THE CREW 2
Involvement from Terry Crews yet to be confirmed, but our fingers are crossed
“There’s an absurd amount of ambition and variety on show here”
As if it wasn’t enough to have a pretty convincing version of the United States of America to drive around in,
The Crew 2 wants to expand those grand ambitions to the skies and waters. That much we knew right from its reveal, but having now been hands-on with the racer we’ve got a feel for how this American playground actually works.
Handling, never really a strength of the first Crew, doesn’t feel like it’s come on leaps and bounds in this sequel. Developers claim there’s plenty under the bonnet that improves how vehicles move, but our admittedly short session didn’t really reveal the fruits of that. Well, not in the cars, anyway. Ground is but one component of the experience now, after all.
Looks, on the other hand, are a different story. From the first glance at the standing water on some urban tarmac, it’s obvious that The Crew 2 is a much better-looking game relative to its peers at this point than its daddy was in late 2014. Considering the sheer size of its game world, and the attention to detail paid not just to the aforementioned puddles but also great bodies of water and chunks of land rendered from up high when you’re piloting a stunt plane, that’s a laudable achievement.
As for how those transitions between vehicle types are handled, it’s basically a flick of the right stick. Clicking it in brings up a radial menu which invites you to swap between available modes of transport, so if you’re currently driving and want to get to water, you can hop in a plane and cover ground more quickly until you reach a river below. It’s the 8.30AM commuter’s fantasy brought to life. It’s also much easier to swap between cars now. Previously getting a new ride would mean driving all the way back to the garage where your other whips were stored, but now you can swap between any of the motors you own on the fly. Bored of the Porche? No problem – why not take the Mustang instead? It’s a departure in tone from that ‘gritty’ story and at least faintly realistic vibe The Crew franchise is built on, but the idea behind it is to underline the whole playground concept. Do what you want, whenever you want. See if Ivory Tower cares – they’re no squares.
Okay, well maybe they care a bit. Arriving at a particular event type will automatically place you in the appropriate vehicle, so rocking up in the undulating midwestern wilderness for a jump-filled motocross race will force you onto a bike, and so forth. It’s just as well, really – we don’t fancy the repair bill on our Aston Martin’s suspension. Ivory Tower’s dev team say that they’re focusing more on creating specialised events like that, which really bring out the more enjoyable characteristics of each vehicle type. The 200mph highway marathons did get a bit old in The
Crew, after all. We can vouch for that, too – in a short session we rode roughshod over those jumps in the motocross event, took a drift car around some satisfying curves in an effort to bag 1,000 points before our opponents, and headed to an actual race track (it had apexes and everything) for a more traditional four-wheeled faceoff. We still have reservations about the handling, but there’s an absurd amount of ambition and variety on show here, and we’re desperately hoping the fundamentals allow it all to shine next March.