This title is exclusive to Nintendo Switch and was reviewed as such.
While I was growing up I felt like everybody played different racing games to me. Everybody was obsessed with the fun loving party racing games such as Mario Kart or Crash Tag Team Racing. I’d be invited over and always looked like a fool when I played these games. That’s because while they raced cartoon racers I was always focused on the realistic racing games like Forza. I loved the variety of cars that appealed to the young car obsessed me. I loved the graphics as you churned up tarmac or dirt depending on the race. But now I’m an adult with a Switch I found myself in a bit of a dilemma, I wanted my racing fix but wasn’t really interested in a cartoon racer. The Switch just didn’t seem to have the racing game for me, until I played Gear.Club Unlimited 2. Now theres an answer for the realistic racer fans with a Switch out there.
Not playing the first Gear.Club Unlimited, this was my first time entering the series. I knew that this was Eden Game Studios attempt at transitioning their Gear.Club game from a mobile platform to a console. Judging just based off how well the game looks and plays as a game that has its roots as a mobile game, Gear.Club Unlimited 2 is impressive but now that it’s on the console market we need to judge it by how well it stacks up against other console games.
Gear.Club Unlimited 2 steers you along miles and miles of race track, whether they be in desert landscapes, forests, mountains, or even snow covered hills. These beautiful tracks have you bouncing along the countryside competing in different events trying to build a reputation for yourself as an up and coming racer. These races are varied and give you a lot of nice scenery making the world of Gear.Club 2 seem alive with with different environments. The scenery of arcade racing games was always one of my favourite parts, as the genre evolved they got more and more realistic with backgrounds that almost distracted you from the game. In comparison, Gear.Club Unlimited 2 has underwhelming scenery. Its pretty but not quite as realistic as other racing games out on the market right now.
Speaking of realism, Gear.Club Unlimited 2 seems to be missing many key features that add to a realistic racing game which I miss. Features like the ability to damage your car during a race or for the environment to effect how you drive. This subtle reduction in gameplay just show the gaps in Eden Game Studios‘ attempt at a fully fledged console game. They may pass on the mobile market but in the big leagues of console games it really shows just how shallow it is. There are even other more obvious flaws in the game like when working on your car some of the animation is horrid as cranes lift your engine straight through the bonnet as if they didn’t think it really mattered. If you’re going to show animation for working on your car, I would prefer none at all as opposed to what we got.
Gear.Club Unlimited 2 isn’t all bad though, the bare minimum it needs to succeed at, to be counted as a racing game it manages to do rather well. The racing is nice and tight with little lag even when playing the majority of the title in handheld mode. Some of the turning can be difficult at times but if you build your car correctly and drive the correct lines you will be payed off by climbing up the positions. I don’t think Gear.Club Unlimited 2 is the most competitive racer I’ve seen but it doesn’t just hand out wins to you. Its especially more challenging when you turn off the assistance it gives.
The sad thing is, as someone who played mainly solo, this game lacked the natural competitions that come from AI races. What I mean by this is that each series included a few races with the same people and though your position in the race could change due to your performance the person who came first or second depending on how well you did was always the same. As soon as I realised this it made this game a lot less enjoyable as I was no longer racing for the highest score in the series to come first but just the highest score I could get for more points, as if I didn’t come 1st every race I knew exactly who was getting first with no chance of luck helping me.
Racing for points did have its pros though. These pros come in the form of the expansive list of 50+ real cars to choose from and race. They all drive differently and take time to adjust to and you can really feel the effect of saving up the cash for a premium car and just leaving the competition in the dust. Alongside this, there’s the chance to customize these cars: I’m not just talking about editing their stats slightly, you can fine tune these cars however you like. It even has a rather intricate paint-shop that lets you fully graffiti your car. The only hindrance to this impressive workshop is the way you have to move cars from station to station for each different job in the most sluggish manner. Other than this it has a solid variety of cars with impressive design.
In conlusion Gear.Club Unlimited 2 is a slightly upgraded mobile game that looks good because it was ported to the Switch which has no competition for it. When you add up all the flaws and the loading screens you have to endure you realize that this game isn’t worth the money or the title of being the best realistic racing game on the Switch (by default). If you are absolutely desperate for a racing game than maybe I could see why you would purchase this game but I’d still recommend waiting for something else. Its just an average racing simulator that only just scrapes average.