The Crew 2 – America: Yours to Discover
When Ubisoft first announced their brand new franchise titled The Crew, perspective fans were painted a picture of cruising across the United States, going from major city to major city, and enjoying everything in between. Console owners were promised a wide variety of cars, a great deep story, and plenty of races and events to take part in. And while Ubisoft delivered on some of those promises, what ultimately landed in the laps of gamers was a half finished racing game which attempted to shoe-horn in a story about murder.
We reviewed The Crew, and ultimately came to one conclusion: if The Crew was required so we could have a more polished and complete The Crew 2, than I was all for the failures of the original title. Now that The Crew 2 has landed, did Ubisoft learn from their mistakes?
When it comes to the games story, Ubisoft seemed to have listened to the criticisms of the original. Gone is the story of murder and vengeance, and a more light hearted, “I want to get famous on YouTube” story emerges. You are followed around the country by LIVE, a television network looking to make you famous off the events you partake in. The game brilliantly works in popular things we all seem to crave today: followers, likes, subscribers, and more!
The better you perform in events, the more people will follow you on your social media accounts; and the more people that follow you on your social media accounts, the more events and races open up for you. It’s simple, and doesn’t overshadow what this game is really suppose to be about: the racing!
Racing and Vehicles: Plenty of Options
And so we come to the next biggest change for the series. With a change in philosophy on how races are unlocked, the main focus now really is on doing your best in the various races and challenges spread out over the map. Whether you choose to engage in road races, off road adventures, flying through the skies, or taking to the lakes, rivers, and oceans, there is always something to do in The Crew 2, and with so many different race types, it’s easy to bounce between them all, keeping the game feeling fresh.
Instead of knocking out 3 or 4 straight road races, you can now experiment and engage in more types of racing. Therefore, although each road race really does feel fairly similar, the fact that you can spread them out with 3 or 4 races in between – and sometimes 30 to 45 minutes – you never get the repetitive feeling that would otherwise plague a title like this.
Variety is the name of the game here, but in race types and vehicle types. You’ll earn plenty of money completing tasks around the United States, and all that money can be turned into newer and more powerful cars. And the variety here is truly astounding, from racing boats to planes, and from monster trucks to small road ready racers. While you’ll need to dabble in them all to complete the game, how you get from A to B is entirely up to you. A host of vehicle options makes each journey between events feel different than the last.
When you are down on the streets or cruising the open water, The Crew 2 looks phenomenal. Even without using the mini map as a guide, those familiar with major US cities will easily be able to pinpoint where they are, even without the help of signs and maps. Each city is recreated beautifully, and when you are down on the ground, there are very few problems. Sure, I had a few instances of pop-in, and from time to time, you could tell some assets were not loading properly, but these were so infrequent it hardly makes it worth mentioning them.
The bigger issue is when you take to the skies, and begin flying across America. In these instances, the game looks really, really bad. Muddy textures and terrible draw distance makes the cities and countryside of the United States look like a muddied mess; thankfully, this is the only time where graphics take a big hit, and while not enjoyable, it’s hardly enough of a reason to not take The Crew 2 for a spin!
For all it’s faults, The Crew had a fantastic idea that I hoped Ubisoft would run with in a sequel. And thank goodness they did, as The Crew 2 fixes almost all the issues with the original release, and does so in a tight, neat package. While the franchise still has room to grow – I’m still not sold on the interactions with other real people within the game – it is definitely taking the necessary steps to begin rivaling other major open world racing experiences.
Don’t pass up on The Crew 2! If you are looking for a racing fix, this will definitely give you a wide variety of things to do and enjoy.