The Crew 2 is an open-world racing video game, published by Ubisoft, all set to launch on June 29th, 2018. It is preceded by The Crew, which was launched back in 2014. If you haven’t played The Crew, there is nothing to worry about because The Crew 2 does not build upon that story line. In fact, it is disappointing to see that The Crew 2 does not have much of a story line at all.
You start off the game with a LIVE Xtrem event, in which you control three different types of vehicles: a car, a boat and an airplane. Once the event ends, you get to see an intro video after which you have to decide how-to start your racing career. The Crew 2 has four major styles of racing: street, off-road, freestyle and pro. Each racing style unlocks with a trial event of its own. Then, every style has further multiple disciplines that unlock as you progress and make your way through the game. Other than the main racing events, you also have small side objectives like Photo Op, Slalom, Escape, Speed Traps and etc.
There are four HQs (one for each racing style) placed across the map. These HQs are from where you can buy new vehicles for the respective racing styles. You also have a warehouse where you can keep and customize your vehicles. I found The Crew 2’s vehicle customization options to be quite decent. Albeit, they still aren’t comparable to Need For Speed (2015) or Forza Horizon 3.
If you’ve played The Crew, you’d know that performance parts cannot be bought, so you largely rely on getting them as race rewards. You can also use your car’s radar to find hidden loot (performance upgrades) throughout the open-world. As for the visual upgrades, they are plenty and are available for purchase at your warehouse. You can pretty much upgrade anything from bumpers to the interior of your car.
I’d say the overall gameplay of The Crew 2 has been reasonably improved. For starters, driving vehicles has got a little more challenging but it is equally fun as well. Not to forget, cars of every racing discipline have different driving experiences as well. Also, it is significantly different how the camera pans around different cars. For example, drifting in a street racing car and a drift car is quite different because of how the cars control and how the camera moves around them.
The Crew had a nice interactive 3D map and it just gets better with The Crew 2. Though quite similar, but now things like traveling to races/HQs most of the time require no loading at all. Oh! And did I mention that you can switch between vehicles? Yes! You can seamlessly switch between an airplane, a car and a boat and — TBH, I never thought I’d say this but — the experience is sheer joy.
I think audio plays a very important role in racing games but unluckily, this is an area where The Crew 2 desperately needs improvement. I’m not talking about the game music here, that is fine. In fact, I absolutely love The Crew 2’s theme music and the in-game radio is alright as well. Instead, what I’m referring to is how the vehicles sound and well, they sound pretty static. From 0 to 100, the engine’s sound is almost identical except for a few times and that is when the vehicle changes gears. No surprise that they just don’t sound as good as Need for Speed Payback or Forza Horizon 3.
The Crew 2 Review Verdict
The Crew 2 is a decent upgrade to the original video game. As it excels in a few places: beautiful graphics, amazing 3D map and decent vehicle customization, it also falls short in others: awful vehicle sound, sub-par driving experience and a dull storyline. Personally, I’ve never liked the driving experience of The Crew and I still don’t like it in The Crew 2. It feels like just an improved version of, perhaps, The Watch Dogs driving experience. I don’t think it is as fun as Need For Speed Payback or as realistic as Forza Horizon 3. It is somewhere in between, which I think I’ll never get accustomed to. This, and the fact that vehicles just don’t sound good enough is a deal breaker for me. I certainly won’t recommend this game to anyone.
Disclaimer: This review is based on The Crew 2 Open Beta. Although, I don’t think there will be any significant changes in the final version but it was only fair that you knew.