After giving our video coverage a bit more variety this week, we thought we had the right to finally tell you what we truly think about The Crew 2 and share some more advanced races with you along the way. As you'll see, though there are things we like about the game, there are still a number of issues we would have liked to see addressed in this sequel. Our verdict is based on the PC version of the game that we've mostly played in the past few days.
The main issue we have with The Crew 2 is that too many comprises have been made to avoid frustrating casual players, which means all the others will have to cope with them in order to have fun. It's a real shame as we don't believe toning down the physics engine or making wet and snowy roads less slippery are design decisions that will benefit to most. That being said, everything about The Crew 2 is better than in the first game. The handling is more fun, the races are too and the content available at launch is pretty impressive. True, the added variety comes with a cost as not everything plays great in the game, but overall, it's a game that can quickly become time-consuming. That variety of vehicles, races, landscapes is actually this title's main strength without a doubt. Now sure, planes should have been trickier to fly, powerboats should have been made more interesting by adding bigger waves in the ocean to make racing at sea more different than on rivers, but it is still a lot of fun to pilot sprintjets, to do street and off-road races and even to pull up crazy stunts in freeride with the planes.
Then there is the freeride aspect, in which you can easily lose track of time, provided you didn't get enough of the US the first time around. Another bump in the road, yes, the map is more or less the same, no added cites (where are you Boston?), still two states missing (Hawaii and Alaska), just some new rivers to navigate. If you have never played The Crew before and you enjoy its arcade gameplay, you're in for a treat, but if you already know Ivory Tower's condensed version of the US, maybe the new shiny graphics won't be enough to draw you back in. There is also another design choice that some might find a bit surprising. In the first game, you had to reach the place of the race unless you had already driven on a nearby road, this allowed players to experience true road trips, not like in Forza Horizon 2 where they lasted 2 minutes. We understand why the developers thought it might be more convenient to be able to start any of the races by simply clicking on the event, but by doing so, most people will simply chain events without exploring the map at all. Then again, you're free to do things the way you want, so it's not necessarily a real shortcoming.
In short, The Crew 2 is quite a polarizing game. It's undeniably better than the first episode, but there is always something reminding you that it could have been more. Even when it comes to the graphics for example, it's a major step up most of the time, but pop-in issues are still very distracting in some areas. It's understandable when in a plane, a bit less when driving through a forest with more limited field of view. The swap mechanic is a silly idea that works perfectly in freeride and adds even more freedom, but it hasn't been used as much as it could have in the career. Some races make good use of it, but there are too few in our opinion, which is a shame as it is actually one of the things that give The Crew 2 its unique flavor. Weather should also be more subject to change, it barely rains, or at least, it hasn't for us in the 20 hours of gameplay we've experienced so far. Most of the things we're not satisfied with could be fixed in future updates, so we hope they will, because at the end of the day, The Crew 2 is a fun game to play. We just wish it pushed its boundaries further, both literally and figuratively.