed opportunity, as this sequel is once again more an arcade racer than it is a simulation title. Nonetheless, there are a few (repetitive) tunes to be heard when in the garage, or at the beginning/end of a race. A small note goes to the fact that the sound of crashing into a wall, be it a visible or invisible, always sounds exactly the same.

Gameplay

Gear.Club Unlimited 2 is an arcade racing game, with a couple of simulation elements. We have the feeling that the developers were aiming for a proper simulation title, but the handling of the cars, and a lot of other aspects of the game do scream ‘arcade’ from start to finish. While online and local play are options, we feel you’ll be spending the most time in the career mode, which lets you gradually go through all the different classes and sub-tiers, before finishing the game with a few powerhouses in your garage.

The feeling we had with the first game, that it was developed for smartphones or tablets has dissipated, mainly because of the new map layout. This time it’s not about stars, or going from one track to another, which increasingly cluttered the map as you made progress in the game, now it’s all about finishing different cups in the category you’re playing. These cups will disappear from the map when cleared, but you can still replay them by looking them up in the career menu. This alone makes the game feel a lot more professionally designed and it’s pretty much a delight to work with a clean map, rather than the mess we saw in the first title.

This time you’ll also finish your categories in order, before progressing to the next, even its subdivisions are done in order, making it easier for you to progress and know when to spend your money. In the first game, you could participate in a lot of different categories, making it hard to know when to upgrade your car, or which race to enter. This time you’ll simply tick all the boxes of your current category before heading to the next, with a freshly bought car for said category. Of course, if you do make some mistakes on the way, or start collecting cars too soon, you can replay races in order to earn a bit of extra cash. You do get less for clearing already completed races however. If you just stick with one car per category and subdivision, you can easily outmatch the competition by spending a lot of money on upgrades for said car, allowing you to progress nicely, and then you can start collecting some sweet rides for your garage later on. In your garage you can now store twelve cars, instead of four, which allows you to store one car per category and subdivision. If you own more, they are moved to your warehouse. We still don’t get why this is limited, but it’s progress nonetheless.

The races in this game are presented in a simple format, for both the normal and rally races there are no visible laps, you’ll simply have to complete a set percentage per level. In reality this of course means that for some tracks you’re actually doing laps, but it’s simply represented with a percentage. The elimination rounds are simply like in many other games, where the driver in last place will get booted from the race every twenty seconds. The controls are decent, the rewind function will certainly be your friend, and the assists can be useful at the beginning, but after a while you’ll notice they’ll start to hinder you, as they will slow you down too much etc. While the races are significantly longer than many in the first game, Gear.Club Unlimited gets slowed down by its ridiculously long loading times.

Conclusion

Gear.Club Unlimited 2 is, just like its predecessor, a decent racing game on the Switch. On any other platform it would fall short, but on Nintendo’s hybrid console it performs reasonably well. While the game certainly has a lot of potential and has received a few very pleasant updates compared to the original, it all feels like it’s one small update for the first game, as it simply makes the map nicer to work with, it reduces some frame drops, it adds a bit more in terms of spicing up your cars with decals and that’s about it. The story mode is a bit redundant, but it’s a nice addition, but not one worth buying the second game for if you’re enjoying yourself with the first one. If you want more of the same, or you haven’t tried a game in the series yet, then it’s certainly worth picking up this title, but even then it’s not really justified that this game comes with a full priced launch.

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Rating: 6.3/10 (3 votes cast)
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Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Gear.Club Unlimited 2 – Review, 6.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Ibuki
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

1 Comment

  1. […] At the end of 2018, we were able to take a look at Gear.Club Unlimited 2, which was released quite quickly after the first game. We concluded that the second iteration was pretty much a copy-paste of the original and should have either served as a proper DLC package or could have used some extra polishing. Now, yet another year later, Eden Games has added a lot of extra content for the game and they have released the Porsche Edition. This new edition includes a special Porsche championship and all the previous DLC bundles, unlocking a hefty amount of new cars and stickers. We will not be revisiting the entire base game, as this edition can also be bought separately as a DLC package for the standard edition. Those wanting to learn more about the base game can find our review here. […]

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