Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Eric Vs. 365 - Day 30 - The Crew 2

The Crew 2 is our featured game on day 30 of Eric Vs. 365. Ubisoft's second attempt at an open world racer is a fairly sizable improvement over the first in just about every way but it screws up the main attraction - actually driving across the USA is surprisingly dull this time around. Good thing the racing itself is much better to make up for it. Watch our Crew 2 video and learn more about the game in today's blog.

I bought The Crew 2 during Black Friday 2018 but didn't ever really play it until July 2019 for this video. I liked the first Crew game well enough, which is why I bought The Crew 2, but something about it just didn't grab my attention. I tried playing it in January 2019 but I had just finished playing Need for Speed Payback and The Crew 2 feels absolutely awful compared to Payback so I put it down almost immediately. Fast forward 6-months - so I didn't have the memories of a better feeling game fresh in my mind - and I gave The Crew 2 another shot. This time it stuck and I had a lot of fun with it!

The Crew 1 was really rough at launch and got a bunch of patches that greatly improved the gameplay feel and the presentation. It was rough and ugly at launch, but looks fairly decent nowdays. The Crew 2 launched in a much better state, but compared to the likes of Forza Horizon 4 it is always going to look and feel a little off. You do get used to it after a while, though. 

The main differences between Crew 1 and Crew 2 is that the dumb story from the first game is gone in favor of just letting you actually go race and have fun. The progression system this time around has you earning social media fans in order to unlock new disciplines and more interesting events all over the country, which works well. There are multiple types of car racing, dirt bikes, road bikes, airplanes, monster trucks, demo derbies, and much more and the best part is that you can just focus on the stuff you like and still earn enough clout to make progress through the game. You can even ignore racing and just do stunt events or take specific pictures the game wants and earn enough clout to make progress. This was a brilliant move since not all of the racing disciplines are particularly good - MX races and boat races are putrid ... most other things are fine.

The main draw of The Crew 1 was that it featured a full - albeit heavily edited and shifted around - map of the United States. You could drive form New York to L.A. or Seattle to Miami and it was a very cool and enjoyable road trip because things were reasonably where they should be. The Crew 2 is based on that same idea, but the execution somehow doesn't feel as good. The map is the full USA again, but with things even more weirdly moved around and more stuff omitted. It doesn't feel like a road trip through the US anymore because absolutely nothing is where it should be. It feels like an arbitrarily designed videogame-y map where nothing is realistic and nothing makes sense. Taking a road trip in The Crew 2 is boring and unsatisfying.

The racing itself is fine, though, which is what I focused on in the video. I showed off some track racing, MX racing, monster trucks, and a demo derby. There is a lot to do in the game and I didn't even come close to scratching the surface of showing it off, so if any of this looks fun and entertaining I can easily recommend The Crew 2 for a purchase. It's dirt cheap these days so you really have nothing to lose. You might just have a good time with it.