The Crew Motorfest released on 14 September on PlayStation, Xbox and PC. Can it compete with the likes of Forza Horizon? Here is our review of the brand new open world racing game.
The eagerly-anticipated next instalment in The Crew series is here! The Crew Motorfest sees a big shift in the series, with competitors travelling to O’ahu island in Hawaii. There, they compete across multiple disciplines in the titular Motorfest.
Ubisoft Ivory Tower may have peeked over the shoulders of the Forza Horizon team to copy their homework. But has the racing festival and everything else provided a step up from the mixed bag that was The Crew 2? Here is our The Crew Motorfest review.
Be sure to also check out our own Marvin Miller’s The Crew Motorfest review on our YouTube channel to see the game in action. We have embedded the video for you below!
Something that immediately stands out is the large range of cars and racing available to the player. There is something in here for every motoring fan, and that does not just mean land vehicles like cars and motorcycles, but also air and water vehicles like planes and boats.
Loading up the game, you are thrust into a few introductory races. There is a Japanese street race, an off road dirt race, a closed-circuit open wheel race, a classic car race, and even one with a load of Lamborghini supercars, including the brand new Revuelto.
Once players get access to freemode, they can select one of three cars and also import your collection from The Crew 2. The latter requires you to connect your Ubisoft Connect account.
The action kicks off with a variety of playlists, and at least at the beginning of the game, it does not matter if you do not have the right cars. The player is always allowed to borrow a car that is suitable for each race.
Assuming the player does not have the necessary in-game credits already from pre-ordering one of the special editions, that is no trouble. All of the initial races are done with loaned vehicles. The prices of vehicles in-game compared to the earnings from each race seem rather imbalanced, it must be said. But not having to buy cars for races at first somewhat addresses this issue.
There are a range of different types of events. Drift, Drag and even races with tyre wear, all with different skillsets needed, are present. There is truly something here for everyone – that means not just the cars and races, but also the environment.
Yes, Motorfest has been getting a lot of stick for its map being much smaller than those of previous The Crew games. But what it has lost in terms of quantity, it makes up for in quality and variety.
With The Crew 2‘s handling model generally being regarded as not very enjoyable, there were hopes that Motorfest would be a step up. It is safe to say that very few would have expected it to this degree, though.
On controllers and racing wheels alike, the car handling is infinitely better than previous games. There is a level of realism and weight transfer when navigating corners, not just the full-on arcade full rotation that gets a car around every corner.
Of course, it is no iRacing on the road, but it is surprisingly satisfying. Plenty of players have drawn comparisons to Gran Turismo, although it is still slightly off of GT‘s level. Rotate the wheel too much and cars can break traction in a very exaggerated manner. It is not possible to simply throw cars into corners and expect them to retain the momentum.
The handling model is quite good on tarmac, but with the slippery surfaces like dirt and grass, even in off road vehicles, it is quite tricky. Of course there is more than just cars in the game. Even on a wheel, motorcycles, planes and boats feel very manageable.
No game is perfect, and there are a few areas that let The Crew Motorfest down. Firstly, there seems to be very little nuance to the AI opponents and no way to adjust individual difficulty levels between race types. Only if a player fails to achieve the needed objective, the game gives them the option to lower the difficulty.
But this changes the difficulty across the board, not just in those races. So, if someone who does not do well in drifting has to lower the difficulty, this carries over into a street race and the AI are subsequently way off the pace. This is something that needs rectifying.
The AI in races are quite robust, and will lean on the player’s car in corners occasionally. They are very knowledgeable about shortcuts and how to best keep the momentum over the not-so-grippy surfaces and bumpy kerbs.
We also could not go without noticing the incessant chatter from NPCs. We get it, exposition may be needed, but surely it could be done in a more subtle manner, rather than having all the characters spoon-feeding the player every excruciating detail.
If you remember Luca from GT Café in GT7, the chatter is like that but worse, and you can actually hear the voices. This has become almost a staple of open world driving games as of recent. Whether it be Forza Horizon or Need for Speed, it is essentially like there is a checklist where overly talkative NPCs are just as crucial for the game as the inclusion of cars!
But these gripes are relatively minor in the grand scheme of the game as a whole. It is a solid product and a huge leap forward for The Crew franchise.
The Crew Motorfest may not be ground-breaking, but as far as open world driving games go, it is one of the most enjoyable. The game is vast, varied and probably one of the best in the never-ending void of open world driving games.
With its enormous selection of both vehicles and events, anyone should be able to find a combination that suits their preferences. Racing on two or four wheels, on land, water or in the air – the choice is yours.
Its flaws are minor, but still very much present. The AI are overzealous and the off road driving is very tricky. But the extensive playlists and tasks available should entertain players for hours regardless.
Even hardcore sim racers looking to branch out into the genre can find immense enjoyment with The Crew Motorfest. The game handles surprisingly well on a wheel-and-pedal setup, making it one of the more engaging open world titles for those that prefer not to play on a pad.
The Crew Motorfest is available now on PlayStation 4/5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Amazon Luna and PC via Ubisoft Connect as well as the Epic Games Store.
If you want to try the game for yourself before making a decision, you can do so until September 17th. Until then, the first five hours of The Crew Motorfest are free to try for anyone on any platform the game is released on.
Are you enjoying The Crew Motorfest or do you plan to play it? Let us know on Twitter @OverTake_gg or in the comments below!