This time it’s the right one for The Crew 2 Mobile, which after several previews and a beta phase, is now coming to market. After an interesting but not flawless first try, Ivory Tower from Lyon is back with a more complete game, and above all much more fun. The ideal formula to spend the summer quietly, while waiting for the headlines of the new school year?
The Crew 2 Mobile In a Nutshell
Ivory Tower’s ideas have a lot of continuity. After the rather forgettable release of The Crew 2 Mobile in December 2014, the studio redoubled its efforts to give a new face to its game, which notably involved the realisation of two extensions. The first one, Wild Run, redefined in depth what The Crew was then, paving the way for a good sequel. So we forget about the American B-series revenge stories, to focus on The Crew’s main strength: its gigantic open world, the best pretext to create an XXXXXL sandbox suitable for all kinds of motorised competitions.
America, If It’s A Dream, I’ll Know It
We can’t repeat it enough: the strength of The Crew 2 Mobile is its gigantic open world of unparalleled richness. The United States reproduced in its entirety, not on a 1:1 scale of course, but offering all the diversity of landscapes that one can expect from this country-continent. Cities, deserts, mountains, forests, rocks, beaches… It’s all there, it’s easy to see. Until the reproduction of some of the country’s well-known sites, such as Cape Canaveral, Meteor Crater, the Pier de Santa Monica… It’s fun to look for the most iconic tourist spots and, good news, they are there, at least for a good part of them. With the introduction of new vehicles, namely planes and boats, the designers had to revise their map, especially the whole river network of the country, which was much less important in The Crew 2 Mobile first of the name. It is now entirely possible to cross the country solely by powerboat, for example up the Mississippi River from New Orleans to Chicago, or to leave the great northern lakes in the direction of the Pacific. The consequence of all this is that the map appears slightly smaller than in the first episode, or at least more compact. Everything is relative since it still took us a good half hour to do Las Vegas-New York in a 2015 Ford Mustang, whereas this one had hardly been modified; by plane, count a good twenty minutes to reach the East coast, starting from the Pacific. Which, you’ll agree, is quite impressive. All the more so since these United States are not empty, on the contrary. Traffic, passers-by in the streets, varied fauna (foxes, rabbits, cats, dogs, crocodiles, birds of all kinds), there is almost always something happening on the screen, so that the world of The Crew 2 Mobile does not seem too artificial, which is often the “defect” of many open-world racing games. Starting with the Forza Horizon series, which is a benchmark for the genre.
This geographical richness is obviously accompanied by a wealth of gameplay absolutely never seen in a title of this genre. The Crew 2 Mobile certainly introduces two new types of vehicles, but it’s above all the number of disciplines represented that surprises. Grouped in four different categories (Street Racing, Freestyle, Offroad, and Pro Racing), the fourteen types of events are unlocked little by little, as you collect followers; drift, hypercar racing, motocross, aerobatic, jet sprint, touring car, street race, rally raid, powerboat, monster trucks… The quantity of events that The Crew 2 Mobile offers forces to respect and above all allows you to renew the game experience very regularly. It’s simple, you never get bored, except maybe in the few disciplines that are not the most successful, and which we will talk about later. This very nice potpourri side must unfortunately not hide the main weakness of the game: what The Crew 2 Mobile does take independently (GT races, motocross, boat session, etc.), others do it, in a better way. On the other hand, none of these titles combines all these possibilities in one and the same cake. The Ivory Tower title does not seek to offer a hyper-complex motorsport experience, but above all variety and fun, and it does. As we will see later, this is achieved through the sensations, but also through the richness of the events: inevitably, with such a large playing field, no event is like another.
In fact, in many ways, The Crew 2 Mobile reminds us of Steep, with its wheel allowing to change the vehicle on the fly, its different disciplines and its followers (the XP, in Steep) as a way of progression. There is obviously a little side to it, but here the system works better since not everything is available from the start and there is always the little carrot that pushes you to play longer. Unlocking new events, new disciplines, new vehicles… Classic, for a racing game, in fact.
On The Road To Memphis
Riding sensations are likely to be a topic of debate with this The Crew 2 Mobile, which here looks a lot like its big brother. The first episode needed several updates and patches before proposing an interesting ride; this will not be necessary with this sequel which obviously benefits from the experience acquired since 2014 by Ivory Tower. It should also be kept in mind that the studio is composed, at least in the upper echelons, of former Eden Games employees, to whom we owe the Test Drive Unlimited series. Without surprise, we thus discover a title with a very, very arcade driving, which perhaps lacks a little relief, at times: we are rarely heckled by the physical engine of the game which is very, very generous. We necessarily hoped for more from Ivory on this point, since this point had already been reproached to them a certain number of times. On the other hand, as far as speed is concerned, the sensations are indeed there, especially in hypercar, jet sprint, or rallycross, to name but a few. But some may object to the lightness of the mass transfers or the impression that at any moment a loss of grip could cause a catastrophe. One rarely feels “walking on a rope”, that pleasant sensation sought after by race fans, where the slightest driving error can lead to a run-off. A pity.
It is therefore mainly thanks to the design of its circuits that The Crew 2 Mobile builds its intensity. You can find jumps and shortcuts a little bit everywhere; missing a jump, or a back passage can sometimes be expensive, especially if you opt for the “Difficult” level at the beginning of your race. Almost every discipline manages to find the little trick that makes the races more exciting: in jet sprint, it is possible to cut through small strips of dry land by sliding on wet ground; hypercar races are endurance races with a deceptive rhythm; in rally-raids, you have to constantly bet on the route to follow, and so on. In the end, there are really only two types of events that seem to us to be far below: motocross races, and powerboat races. The first because very clearly, the physics of the game is not adapted to driving two wheels, even less so in MX races. The powerboats because most of the tracks are too wise and the sensations too flat, with rare exceptions.
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