A little over a week ago, The Crew 2 was released all over the world. The good people at Ubisoft sent us a copy to try out for ourselves and we’ve been playing it non stop since. We can testify that it is fun, but is it good?
What’s new in The Crew 2?
The big draw of the first The Crew was it’s vast map. The entire US of A shrunk down to fit within 100 miles across. Giving you the means for the ultimate road trip across America in a little under 1 hour. The Crew 2 adds planes and boats to the mix to give your journey even more options and action. You even get the ability to change mid drive/sail/flight. You can drive off the Hoover Dam and you’ll be a boat before you hit the water below to continue your journey into the Grand Canyon.
While the signature map has been altered to accommodate the new vehicle classes, (it’s possible to go from east to west coast entirely by boat) not a lot else has changed. The size and cities featured are all the same and while the graphics in nature are awesome, the detail and quality in the towns is lacking. This was possibly a choice to save space for the huge map but it was overdone with the game install only being around 20MB. It’s a shame as it’s been four years since the original and not a lot seems to have changed, despite the fans calling out for and even suggesting new locales on forums and social media.
As an open world racer, The Crew 2 is excellent. Initially throwing you into fast travelling between the first few races, once you get yourself out of the habit, you’ll be happy when you hit the road. Miles of sprawling asphalt, dirt, water, and skies to conquer in a host of your favourite cars from all around the world. From here you can hop from race to race as you wish, unlocking more locations as you gain more “followers”; XP in the world of social media millennials.
You’ll pick up these followers as you make out to be the next internet famous energy drink sponsored motor nut. Done away is the odd crime story of The Crew giving you a new story just about racing. “Be the best” is essentially all there is to it but this purity in goal doesn’t draw away from the point of an open world driving game. That being the driving. Drive lots. We marked up 300 miles in our first play an barely even hit the racing scene.
Game or Simulator?
Despite the real-world environments, The Crew 2 is definitely a racing game and not a racing sim. No matter how many customisable car traits they try and crowbar in, it just doesn’t make the cut. Definitely a Need For Speed rather than a Forza. The cars have imperfect controls and pretty much all handle exactly the same. When choosing which car to buy, you’ll mainly be choosing on style and price.
This system works however as the cars are upgradable with RPG style add-ons. It’s a straightforward system giving each class of vehicle interchangeable parts. This means our 2017 Mustang, our 1950s Cadillac, and our 80s Kawasaki Ninja all take the same parts. These parts can even be found in randomly spawning loot boxes for anyone that needs their fix.
Although this feel like a bad system it adds to the arcady fun when you’ve got a 70s muscle car racing against a modern superbike and it’s still fair. It also means our pink caddy we bought solely for cruising the Las Vegas strip can now go 200mph with surplus parts we just had lying around.
For all its flaws, we really love The Crew 2. It’s both an adrenaline pumping foot to the floor racer and a relaxing cruise through the countryside. With some insane car classes including drag, drift, and monster trucks it’s out of this world escapism at 300mph but still familiar enough with licensed car manufacturers and real-world locations. We’d say it’s what Burnout Paradise should have been. Enough rules and story to make it a coherent gaming experience but enough open world and unrealistic speed to make it your own.