When Ubisoft dropped The Crew back in 2014, it repelled as many players as it drew in.
Some were put off by its gargantuan size, its hokey crime-street-racer story and the fact that in order to get the most out of the game, players were in for a substantial grind. But others took to it like a trailblazer hitting the open road; these were players who felt the game’s fetishistic customization levels and beautiful vistas were worth putting the hours in. They had their complaints, sure, but there was enough in The Crew to keep them hooked.
For The Crew 2, developers Ivory Tower have listened to the community’s criticisms and doubled-down on the fun and the sequel is all the better for it. The Crew 2 has all the aspects that kept players’ motors revving – the traditional street races, the coast-to-coast exploration and the arcade racer feel – but all the restriction have been removed. Sure, players may run into to the odd section of gridlock, but who cares when you can use The Crew 2’s Fast Fav mechanic and turn your idling car into a dirt bike and zing through the traffic.
Fast Fav, incidentally, is one of the sequels best additions. By clicking in a thumbstick, players can change their car not only into a bike, but into a boat or an airplane, giving them true freedom throughout the game’s map. It’s a pity this function isn’t integrated better into the story mode, but it opens up myriad possibilities for high-speed hijinks when players team up online.
The story is an improvement on its predecessor. Rather than play a dour-faced street racer on a mission against a crime syndicate, players take on the role of a social media influencer who just wants to become the top ranked driver in the US. Admittedly its pretty forgettable stuff, but the game allows players to skip cutscenes and the missions focus on being fun rather than wars of attrition, so it doesn’t really get in the way very much.
As was the case with its predecessor, the main draw in The Crew 2 is creating one’s own fun. Whether players are into off-roading, street racing, long-distance races, drag races and more The Crew 2 has them covered. Once again, customization borders on fetishistic, with players being able to tinker with everything from paintjobs, liveries, suspension, torque and beyond. The game looks great; whether players are barreling down the Vegas strip or taking in a sunset in the Arizona desert, the game doesn’t skimp an inch on visuals.
The Crew 2 can feel unfocussed at times, but then that’s the nature of a playground. This is a true sandbox game for petrol heads and arcade racers alike and a worthwhile upgrade for anyone who took to the first game.