In­volve­ment from Terry Crews yet to be con­firmed, but our fin­gers are crossed

XBox: The Official Magazine - - START - Phil Iwa­niuk

“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.

Trad­ing paint

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.

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