It is safe to say that Ubisoft and Ivory Tower’s The Crew 2 is very high on my anticipated titles of the year. I’ve been waiting patiently for the beta to finally come out and Night Owl and I have finally had a chance to get a taste of what’s to come in the full game.
I can easily say that this game successfully builds and greatly improves what they started with the The Crew.
Firstly, let’s mention the graphics. One of the criticisms of the original game was that it didn’t look on par with some of the other racing titles out there. I can safely say this issue has well and truly been fixed. Even in the work in progress version of the game the graphics look stunning in 4K on the Xbox One X. Yes, there is a bit of object pop in, particularly with regards to the shadows, but considering you are flying along at 300 km/h, the game looks a joy overall. Also taking in the fact the game still has the same land mass (a scaled down USA), it has also been completely enhanced and re-tooled. This means it is no small feat to have the graphics greatly improved.
Another big plus is the undercover cop story has gone. Now we have a simple race across multiple disciplines to be the best racer in the USA. This works extremely well, despite the odd hammy bit of voice acting. You can now just focus on what you like to race, whether it be dirt bikes, motorcycles, exotic cars (including street, drag and drift styles), power boats and aircraft. Yes, somehow Ivory Tower has pulled off providing approximately 250 different vehicles in the game, all fully modelled and with different handling characteristics. Sure, we are not dealing with sim like vehicle physics but the arcade handling has also greatly improved in The Crew 2 over the original game.
You can pick your choice of avatar too, and buy different clothing and accessories as well, including a good collection of helmets and biker gear. The events are definitely set to fun, and you’ll find yourself doing some pretty crazy stunts while racing. The first race certainly gives you a good taste of what to expect.
Cruising around in a crew is very easy now too. Joining a friend’s session is straight forward, and fast travelling to your mate is no problem at all. The beta had the whole map of USA unlocked. It remains to be seen if it stays that way, but I imagine it will. It certainly makes for a more accessible racing experience when you don’t have to travel to the location manually (not that I mind this).
Night Owl and I saw many crews racing past as we were cruising around the USA. The beta didn’t seem to allow impromptu racing with your crew, so I hope makes it in the final game. With the racing events it certainly encourages co-op play. For example, I managed to stuff up one of the races but because Night Owl made it into the top three it counted as a win for both of us.
The boats and planes are incredible fun, and you can also fast switch between each of the three main rides (ground, air and water). This definitely is great when you pull it off – you’ll feel like your in your own James Bond moment.
The beta has truly convinced me that this is a must buy for 2018. I’ve actually pre-ordered the Gold edition now. I’m so pleased with the vast improvements the developers have made in the sequel.
If you like racing open world games, that go across over a dozen disciplines, set in a huge open world (by far the largest we will see in a game in some time), then you should check out The Crew 2. The game is out June 29. Thankfully that means we don’t have long to wait.
Previewed on the Xbox One X. All pictures and video taken in game.