From Sea to Shining Sea
With The Crew 2’s open beta coming to a close recently, I got a chance to participate in it and see first hand whether or not this follow-up game is a worthy successor to its popular predecessor. Long story short, I have mixed feelings about this game, there are some points that I really liked, and others that felt weird.
The Crew 2’s big shtick is that the gameplay has been expanded to include all new vehicle types and race modes. This includes things like the boats and dune buggies that are advertised, but also a bunch of new Sub-classes in a different genre of the game. This provided for lots of different opportunities to play different modes and take a break if one challenge was annoying.
The challenges were based around different events in the racing world, street/racetrack racing, Boating, Airplanes, and off-roading challenges are all included in the game. These challenges vary in difficulty and even some of the beginner challenges feel pretty tough. The hardest of which was the off-roading challenges, which just felt plain unfair. All the other courses were either pretty easy to mildly challenging but not too hard. The first off-roading tracks, the ones that were supposed to be the easiest of the series, felt nearly impossible. Both of the downhill sprints I lost by multiple minutes, I couldn’t do less than double the minimum time. Mind you, I played the next level up, the BMX sections, and won all of them on my first try. But, these downhill sections felt like they should be a high end race, no race of mine was perfect, but even the sections that were perfect I still lost about 30 seconds to a minute just between checkpoints. Unless there is a mechanic that I was missing or I just really took the wrong path, something just felt like that part of the game wasn’t balanced properly. The rest of the game played well though, the actual driving is a little hard to get used to with a keyboard but you can adjust. The boating and flying were lots of fun once you get used to the controls, and their first set of competitions were easy and fun, just how it should be.
However, sometimes, the game was way too hand-holding and gentle. Oftentimes in the earliest stages the goal is just to finish, and if you were last to finish, the game would just cut and move on. At least make the racer finish the actual race if that is the requirement, and add some disappointment to the dialogue. There is very little divergence from the script and often makes the game feel like a new type of “on-rails” game, pushing you along no matter what, but then you get incredible difficulty spikes.
The dialogue is SUPER cheesy, so it is pretty standard for a Ubisoft game. Honestly you could probably turn the dialogue off and not miss too much, there were some instructional things presented in the dialogue but they are pretty easy to understand and one could likely figure it out on their own, and if not there is probably also an on-screen tutorial showing you step-by-step how it can be done. Overall, the subtitles are more worth your time than listening to the other characters, at least subtitles aren’t intrusive.
However, that doesn’t mean that this game is all bad. On the contrary, there are a lot of fun things to do and I lost multiple hours doing challenges and driving around the country. Driving around and finding random loot boxes providing different goodies and give a real scaveneger hunt feel as you’re listening to the pulses trying to find where the box has been placed. These lose their place very quickly as it’s just plainly more fun to drive around and do stuff. Quick changing between vehicles means you can get out of almost any situation.
There are in-game transactions where if you purchase enough in-game tokens you can purchase different vehicles, foregoing the need to earn the car. Considering everything is available to everyone, parts included. I don’t have much of a problem with this, it may get a reputation for being pay-to-win but there seems to be a low level of interaction between different people in real life. The only times I ever came across another person was out on the road while free driving near different in-world challenges. It may be a turn off for some people when the real game launches later this year, but overall I didn’t notice much of a difference.
Overall the game is a lot of fun and (mostly) easy to pick up and play. The in-game transactions barely affect your game for now, and unless there are pvp races that I didn’t find, they don’t amount to much more than paying for a cheat code to get a car early. I didn’t spend any money and I still had a ton of fun playing around in their open sandbox. The Crew 2 follows in its predecessor’s footsteps well, expanding on what made the game unique and keeping everything else pretty much what you would expect. If you liked the first one you’ll probably like this one. Other racing fans, it’s not a bad time if you are looking for a stress-free racing game. I would definitely recommend the game when it comes out in just 3 days.