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The Crew 2

Posted by GG Goblin On July - 9 - 2018

Jack of all trades.

Once again, race fans are invited to turn the entire United States into their very own driving playground, albeit on a much smaller scale, as Ubisoft’s open-world arcade racer gets a sequel in The Crew 2. With a huge map to explore, players are also greeted by a huge variety in what and how they race. But does more variety mean less quality?

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Does anyone remember the story from the original The Crew game? While I have to admire any developer that tries to build a story into a racing game, the tale of crime and revenge really was a bit comical. The Crew had plenty of other problems, but I think that the story was maybe a step too far for most race fans. However, with that being said, at least the wonky story gave the game an identity, which is something that seems lacking in this sequel.

Gone are the criminal organisations and any form of vengeance, replaced by an unnamed racer who just wants to be popular. This is a modern phenomena that The Crew 2 has embraced wholeheartedly. Players take control of a racing wannabe who will gain followers through driving entertainingly, and the more followers that they gain will lead to further events and thus more followers. And so it goes on. This is a story in the weakest terms, and one that we have seen in other racing games. But still, at least it is a step away from Fast and Furious. And besides, many players will be quite happy with not having any kind of story in their racing games.

But what many players expect now in a racing game, is an open world. Track racers have their place amongst the more serious, simulation drivers. But for the arcade racer, it is all about the life on the open road, and The crew 2 has it in spades. Seriously, this is the whole of the US recreated, and shrunk down a touch, for players to drive through and explore. Head out of one of the cities and things can get a little sparse, but there is something so relaxing about just driving, and there may be something interesting to look at around that next corner. Admittedly, it is not the most feature packed map, but as players are rewarded for doing almost anything in the game, there is plenty of joy to be had in just driving.

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Just driving along the US roads is not all that will be available to the player. In another upgrade from the previous game, and adding yet more variety, players will now also be able to travel on water and in the air. The good news is that the handling of the various cars has been improved over the previous title, with players feeling much more in control now whether they be in a street racer, a hyper car or some kind of off-road beast. The motorbikes are great fun too, obviously proving limited over the cars, but still a lot of fun to race on.

Taking to the water, the boats are fairly easy to control, suffering from floaty turning as would be expected, and somewhat less expected difficult wave negotiation. But yeah, it doesn’t take too long to become an expert in a boat, just don’t expect that sense of speed. The same could be said of flying planes. Again, it takes a little getting used to and the sense of speed just isn’t there, but the handling and controlling is simpler than some arcade flying games, and thus the barrier to entry is much less. I came into the game expecting to hate the flying, but it is actually quite good fun, and using a plane outside of events is a great way to see America.

When it comes to the events in The Crew 2, there are a variety of different disciplines that the player will have to master if they want to get the big following. These disciplines, which include the likes of street racing and off-road, are then further broken down into sub categories, such as drift or motocross, giving the player plenty to get their teeth into. New disciplines are unlocked as the player levels up through gaining more followers, meaning that there will be a certain amount of grinding and repeating events in order to get that following up.

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In the actual racing, there are a few problems that will hopefully be addressed in time. Due to the way the UI is set out, it can be quite tricky to work out where to go. The minimap is too small, as are the on screen directions. Then there is the horrible rubber-banding which makes almost every race tense right to the end as the miraculously skilled AI is constantly there, no matter how good the player is. It can be quite frustrating to lose a race right at the last minute to an AI that was left in the dust miles back.

The Crew 2 is a lovely looking game, much improved over the original. While it may not have the polish of a certain other open-world racer, the vehicles all look and sound great, and the environment is epic enough to entertain even when the selection of side activities are at a minimum. It is easy to spend time cruising in The Crew 2, especially when the player can be rewarded for taking photos of certain things as they explore.

The Crew 2 has some things to fix, which I wouldn’t be surprised to see fixed before too long. Things like the rubber-banding, and maybe some more things to do while out on the road. There is co-op multiplayer available in the game, but the developers have already announced that PvP is on the way, along with hovercrafts of all things, so confidence is high that the previously mentioned minor problems will get sorted out. The Crew 2 looks set to keep growing and improving over time, which is always a good thing.

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As it stands right now though, The Crew 2 is not a perfect game. With the massive open-world and a variety of different events and vehicles, there is so much potential. Fix the minor problems and fill the world with more things to see and do, and The Crew 2 could compete with the best arcade racing games out there.




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