This might just be me, but when I played Ivory Tower’s The Crew, I adored the vast open-world that I could drive through, but unappealing boredom came with it. I have now been able to try The Crew 2, and I feel like the developers have finally found the sweet spot for free-roam, and it’s all down to one system.
When The Crew 2 opened doors for the closed beta, I was excited, especially after spending hours on The Crew’s PC edition and driving to different spots to go and snap up photographs while leaving the story incomplete. It was the trip to my waypoints that wore me down the most. The twisting roads, the occasional traffic I’d smash into, and the speed-limiting terrain that would render a shortcut pointless.
Then again this was probably due to The Crew being limited to just land vehicles offering no variety in gameplay. The Crew 2 takes players from the land to the sky, and also onto the water. This does mean that there’s a more diverse range of vehicles to play around with. With that feature, Ivory Tower has created different driving physics to master.
It also means there are now different methods to get from point A to point B while cruising the country.
Starting in your garage, you choose a currently owned vehicle to drive off in. That vehicle can be a boat, car, or a plane. From there you can either travel to events or just enjoy the open-world to your leisure. The world itself is very similar to the first. There’s a noticeable lack of life, but also the astonishing realization of such a large map.
The Crew 2 feels more like a remastered edition of its predecessor. Just with planes and boats injected in. While it’s hard to determine how the full game will differ, the free roam seems to remain roughly the same. It can still take an exhaustingly long time to get from one State to the next. However, that trip can also be lovely.
But this one particular live vehicle switching system changes the way the free roam works as a whole. This is a system that offers more freedom in ways I’ll explain shortly. More importantly, Ivory Tower has implemented the system so fluidly that it doesn’t feel like a buggy gimmick. The switch is so easy to use that it opens up the world without you needing to interrupt your flow.
The live vehicle switch system works by allowing you to switch between the vehicle types at any given moment. During free-roam, players trigger this mechanic by pushing in an analog stick and simply changing. Here it is in action as illustrated by this fancy GIF:
The fact it works even while moving is just an excellent touch. Before you ask the question, I’ll go ahead and answer it for you. Yes, that does mean you can switch from a plane to your car at 1,000ft in the air. While this might not seem like a game changer on paper, when put into action it really is. It allows for more tactical play which can, as a result, end up with you looking badass.
For example, you can drive at speed towards a lake and then change into sudden sailing. You may then want to position your boat to the horizon. From there, you can switch to the plane to start effortlessly flying over the oncoming terrain. This system creates more experiences than possible before, either alone or with friends.
It’s thanks to this system that I now have a wider choice of freedom than The Crew offered me. It allows me to choose between speeding through rivers, driving off-road, or flying over everything with no obstacles.
A fancy way to use the system is for when you feel like grabbing insane photo moments that would otherwise be impossible. However, it’s now going to be possible by flying high and then dropping on a mountain as a motorcycle for example. Maybe flying vertically up a skyscraper then switching to a car. Perhaps you may just want to ski down a mountain in a boat.
Fun fact, I took all of the photos for this editorial using the in-game photo mode. It’s all possible on the PC version of the title using some of the methods described above.
While the world itself is massive and a lot more fun to drive through now — thanks to this live vehicle change system — I don’t believe the game is going to be as populated as it could be. I never felt like The Crew was a living breathing world. The closed beta of The Crew 2 gives me the same impression at the moment.
Props respawn, civilian AI feels overly scripted, and there’s a lot of duplicate props on the same street. The cars still feel like they’re gripping the ground too much, and are still incredibly hard to flip.
It indeed focuses on being a more laid back title this time around though, I will give it that. A nice change from The Crew’s original dark story that loomed overhead. The Crew 2 is focused more on exciting the in-game social media users to generate popularity and make a name for yourself.
While the rest of the game is still yet to be seen when it launches on June 29th, 2018, one thing I know for sure is that the free roam has been redefined for me.
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