Back when The Crew was first announced at E3 2013, the coolness seemed to be overshadowed by the reveal of Watch Dogs and The Division in the same conference. Fast forward to this year’s E3, and The Crew 2 may have the same issues, with Skull and Bones and the Beyond Good & Evil 2 announcement stealing the majority of the Ubisoft conference thunder, but at least we know what we can expect this time around… or can we?
Aside from the mechanics of having a 4-player crew itself, forget everything you know about the original. The Crew 2 has been rebuilt and re-shaped from the ground up, throwing away all the previous mappings and building an entirely new United States to race through, this time not just on land (on and off road), but also taking to the sea and air as Ubisoft introduces boats and planes to the mix. If you can drive it, pilot it, or captain it, it’s probably in the game, from cars and motorcycles to motorboats to planes and helicopters.
The entire map is about 1/10th the actual size of the United States, so it will only take about 4 hours to drive from California to New York, but there will be so much to do along the way it may take you days to get there if you stop and do all the various things.
Story progression details will be revealed in the future, but what we do know is there will be 4 “families” you can join depending on what you feel like doing when you fire up the game: Off Roaders, Street Racers, Pro Racers, and Free Stylists. Don’t worry about choosing one though, as you’re not beholden to those, you can jump from one to the other at any time, so if you want to do off-roading you can do that, and you can immediately jump to street racing later on if you’d like.
The freedom to do what you want was important for the development team this time around, nothing needs to be unlocked. In the first 5 minutes of the game you will be introduced to everything and after that it’s entirely up to you, you make your own fun, whether it be racing in the streets, or just exploring the connected river system they’ve built there’s something for everyone, from the casual to the highly competitive.
Races have no boundaries, so players can get from the start to the finish however they want, and transitioning from car to boat to plane and back is done with the simple click of a button provided there’s air, land, or water to traverse. Note, this isn’t Forza or Gran Turismo, the simulation feel isn’t there as Ubisoft wanted a more arcade feel here and it looks like it works well.
Speaking of Looks, if you can remember the Inception-esque world bending you saw in the E3 trailer, that will also be part of the game itself, not all the time, but during special moments or special areas you discover over time. You will also not be limited to the vehicles you own, if you want to play with a friend and he has a specific discipline you haven’t started on yet, the game will loan you a car to play with your friend and then sell you an entry-level version when you’ve finished.
As for the number of vehicles, while there was around 200 cars in The Crew, the number of vehicles in The Crew 2 is not yet known, but Ubisoft describes it as “many more”, so there will be plenty of vessels and their various parts to play with. Previous players of The Crew will get a nice bonus as they can earn up to 18 vehicles waiting for them in their garage from the start of The Crew 2 depending on what achievements they earned in The Crew. Worry not about pay-to-win, however, as the only micro-transactions in the game are for aesthetics only and do not affect the gameplay whatsoever.
While The Crew 2 does not come out until early 2018, a new beta phase is coming soon and you can sign up for that on thecrewgame.com/beta.