Having been in this last beta I can safely say that the driving is massively improved. It keeps the very smooth steering from the first game but how the cars respond is a lot more natural and predictable.
A massive problem with the first game was having a hard time returning to drive straight. That has been completely fixed. Weight shifting plays more of a role now too, with certain cars ending up with liftoff oversteer and some understeer when accelerating.
We can now change assists per class (and per-vehicle fine tuning like NFS Underground 2 in the final game it seems) to tweak the driving closer to your liking, with sliders rather than on/off if you're really picky about it. With the way I drive some of my cars felt quite wild when assists were turned down.
Getting performance parts, as far as the beta goes, is a lot less grindy than before. In the first game you quickly approached top performance and then the collection process slowed down to a crawl when trying to get those final parts. This time around it's a snowball effect, starting off quite slow and as you put higher level parts on the car you're more likely to get equal or better parts. And parts are shared between vehicles of the same type which further decreases the need to mindlessly grind. Stock up on high level parts so when you buy a new car you can bring it up to par right away, very nice.
The trade off to getting perf parts is limited storage, with 15 slots per part. I dont know if equipped parts count towards that limit, but being able to have 15 cars maxed out per class still sounds plenty enough. Considering the classes are split up into a similar number of groups as we saw in the first game I think that's more than enough for building your arsenal
Part rarity now works differently with higher rarities holding multiple stat bonuses per part. In the beta we got common (green), rare (blue) and epic (purple/pink), with rare giving 1 bonus and epic giving 2 bonuses. There are a lot more types of stat bonuses than just plain braking, accel etc. Now you have things like less speed lost over bumps, faster nitro regen, extra nitro regen when doing a certain action, better loot, more loot, higher money rewards, higher XP (fans) rewards and more so you can outfit the vehicle with bonuses that complement your playstyle.
Side note about exploits. In the first game you could go a lot faster if you used "wheel" controls, even on a controller. Now it's not much of a problem anymore though it seems like Drag cars still benefit a lot from using a wheel. Personally I can look past that as I most likely wont race Drag cars much.
Played the beta too, a fantastic game in all areas except most important : driving. Actually i think its not driving that i dont like, its the camera movement maybe? dont know. Will definitelly buy it on sale first chance i get.
I loved the first one especially after the physics and graphics upgrade that came with the wild run expansion.
The new one has an even better driving physics model and is vastly superior to any arcade racer besides gta in the last 8-10 years and is definitely better than anything Ghost Games has made on frostbite 3.
The graphics on the surface look ok but the LOD draw distance is quite bad
The "story" is worse than anything in the most modern NFS games. As cringy as they were the crew 2's voice acting is literally garbage. The delivery is script reading flat. The player and character models look and animate like an early last gen title and show no emotion.
You should try wreckfest Ryan. Best arcade physics and feeling ever. Very similar to gta but with better weight and RWD behaviour. Only get it on sale tho (i would recommend 10 euros at most) cause it lacks content and player base.
I played The Crew 2 beta last weekend and enjoyed it reasonably well. I like how GTA works and would like it a little more like that. Free up the camera so I can do more sightseeing and set up the car, boat and planes controls so you can configure them separately.