A Hell of a Ride — The Crew 2 Preview

I had the chance to get my hands on The Crew 2 recently, and I can honestly say it was the most fun I’ve had in a racing game in a long time.

As you can probably guess, The Crew 2 is the sequel to the The Crew, a racing game that came out back in 2014. I never played The Crew, so I came into this experience with a completely fresh perspective on this game.

From the very beginning of my preview time, I found myself enjoying the different challenges and races more than I expected. The Crew 2 is an open world game that lets you attempt driving challenges and races all over the United Statesand not just traditional “race in the streets” kind of races. There are four different “families” that you can join—Street Racing, Pro Racing, Freestyle, and Off Road—each of which have a distinct tone, look, and mood. In each family you have a mentor and a rival, and you can earn different narrative scenes that let you explore that racing style a bit more. However, there isn’t much plot after that. There’s no specific narrative, which allows you to explore this world as you see fit.

The actual activities you can do in this game are spectacular. You can go off-roading through vineyards in wine country, fly a plane dangerously low over casinos in Las Vegas, or boat around Miami. You can also customize your vehicleswhether using parts you earn in the different races or changing paint colors  (which I did pretty quickly, as I needed my signature hot pink on EVERYTHING).

Even after a few hours of playing, I couldn’t quite get a handle on the street racing side of things. However, I quickly fell in love with the off-roading challenges. Beating the competition by driving at top speeds through the Grand Canyon or New Orleans swamps was everything I needed. I also greatly enjoyed the trick flying challenges, in which you get points for loop-the-loops or flying close to the ground.

I think that’s what I enjoyed so much about my preview of The Crew 2. You don’t have to be good at every single type of racing. You can be an expert pilot or boat captain, and have just as much of a good time learning about your new racing family. When you decide you want to go do some more pro-racing challenges, they’ll be there to welcome you back with open arms.

More than anything, The Crew 2 reminded me of a racing version Ubisoft’s 2016 snow-sports release, Steep. I don’t know if this was a purposeful similarity or coincidental, but it has the same open world with a variety of challenges with more becoming available as you level up. I personally loved playing Steep, as I found it an almost meditative experience. After my time with The Crew 2, I believe it has the potential to live up to Steep’s experience.

While I greatly enjoyed the preview I had of The Crew 2, I really can’t wait until the full game comes out. The Crew 2 is going to be released on June 29th on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. If you’re interested in trying out the beta, you can sign up on their website here.

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