6 essential The Crew 2 tips to know before you play

The Crew 2 is your new summer obsession. Blending professional driving simulations with open world mayhem, it’s an unpredictable and liberating road trip across a racing-themed recreation of the grand ol’ USA, and the series has never looked better. With 50 states (and one federal district) to race around in, there’s an absurd amount of tarmac and dirt to cover in The Crew 2, making it easy to miss some of the finer details in Ubisoft’s ambitious sequel. 

How does loot work? Can I play everything in multiplayer? And why on earth does the game want me to be taking pictures of coyotes? We intend to answer all of these questions and more with our following list of tips and pointers, all designed to help you navigate the cities and streets of Uncle Sam’s mother country like a true pro. Here are six essential The Crew 2 tips you need to know before you play.

1. Photo mode is more than a frivolous pastime

It’s basically the law for video games to come packaged with an in-built photo mode in 2018, but Ivory Tower hasn’t just tacked one onto The Crew 2 for the sake of it. While roaming the home of the brave, you’ll often be greeted with pop-ups notifying you that a photo challenge is nearby. 

The task could be as simple as snapping a pic of a nearby coyote, or as tricky as trying to replicate that iconic scene from E.T., but fulfil the criteria, and you’ll net yourself a sizeable sum of money and followers to reward your efforts. You can mess around with the photo mode’s broad range of customisation options to make sure you get just the right frame, too, and all of them are available to view in your gallery menu, like small, digital mementos to your American adventure. 

2. Live track lets you record and replay EVERYTHING

But why just take mere photographs when you can record footage of every second of your exploits in The Crew 2? The in-game Live Track is, literally, a live tracking feed of your movements throughout the USA, providing a clear geographical overview of where you’ve been, what you’ve been up to, and where you’re heading. 

The Live App automatically records the last ten minutes of your session in The Crew 2 at any time, which you can then access and tinker with to create cool highlight reels thanks to the comprehensive video editing software included. It’s easy to share these slickly produced replays with your friends on console, too, just to make sure they all know how proficient you are behind the wheel.  

3. Visiting your home brings its own rewards 

Your nameless, speechless, and frankly rather gormless character actually has their own swanky pad based out in Miami, believe it or not, and you can visit your not-so-humble abode whenever you want to take a break from all that rubber burning in The Crew 2. And it’s not just for show, either. Home is where the heart is, as they say, but it’s also where your vehicle and driver swag is all stored up, making it the only place where you can customise your character with all those newly unlocked fashion statements. 

Similarly, this is where you come to customise your own liveries and stickers for your vehicles, or deck them out in ones made by members of the community. At the very least, home is a nice breather from all the madness of Motornation outside, and it can even be upgraded as you continue to make room for all those new cars you’re purchasing.  

4. Playing with crews increases your win rates

The title kind of gives it away, but crews are kind of a big deal in The Crew 2. You and a party of up to three other friends (or strangers you meet in the shared world) can band together to take part in races as a team, and doing so can result in some rather lucrative rewards for those who play nice with each other. If any of your crew mates wins a race or challenge that you’re partaking in together, all of you win. No catch. No strings attached. 

That means you’ll receive your share of the victor’s spoils even if you’ve come dead last, so long as one your buddy fulfills the activity’s criteria. If there’s four of you playing in a race between 12, then that seriously ups your chances of victory compared to playing alone. It’s the closest video game approximation to a win-win situation, but don’t forget that you can’t play Live Xtrem Series races in co-op, so not every activity can be exploited in this way.

5. Hard mode nets you more loot for every Event

Once you’ve completed one of The Crew 2’s many Events, you’ll be offered the chance to have another pop at it, and this time there’s the choice to compete in normal or hard mode. Hard mode, as you’d expect, ramps up the difficulty (be it with more aggressive AI or a leaner countdown), but the added challenge is balanced by the promise of even greater sums of loot. 

This is good, because The Crew 2 isn’t a particularly hard game in the first place, but playing on Hard mode can seriously up the challenge, so make sure you’ve got a well-upgraded vehicle before taking on the task. In fact, replaying these Events in end-game is a great way to test out your best new rides, which sometimes makes it feel like you’re playing a completely different activity from last time.

6. Don’t forget to pick up your loot

After every completed Event in The Crew 2, a handful of glowing orbs will mysteriously drop from the sky and land in front of you, Destiny 2 style. This is your loot, the rarity-tiered parts you can use to upgrade and enhance any vehicle you own, but they’re easy to miss if you’ve already taken off by the time they appear. 

That’s not advised, as loot is the best way of keeping your favourite cars, boats, and planes competitive in The Crew 2, with the high-tier parts providing concrete bonuses (known as Affixes) like increased Nitro speeds or a chance for better loot drops. If you do manage to leave some loot behind, though, it’s not the end of the world. You can just head over to one of the four HQs found throughout the United States and pick them up in the mailbox (seriously, it’s weirdly similar to Destiny). 

Alex Avard

I'm GamesRadar's Features Writer, which makes me responsible for gracing the internet with as many of my words as possible, including reviews, previews, interviews, and more. Lucky internet!