Ivory Tower’s first racing game had a crazy cross-America police storyline and an amazing map, but was let down by some lacklustre handling. What does this sequel, some 4 years later, do to right the wrongs of the first game? Welcome to The Crew 2.
The development team have very much chosen to stick with America for their sophomore effort, but this sequel bears no resemblance to its predecessor. This time around, there’s no cops at all, and instead you’re a rookie driver taking part in a series of televised races, with no real goal other than to accumulate more ‘followers’ on the lame fake social media. There’s a few cut-scenes, but given all the followers give you are the ability to purchase new vehicle types and compete in more events, there’s really not much to the storyline whatsoever. It’s a real let-down as I feel that arcade racers can really benefit from a good cheesy storyline to accompany the action…
My main problem with the first game though was the handling, which was awful in the slowest cars you drove at the start of the game, and merely acceptable by the time you reached the end game. Various additions improved things over time, but it never really got there as a game, even after a couple of large paid expansions. The other annoying thing was that handling improved markedly with parts as you levelled up, making it feel a bit too much like an RPG.
The Crew 2 thankfully improves things significantly. This is not to say that all of the RPG bullshit has been removed, just that it has less of an effect, and that handling in general has been improved across the board. The most annoying thing though? The major new additions are the fact you can drive around in a boat or a plane, and they handle just fine. Cars, however, are still a step below even a Need for Speed game, and light-years behind a Forza or GT. Some classes are better than others mind, with Street Races, Drag, Monster Trucks and Hypercars all feeling decent, but Alpha GP (F1 cars) and Drifting feel particularly problematic to get into a groove.
There’s an enormous amount to do across America, split across nearly a dozen categories of racing, along with various skill races and photo opportunities, but fast travel is unlocked from the get-go, and driving around the world feels strangely lonely. There’s not a huge amount of AI traffic, and the game’s multiplayer is very bare-bones at the moment (more on this later).
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