I know a few folks that got into the first Crew game when it came out back in 2014. It offered a lot of co-op possibilities and some sweet pursuits. But there was something that felt a little repetitive about the game to me, despite the level of chaos it had introduced.
Well, apparently the developers at Ivory Tower were taking notes from the fans, because it’s improved on the formula with The Crew 2 in a number of ways. Gone is the gritty storyline about catching intimidating criminals. In its place is simply the pursuit to be the best racer out there...and not just on the road.
For the first time in the series, there are a number of vehicles out there for you to play around with. This includes not only street cars, but also rally racing mobiles, monster trucks, motorcycles, racing planes and even speedboats. How you approach is entirely up to you, though you’ll eventually need to tackle all four tiers that the vehicles are split across in order to boost your popularity ranking and really open up the map.
Go Where You Want As You Want
Ah, yes, the map. Once again you’re pretty much racing across America in a number of preset activities. One minute you’re tearing the road in the desert; the next, you’re cruising through New York waters, mastering ramp jumping while making your way through every objective.
The more you progress in the game, the more your popularity flourishes and the more parts you can collect to boost the performance of your vehicles. You’ll also earn more currency that you can turn around into purchases as well, giving you a lot of cool stuff to unlock. Secondary objectives can also unlock bits and pieces of goods and keep you coming back for more.
What’s great is how with some of the game, you can transform into a different vehicle. No, it’s not Transformers style. You basically just see the new vehicle and immediately take on what it can do. This poses an interesting challenge if you’re flying mid-air and bring in a motorbike, but that’s kind of the idea behind The Crew 2’s looniness.prevnext
Small Setbacks Don't Ruin the Ride
And it’s that spirit that makes the game work so much better than the first. Not that The Crew was a bad time, but opening up the game to give you more freedom and the ability to progress however you please is a huge plus. What’s more, you can try out your favorite activities and discover new ones, with the map opening up new events and other challenges on a progressive scale.
As for the racing itself, it’s not too shabby. There are times that the AI can be annoying since it has rubber band-style behavior, coming back to try and steal your first place victory even after you think you’ve conquered them. But otherwise, the controls are quite satisfactory, no matter which vehicle you use.
Probably the boat is the vehicle you’ll struggle the most with, as you actually have to hold down on the analog stick to get the fastest speed out of it at times. But it still handles well, especially coming off jumps. (Though some may question the gravity of some vehicles when they go airborne tho -- are they made out of helium?)prevnext
A Good Looking Road Trip
As for the planes and cars, they’ve got great handling, and if any mistakes do surface, you’ll pretty much be to blame. I found the game fairly easy to get into and a lot of fun to play. Plus, some of the more stunt-filled tracks are unbeatable.
What’s more, you can bring in friends to race alongside you in co-op. While I prefer OnRush’s level of competition, The Crew 2 still has a lot of fun packed into it, especially when you and your buddies are cruising through the city in planes, trying to see who can get to an objective first. What a blast.
Ivory Tower pulled off a nice trick with the game’s development. It takes a while to load at first, but when you hop into races, they’re just a few seconds apart, zooming in on the map to your location of choice and then putting you right behind the wheel. I like that approach, so you can get into events faster.
The Crew 2 also has noticeably better graphics than the original. The draw distance is greatly improved, and there are a number of new locations that make the original Crew pale in comparison. The frame rate is pretty steady and the vehicle models look slick, though the lack of a damage model may annoy certain players. I mean, if a boat hits a wall, it should have dings, right?prevnext
It's a Sweet Ride, So Take It!
As for the soundtrack, it’s good. It’s mostly just a collection of rock tunes put together for a usual extreme sports jaunt, so it doesn’t have as much personality as in previous games. It fits the bill regardless, and should keep fans happy as they cruise across the country at their given tempo.
One last thing -- the video creation tool is excellent. Not only can you take pictures of some of your in-game actions, but you can also set up videos with camera positioning, effects, soundtracks and more. This is a great social feature where people can create their own highlight reels, similar to what Steep offered when it first came out. Not everyone will get into this feature, but if you’re a creative type -- or you’re just trying to allure new team members to join The Crew 2 -- this is a must.
While there are some minor squabbles with the game’s AI behavior and models, this is still a sequel that surpasses the original game in almost every way. The Crew 2 really opens up what you can do here, with a variety of vehicles, earnable upgrades and events that will keep you busy for hours. Plus the loaded video editor, co-op multiplayer support and wild presentation make each race feel even more worthwhile.
Kudos to Ivory Tower for bouncing back in style with The Crew 2. Now the only question is what they could add to open up a third chapter in the series. Helicopter racing? Extreme drone buzzing? BMX? The road is certainly their oyster.0comments
WWG’s Score: 4 out of 5.
Disclaimer: A review code was provided by the publisher.prev