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The Crew 2 beginner’s guide

Ubisoft Ivory Tower pulled out all the stops with The Crew 2, an online open-world racing game that not only lets you explore the land with cars, motorcycles, and dirt bikes, but also the air and water in planes and speedboats. The range of vehicles and activities can be a little overwhelming to newcomers, or those more familiar with a series like Forza Horizon, but with a few tips and tricks, you can quickly become a skilled racer and watch your follower count — and cash — grow.

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Getting started

The Crew 2: The Wild Road - Launch Trailer | Ubisoft [NA]

Complete events to gain followers

Unlike in the original 2014 The Crew, The Crew 2 doesn’t feature heavy scripted storytelling to get your character to the “end” of the game. Instead, you’re tasked with becoming a famous racer by competing in events and raising the total number of “followers” you have. Whether you’re in a speed race, a motocross event, or are just doing loops in your plane for fun, you’ll constantly be earning new followers.

Initially, you’ll be a “rookie” and you’ll only be able to compete with a few different types of vehicles, with your first few unlocked for free as you try out the different events. As you rise to “popular,” “famous,” “star,” and “icon” status, you’ll unlock additional types of vehicles and events to complete. It isn’t particularly difficult to hit “icon” in a few days, but you have to know which events to do.

Use the game’s overworld map to zoom out all the way and get a view of the entire United States — on PlayStation 4, you can quickly pull up the map by hitting the touchpad on your controller. From here, you can select any icon on the map to learn how many followers you’ll earn for successfully completing it, as well as the cash you’ll receive. This will come in handy later when you have to purchase vehicles to unlock new types of races. You can also fast-travel directly to an event from this menu — no need to drive all the way there!

Leveling up vehicles

The Crew 2 - Freedom and Flexibility in Motornation | UbiBlog | Ubisoft [NA]

There is one other number you need to pay attention to. Each vehicle you drive comes with its own base level, and this number gives you a rough estimate of its performance in races. When you select an event on the map, you’ll see your relevant vehicle’s current level, as well as what is recommended to compete. You can race if the number isn’t quite there yet, but you’ll find it extremely difficult to succeed.

To power up your cars, bikes, boats, and planes, you need to equip them with additional car parts the game dubs “loot.” These will drop at the conclusion of a successful race, and you can use them to upgrade your tires, engine, suspension, and more. Though they come in different colors in a similar style to role-playing games’ gear – purple is better than green, for instance – as long as the number of the loot is higher than the number on your current car part, it’s worth swapping them.

If you forget to pick up the loot you earn, you’ll find it available at that particular discipline’s headquarter mailbox. If you forget which discipline the event was in, its headquarters will be the same color as the event’s icon on the map.

If you hear a beeping sound and your mini-map begins to flash, you are near a bonus “live reward,” which contains additional loot. To locate it, keep driving until the beeping becomes more frequent. You won’t find them very often, but they’re very handy for increasing your level just enough for the next race.

What events should you complete first?

The Crew 2: Coast to Coast | Trailer | Ubisoft [NA]

Particularly early on, the number of new events you’ll see popping up all over your map can be overwhelming. Not all of these are great ways to earn followers, however, so we suggest focus on these few specific types to boost your numbers right off the bat.

Street races – The standard mode for most open-world racing games, street races in The Crew 2 will typically reward you with around 2,000 new followers and can be completed in just a few minutes.  Street races are harder than some other events, but practicing them will go a long way toward building your skill.

Rally raids – Like Dr. Emmett Brown said, “Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” Rally raids are off-road races that typically take you through forests, swamps, and other areas a car probably shouldn’t go. You have more freedom to choose your path and you typically don’t have to worry about making super-tight turns, but the follower reward is about the same as a street race.

Motocross – Motocross events are still races, but you’ll ride a dirt bike across a course filled with huge jumps and tight turns. Despite the dangerous façade, they’re actually quite easy events, and you’re able to adjust your course far easier than you could in a car, boat, or plane.

Aerobatics – Flying a plane sounds daunting, but The Crew 2 makes it easy. In aerobatics events, you’ll typically be tasked with performing certain tricks, such as rolls or loops, to earn points. These are quite easy and can be completed very quickly, and once the time has expired you can typically keep doing tricks to earn more followers.

Tips and tricks

The Crew 2: Blazing Your Own Trail Across America - Gameplay and Interview | UbiBlog | Ubisoft [NA]

With the number of different vehicle types to choose from, you can easily get used to racing in one and accidentally mess up your performance in another. Here are some tips and tricks to increase your performance, gain more followers, and help you find the finish line.

Lay off the brakes — Even when racing in the ridiculously fast hyper-cars later in the game, it’s pretty rare that you’ll actually have to hit your brakes to make a turn. Doing this tends to cause your car to slip and head off-course, but by reducing your acceleration well before making the turn, you can avoid this and get back to top-speed sooner.

Don’t waste nitrous — By hitting “X” on the PS4 controller or “A” on the Xbox One controller, you can use nitrous on your vehicles to get a burst of speed. It can be tempting to use it all during a long, straight stretch of road, but it’s better to conserve it for emergencies. If you accidentally go off the road, having nitrous handy to return to your previous speed can be the difference between winning a race and coming in last.

Don’t rage-quit races — We know it can be tempting to hit “restart” if you lose the lead at the tail-end of a race, but you’re missing out on free followers by doing this. Even if you lose a race, you’ll still receive a limited number of followers and cash for merely completing it.

Use “back on track” — Hold down L1 and R1 on PS4 or LB and RB on Xbox One to use “back on track,” a feature that instantly throws you back onto the course if you accidentally crash. Do this quickly enough after making a mistake and you can still compete in a race, even if you really screwed up. It’s almost always faster to do this than manually get back onto the track, so practice doing it regularly.

Don’t miss photo ops — As you’re driving around in the open world, you’ll sometimes be given a notification for a nearby “photo op.” These quick missions send you into the wilderness, the city, or the air to take an image of either an animal or a point of interest. They seem superfluous in a racing game, but they offer as many followers as you’d get for completing a street race, and they take a fraction of the time.

Show off with freestyle tricks — Not in the mood to race? If you’re in a plane, a “drifter” car, or nearly any other vehicle, you can gain extra followers by performing stunts. This is easiest to accomplish in a plane, where you’re free to do rolls or other maneuvers, but even just hitting a high speed in a street racer will gain your character extra followers. Freestyle tricks do not earn any cash, however, so you’ll still need to compete in events for that.

Switch vehicles at any time — While you’re exploring The Crew 2, click the right analog stick and you’ll be given the choice to instantly switch to a new vehicle type. If you fly off an enormous jump in a car, you can use this to turn into a plane and fly off into the sunset, or drop down into a boat and race down some raging rapids.

Get the top time in drag races – A little bit later in your journey, you’ll unlock the ridiculously fast drag race events. These task you with shifting gears at the proper time in order to maximize your speed, and at the beginning of each run, you must warm up your engine in order to accelerate out of the gate more quickly. What the game doesn’t do a good job of explaining, however, is that once you’ve warmed up your engine, immediately flooring the gas pedal will hurt your initial speed. Lay off the gas until the run actually begins to post a higher score.

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Gabe Gurwin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Gabe Gurwin has been playing games since 1997, beginning with the N64 and the Super Nintendo. He began his journalism career…
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