Ubisoft is at it again, and this time, they’ve thrown a complete curveball in its arcade racing genre with the latest release of The Crew Motorfest. It’s like they took the script from the previous installments of their hit-and-miss The Crew series and tossed it out of the window. But here is the real kicker: you might be pleasantly surprised. From the get-go, the game is reminiscent of Forza Horizon 5, and that’s no understatement. But boy, does the ride feel exhilarating and breathtaking at times. And if you are a die-hard fan of the open-world racing genre and have been yearning for a fresh release since FH5 in 2021, well then, Motorfest has zoomed onto the scene. After playing The Crew Motorfest for a week, here is a review of what we think about it and if it’s the rival Forza has been waiting for at the start of the line.
The Crew Motorfest Review
Right off the bat, you will realize that The Crew Motorfest is a breed apart from its previous counterparts in the Ivory Tower’s revolutionary arcade driving series. Nevertheless, none of the previous Crew iterations have followed the same rulebook twice and were very contrasting. The first entry, The Crew, took you through a campaign story with you infiltrating a criminal ring by completing races and defeating different rivals in events. The second, aptly named The Crew 2, focused on your character becoming a racing legend in the United States. And what does The Crew Motorfest do differently than these two? Well put, everything you can imagine.
“It’s a Motorfest Branded, Lovingly Crafted Car Culture Celebration.”
The Crew Motorfest welcomes players to a themed festival in majestic Hawaii, more specifically on the island of O’ahu in the campaign. Sounds familiar? Well, it might be the similar trope we got to experience in the 2021 edition of Forza, featuring the gameplay around the scaled-down version of Mexico. But I would say what Motorfest does is it tries to cater to players with an unapologetic car fest experience, with breathtaking visuals and at times, exhilarating events. It surely leans its inspiration more from Forza Horizon 5 than its siblings, but it does this while setting its ground.
In the campaign, players will come across different Playlists centered around different themes and dealing with various events and races. Each playlist has its unique ability to woe car aficionados, with most focused on different cars for each race and event. While some even feature specific car manufacturers altogether. I enjoyed playing the carefully curated “911 Legacy A Porsche Story” playlist. Driving those beautiful and legendary 911s around the landscapes of Hawaii made the petrolhead in me focus everything on my screen. Although with around 15 playlists, you will find some barely on par with everything, which can make the campaign a bit dull. It’s not a genre-defining experience, but it’s one that you can truly get behind.
“There’s No Better Place to Express Yourself and Show Off Your Flair Than in Hawaii.”
If you expect a colossal map much like The Crew or The Crew 2, you are in for a surprise. The backdrop of O’ahu is much smaller and compact than the entire USA setting The Crew Motorfest’s predecessor boasts around. But this time, Ubisoft Ivory Tower has made an audacious decision to go deeper than wider. Instead of stretching its map indefinitely, they’ve focused more on the attention to detail part, creating a backdrop that’s not just beautiful but also breathtaking at times. The lighting does most of the parlor tricks and is exceptional.
The graphics and colors set the game apart from the rest. Although other than Hawaii’s actual environment and setting, you will find the map duller. There is the occasional traffic that you might slam into, mistaking it for the so-called AI racers the game handles. But other than that, the map is pretty dull, with people only being around to cheer you in the events and races.
“With These Cars, It’s Not Just About the Looks or the Nostalgia; It’s the Way They Drive.”
There are around 600 vehicles, including planes and boats, that you will experience in The Crew Motorfest. And let me tell you, every beauty on that roster is heavily detailed and a sight to behold. And boy, oh boy, do they sound good. “Like music to a Petrolhead’s ears.” However, it feels slightly less considered that the roster doesn’t include just the cars. Nevertheless, driving around in them on the asphalt or even offroad, if that’s your thing, feels quite good. And given that few playlists focus on planes and boats, you will drive them most of the time. The handling is much more improved and efficient with any mode you choose.
Switching to a car from a plane in mid-air, no matter when you are in the altitude, the game slams it neatly on the ground with bare minimum scratches. For instance, the same is true with the damage caused by interacting with elements like brick walls or poles. This is just a scratch. Besides that, the game physics is on point and can even surprise you at moments. The character rotates the steering wheel as required to even tassels of your hoodie affected by gravity while doing a barrel roll in a plane.
If you ask my opinion, The Crew Motorfest is a welcoming entry to the open-world racing genre. The latest entry in The Crew series has seen various improvements and even one-ups its predecessors most of the time. However, there is some room for improvement. For instance, since the cars you purchase in-game are mostly used for traversing from one point to another and rarely used in actual events, the value of the extensive roster feels less. The AI racers can be annoying, and the car physics can sometimes be zany. Seeing how Ubisoft rolls out updates post-release for events, challenges, and even vehicle rosters will be interesting.
But keeping these minimal things aside and though it tries to be like Forza too hard, it’s safe to say it will take the checkered flag for the second place. Not to mention, PlayStation users will finally get an open-world racing game much like Forza Horizon 5. I call that a win-win.
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