The Crew Motorfest Review
The adage “two steps forward, and one step back” has never rung more accurately than it does when applied to The Crew Motorfest. While the latest entry into Ivory Tower and Ubisoft’s “The Crew” franchise submits a better racing experience than its predecessors, it simultaneously abandons the identity from which the franchise was conceived. Returning fans may find a longing for the seemingly endless amount of open road in the previous two games. Though, after spending 30 or so hours with The Crew Motorfest, I can definitively say a competent racer sits beneath its hood.
Gone are the days of being able to race from one end of the United States to the other. And with that, gone are the days of The Crew that you know and love. The Crew Motorfest instead presents a mostly beautiful take on the Hawaiian island of O’ahu. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen O’ahu featured in a racing game – Test Drive Unlimited took us there in 2006. But, without a doubt, it is the most striking version of the island represented in a video game to date. Whether you’re racing through neon-laden streets, offroad tracks drenched in sprawling sunsets, or luscious peaks and valleys, Motorfest looks excellent.
I can’t say I don’t miss the idea of grouping up with several friends to conquer an entire country. One of the big selling points of the previous games was that I could, for example, be ripping through the streets of Los Angeles as a teammate tackles the bright lights of New York City. That large-scale sense of awe doesn’t exist in Motorfest. The good news, however, is that with a more focused approach to the map, the development team created the best-looking Crew title to date. Their version of O’ahu is rich and dense, and I’d be lying if I said I haven’t enjoyed most of my time exploring it.
How to Handle
Regardless of how well the landscapes and cities look, Motorfest wouldn’t be worth the gas money if it didn’t drive well. But, thankfully, it offers the most entertaining driving physics we’ve yet to see from the series. This isn’t a sim racer by any means. And it certainly doesn’t feel as good as Gran Turismo 7. However, you’ll be pleasantly surprised if you’re looking for a fun, casual arcade spin on getting behind the wheel. Each type of racing puts forward a different level of exhilaration, whether drifting down a mountainside, hitting huge jumps over a ravine, or absolutely flooring it during a drag event. There’s a fantastic foundation that’s been built in Motorfest. One that could potentially deliver hours upon hours of fun. It’s just a matter of how realistic you like your racing to feel.
Motorfest, much like Forza Horizon 5, progresses through a series of playlists. Each one of them delivers a flow of the aforementioned events. It’d be a stretch to refer to Motorfest as having a ‘story,’ but finding a racing game with a competent narrative is incredibly rare. What Motorfest does contain is a ton of racing. I appreciate that Motorfest always pushed me forward into another event without ever having to enter a menu or hit the pause button. Upon completing a playlist, another will be suggested for you through the on-screen GPS system, providing a steady stream of action to keep players invested.
It has to be said that the dialogue that plagues these events is every bit as brutal as one would expect from a modern-day racing game. It’s cringey. And tough to listen to at times. Nearly every character that speaks to you has this ridiculous “whoa, bro!” energy that makes me want to put my head through a wall. It’s tough to stomach, and it wasn’t long before I was scouring the menus to turn them off completely.
The Sweet Sounds of the Road
Where Motorfest sounds excellent is in the cars themselves. Engines roar realistically, making me long to go for a drive. Tires kick rocks and peel across the pavement in a way that makes each ride feel alive. Shifting through gears provides an unbelievably satisfying clunk that demands players switch to manual transmission. The soundtrack itself is incredibly hit or miss, but truthfully, the noise of screaming through the open road more than makes up for it.
The sights and sounds displayed throughout The Crew Motorfest aren’t its only selling point. Motorfest is fun. Period. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel and certainly won’t scratch the sim-racing itch you may find yourself with. But, for what it’s trying to achieve, Motorfest mostly nails it. I desperately miss the ability to race across the entirety of the United States. And with a more focused setting, I hoped the narrative might receive more attention than it did. That said, Motorfest may be what you’re looking for if Forza Horizon 5 has overstayed its welcome.
***A PS5 code was provided by the publisher***
- O’ahu is beautiful
- Best handling in the series to date
- Audio is on point
- Weak narrative
- Cringeworthy dialogue
- Lacks identity without the entirety of the USA