After receiving a mixed reception for its new racing series’ first instalment, Ubisoft is back with The Crew 2 for PS4, Xbox One and PC. It’s shaping up to be far more wild and ambitious with countless vehicles to control across a huge open world.
The game is set in a 2000 square-mile world based on the United States, called Motornation. Vehicles include – but aren’t limited to – cars, dirtbikes, stunt planes, jet boats, speedboats and mental 4×4 buggies. It’s completely batty, and not what we expected from a game that previously only focused on road-going vehicles. Environments include New York City, the Mississippi River and the Grand Canyon.
Ubisoft has announced that The Crew 2 will launch for PS4, Xbox One and PC on June 29, 2018, with a beta due to start on June 21st in case you want to try it out for yourself first.
I still don’t quite understand how it’s all supposed to fit together, though. I played the Live race that was demonstrated in the gameplay walkthrough trailer above, but it gave me no actual hint as to what was going on or how I could actually win the race at hand. I started driving a Porsche 911, then appeared in a stunt plane and ended up in a boat. I don’t know how the three were related, or whether my actions in the previous segment of the race were relevant to the next.
Handling felt fine; the car had a nice driftiness to it, the plane felt weighty but quick. The speedboat was pretty dull to drive, but I challenge anybody to make an everyday speedboat feel exciting in a video game. The courses are suitably ridiculous, my road-going Porsche was soon taking to the air with massive jumps onto New York rooftops, which was certainly a surprise. I was a little dismayed that this legally-sanctioned street race still allowed pedestrians to walk onto the course. If the peds weren’t completely drive-thru-able, I’d have taken quite a few with me to the finish line.
After that experience, I was transported to Street Racing HQ, which is in Los Angeles. There, I was introduced to a dude who promised to help me climb the ranks, and even gave me a car. How generous! He informed me about the existence of a bloke called Tio, who’s apparently really good at racing, and it will take “everything you got” in order to beat him.
In addition to street racing, there’s also freestyle, pro racing and off road HQs, among others. The game is spread across the whole of the USA, with each city featured – including Miami, LA and NYC – all blending into one another without any loading screens. Each discipline will likely have a similar story arc; beat the best racer to become the best yourself.
In each category, you’ll complete events to earn Cred, which can be used to unlock cars and upgrades. That’s about all there is to it right now. I assume there’ll me more features announced soon with regard to the shadowy Live organisation, and how we can all become the best racer in the States.
After a brief introduction to the campaign, I was whisked into free roaming. It’s here things get super weird. You can quick travel to any point on the map, and spawn in a land vehicle. And then you can immediately transform into a plane, that miraculously appears in the street in the exact location where your car was. Take off, and perhaps you’ll fancy turning into a boat. I did just that and fell a thousand feet into the Hudson in my speedboat, which was interesting to say the least.
As you might be able to tell my the sporadic nature of my first impressions, I really don’t have the foggiest how The Crew 2 is going to fit together. Early 2018 is the release date, so let’s hope for a bit more information in the near future.