A shot of cars racing past a bunch of crowds behind barriers with a big double air loop road in the background in a slanted M shape.
Image credit: Ubisoft Ivory Tower

The Crew Motorfest: Our First Impressions

From 21-23 July, we had access to the closed beta of The Crew Motorfest. Here are our first impressions of the game ahead of its September release.


Open world driving games may not be to everyone’s taste, but if a good one comes along once in a while, it’s worth a try. Until now, The Crew series of games has had two instalments; the first released in 2014 and the second in 2018. In both games, players raced across the United States in multiple motoring disciplines.

The Crew Motorfest is the latest in the series, and it shares a lot in common with its predecessor The Crew 2. But, in a big shakeup, the game no longer takes place in mainland USA, instead being limited entirely to the O’ahu Island in Hawaii.

With the closed beta available to us, we had the chance to play the game and there are a few elements worth mentioning. Here are our first impressions on The Crew Motorfest.

Focused but Varied

Elements from The Crew 2 carry over into Motorfest, with an all encompassing motorsport event surrounding it. The Live Xtrem Series in The Crew 2 moves aside for the titular Motorfest, so how does Motorfest evolve from the Live Xtrem Series?

In terms of quantity, Motorfest seems to be – from our limited time playing – a bit of a downgrade. But what it has over the Live Xtrem Series is a much more focused experience. There are playlists themed around a certain motoring sub-culture, and you’re tasked with competing in a bunch of races, finishing top three in them for the most part.

A man in a shirt and shorts admiring an 80s era Porsche 911 in front of a 911 logo and crates.
For many playlists, you’re given an appropriate car to race with. Image credit: Ubisoft Ivory Tower

The playlists offer an interesting set of races in different cars, and we completed the Porsche one. There, we had to go head-to-head for a free Porsche Carrera 4S. The races were pretty tricky, with the AI knowing all the shortcuts and how to get the momentum out of corners, but we got the results needed.

Our limited time playing the game was enough to show that there would always be something to do.

Wheel Control

We theorised that with the smaller scale of Motorfest, cars would be the central focus. But when we loaded up the beta, the vehicles that I had in The Crew 2 were automatically transferred over.

This meant there was the full selection of not only cars, but boats, planes and even motorcycles. Which posed a unique question for us, with a Fanatec GT DD Pro and a Clubsport Formula V2 rim, how would these other types of vehicle handle? The game is wheel compatible, but is it any good?

Gameplay of The Crew Motorfest using Formula cars.
In the Motorsports Playlist, tyre wear and strategy always factors in. Image credit: Ubisoft Ivory Tower

So, how good is it on a wheel? In short, quite! Starting with the cars, the force feedback was very enjoyable. Of course, it’s no advanced racing sim, the handling model leans more towards game controllers over powerful racing wheels. But for what it is, the force feedback on The Crew Motorfest is really good. For the wheel we used, it’s weighted very well in flowing corners.

But what about in other vehicles? Believe it or not, we were able to control the planes, boats and motorcycles with a wheel. The directional control stick on the right of the wheel, when pushed down and up, would make the plane gain and lose altitude. This probably means Logitech wheel users can’t do it, since they don’t have an equivalent button.

Even though wheel gameplay possible on the PS5 version of the game that we played, it’s a good idea to have the game controller ready to use when driving anything other than cars.

Three panel of lights before and after. The left displaying all three lit up brightly in blue, the right displaying only the bottom one lit up dimly in red.
Interesting detail. These lights on the Fanatec Clubsport Formula V2 rim lit up in the corresponding colours depending on nitrous usage.

Our Thoughts

In the short time playing The Crew Motorfest, it seems like a rich and rewarding game that any open world driving game enthusiast will be extremely satisfied with. The handling model still requires some work, the cars feel very vague and heavy in some corners, and the AI are almost too difficult to beat coming out of corners.

Nevertheless, we enjoyed The Crew Motorfest‘s closed beta and eagerly await its launch on 14 September (or 11 September for players who pre-order the Gold or Ultimate Edition). The game will be available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S and PC.

If you missed out on playing The Crew Motorfest, watch back René’s stream playing the game for the first time.

What did you think of The Crew Motorfest beta? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!

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