The Crew 2 Is Just Test Drive Unlimited At This Point

Let’s face it, the initial launch of The Crew 2 was not good, I reviewed it and found it very lacklustre, not just with the exclusion of multiplayer but how bare-bones it all felt. Fast forward to now and I decided to revisit The Crew 2 and see if anything has changed.

Straight away it had a new energy about it, the game ran better (pc/Uplay), the menus felt more cohesive and I looked forward to jumping in. The Test Drive Unlimited moniker is attached because of how the Crew 2 plays. It takes the DNA and essence of TDU by allowing you to just free roam the world, take on events as and how you want, by jumping straight in from the menu or driving there. Loot boxes are hidden around the world which are reminiscent of finding the car Ruins in TDU. Even the race start countdown is reminiscent of TDU, with it showing exotic car shots as the timer counts down.

Multiplayer is finally in the game and has its own series of events that change periodically which can be accessed from the menu. While driving around, you can see other players “ghosts” in your world and you can interact with them, just like in TDU. I had to stop myself from constantly checking the map as I was so convinced I was playing TDU that I was trying to fill in the roads. For those who have no idea what I’m on about, TDU has a mini game where you fill in roads as you drive on and discover them (Forza games have started using this) and, having them discovered allows you to find events and fast travel.

Of course, I say all this and The Crew 2 doesn’t even have a road system, which is a kick in the ass as I like pottering around filling in the roads. For fast travel you have to jump to events and races. The Crew 2 does allow you to play how you want, and you can level up by just dicking about or doing events, and even then you can just do the events you like.

Speaking of events, The Crew 2 has gone above and beyond with the events on offer. You can go do air races and stunt runs with planes, or drive some touring cars, or even drive divorce-inducing hyper cars. That’s cool but nothing compared to my new favourites: Demolition Derby and Monster Trucks.

Demolition Derby is every bit as good as you would hope. It has added in powerups for bonus score, does more damage and you can repair damage. Then you have arenas, which are almost a character in themselves. They have jump pads, swing arms, guillotine bars, ramps and more. It makes it pure carnage, and you also get the visual stimulant of scoring for spinning a car out or destroying them. It’s just a brilliant idea and so well executed. Thank God they let you respawn, otherwise I would change my mind.

My other new favourite mode is Monster Trucks! I did initially think I would be crushing Skodas and racing other trucks but no, it’s more a focus on scoring points from acrobatic manoeuvres,. You get a large playground and you can score points from spins and jumps, with point tokens littered about the arena. You can also do races from time to time but that’s just not as much fun.

Photo mode events are a great source of Fan points, and they’re easy. You first get a prompt for it then you just pin it, the criteria will be on your Hud, and the best part is that it will highlight grey when the goal target is in reach, then its just a case of hitting photo mode and snapping. I like how Photo Mode can break up the game and add a bit of progress to your random driving around.

The industries latest cash generator battle passes are in the Crew 2 and it’s a weak attempt. Weak for the progression not the rewards per se. You only advance the battle pass by doing particular events,  which is quite straightforward but it has no flair to it! Why not tie it to some of the many other activities around? It’s a weird choice but hey, just don’t buy the premium version and if you unlock something then fine.

For all the new found love I have for The Crew 2 I still cannot believe how they miss so many golden opportunities. The biggest one is the morphing between vehicles, its so flawless, so quick and so cool, but aside from a combo score it is all used for nothing. It should be incorporated into races/events and it just irks me that it doesn’t ever get pushed.

I find every session I have with The Crew 2 that it makes me want Test Drive Unlimited back in my life, The Crew 2 invokes the spirit but it just isn’t Test Drive UNLIMITED, which is OK, as The Crew 2 is on it’s way to  becoming a great game after a rocky start. This solidifies Ubisofts ethos of buy now play later and they have proven that if you support a game and fix it up, the players will come.

Jim Smale

Gaming since the Atari 2600, I enjoy the weirdness in games counting Densha De Go and RC De Go as my favourite titles of all time. I prefer gaming of old where buying games from a shop was a thing, Being social in person was a thing. Join me as I attempt to adapt to this new digital age!

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