Since it’s released I have seen many different opinions regarding The Crew 2. I’ve gone deep into the game to see what developer Ivory Tower wants me to see. What I came out of the other side with is a racer that is fun, but not without its faults.
The Crew 2 is not here to compete with the likes of Forza or Gran Turismo. The best way to approach this game is to throw out any expectations you may have. From the opening cinematic the tone is set. You are in a world where “badassdom” is a term thats thrown around. That alone right there should tell you what to expect. The story that you will follow is as cookie cutter as it comes.
The Crew 2 starts off strong. Your first moments have you in the middle of a race. It throws you right into the thick of things. As the race goes on you transition into your next mode of transportation, a boat. But it doesn’t just fade into the next race. The game has this inception like transition where the world starts to morph. It’s one of the coolest moments. However this leads you to believe that many races would play out this way. Unfortunately that isn’t the case. This type of race where you have all 3 vehicles in one race inception style only happens a handful of times.
The progression system differs from what you may be used to in other racing games. New races are unlocked as you build up your followers. The Crew 2 uses its own unbranded social network to track your fans. Everything you do in the game will net you new followers. When it comes to upgrading your car,instead of using cash t you unlock new parts (loot as the game calls it) after races. You open up your upgrade screen and each new part is marked with a number value. You will most of the time click the highest valued part, unless the perk that comes with it is something you prefer to have. The system reminds me of Destiny 2 where new items will make your power level higher. Each new installed part will raise the “power level” of your car. This approach is very welcoming for the casual racer. It helped me worry less about the parts specifically and focus more on the racing.
The Crew 2 has a massive open world that spans the entire USA. Well not completely, it is not an accurate depiction of it and some cities are missing. Boston, for example is no where to be found. I drove through San Francisco looking for specific areas but the whole city was extremely condensed. Just the sheer fact that Ubisoft’s Ivory Tower tried to attempt this is very ambitious. Unfortunately the world can feel very empty most of the time, as if you are driving through skins of a map rather than the actual city.
At any time you are able to travel between cities. There isnt much to see but there are objectives along the way such as photo opportunities, speed traps or escaping the deadly red circle, which is basically you outrunning a red area that eventually catches up to you. An odd objective but effective none the less. The drives are very time consuming however. Driving from San Francisco to New York is roughly 40 minutes. Thankfully The Crew 2 understands not everyone wants to go on the long drives so you can pick your next races at anytime through the start menu. You can play through the whole game without ever having to drive to your next race.
The driving mechanics themselves is where I believe the audience gets split on this. The Crew 2 is an arcade racer. There is nothing realistic about it. The handling is a bit tight and the physics are from space. Jumping off a ramp will have your car not budge in any direction. Regardless, the races are fast paced and fun. The handling is consistent across boats & planes so when you are switching between vehicles it feels smooth. Racing the AI however suffers from extreme rubberbanding. I didnt know what this term meant until I played The Crew 2. You can be so far in the lead but hit a wall. Within seconds the AI will be right on your tail passing you within seconds. Many times I just had to restart the race because it was impossible to catch up. If you have enough time you will eventually catch up as the game pushes you to catch up, but another slip up and you might as well shut off the game and go to bed.
In terms of visuals, The Crew 2 has many moments of beauty. All the cars look polished, and whenever you’re out on the open road the view its gorgeous. Ivory Tower really tried to make the the large vistas really stand out.
The Crew 2 isnt without its problems. The mechanics need to be refined & the online modes need to come into fruition soon. However that doesn’t change the fact that the game is a fun ride through and through. My only hope is that Ubisoft has the same magic with The Crew 2 as it did with other games that started off rough (Rainbow Six Siege & The Division). If the concept of land, sea & air interest you then you should give The Crew 2 a shot. However if you are sceptical, hold back and see what Ubisoft can do to improve this arcade racer.