If there was one game that Ubisoft had playable at E3, that I was not interested in at all it would be The Crew 2, the original game had a great idea, but suffered across the board from a range of issues, which made playing it a chore, rather than a delight, but given that I was there, I jumped on and gave it ago.
Right off the bat, I can say for a fact that the handling for the cars is so much better than the original game, which is a very good thing, given that the cars are going to be what people sink their time into first. The build that Ubisoft had put together for the show, played much like the games debut trailer, you started off in a car, then moved to boats and then finally to planes, it was described to me, before I had played it as Diddy Kong Racing, but real and after playing it, I can agree with that sentiment. Swapping between the vehicles in the build at least was controlled by the game, how that plays out in the final release is yet to be talked about, but I would expect some sort of hub to visit and swap there.
Racing through the streets of New York was so good hear, thankfully again due to the tight steering mechanics and if you have played the previous game then the controls will feel familiar. What really surprised me though was how good the game looked, I did think that the original game was created on Xbox 360 at first, given that this is pure current generation, it looks incredible, reflections on the wet ground, people all around the place and even side streets and alleyways packed with objects, the entire city, or at least the section that I was racing in, felt alive.
The planes I felt were the weakest of the three vehicle types, the controls were very basic, but still offered enough of a challenge, so they might be interesting when you hit up the more advanced courses. Using the left stick, you control your pitch and roll, the shoulder buttons though is what controlled your turning, so if you wanted to make a turn to the right, pressing the right shoulder button would do that for you. After a while in the air, the game changed the course and has me flying low across the tops of buildings and even at one point through the middle of some buildings and while a cool moment, there was something missing from it, I can’t say what, but it felt incomplete.
In any event, The Crew 2 seems to be the game that the first was aiming to be, of course, given how badly the original game launched, the team behind the game still have a lot of work to do, to make sure this launches properly. With much tighter handling in cars and a more dynamic and interesting city, this sequel appears to be hitting the right notes right now and with plenty of time until the games 2018 release, I hope they can fix up the plane sections as well.