The Crew Motorfest review — Beautiful but empty

It’s been about 5 years since The Crew 2 released, but now Ubisoft Ivory Tower is back again with their latest entry in the series: The Crew Motorfest. This festival focused racing game has you take on the Hawaiian island of Oahu to partake in events that car fans could only dream of. While many people will probably compare Motorfest to Playground Games’ Forza Horizon titles, I couldn’t help but think of Ubisoft’s own Rider’s Republic, but for cars.

At its core, The Crew Motorfest is an open-world racing game that combines elements of arcade and simulation racing. Unfortunately, this game is an online-only experience, even if you plan to play it solely in single player. You drive freely across the gorgeous Hawaiiwan island to participate in races at various locations whilst taking on spontaneous side activities and challenges. It is a bit of a shame that the overall open-world feels extremely empty, as there’s barely any regular AI cars driving on the road and absolutely 0 pedestrians or humans going about their days. Driving across an abandoned beach with umbrellas in the sand, laid down towels, and lawn chairs feels jarring and almost apocalyptic.

The gameplay progression is mostly open-ended as you can tackle whatever races you want to, but the game does offer a variety of curated playlists for you to get your hands dirty first. Think of playlists as themed events revolving around a selection of different cars. You got the Made in Japan playlist, which features decked out Japanese cars in neon-lit racing streets, or a playlist that specifically pays homage to the Ford Mustang line of muscle cars. What’s even better is that completing a playlist entirely rewards you with a brand new car. The part that was a bit puzzling for me is that some playlists are locked behind purchasing a particular vehicle, but partaking in any playlist event forces you to use a loaned vehicle in the actual race. It seems that most of the time, the cars you purchase are mostly used for just traversing the open-world.

Aside from the aforementioned playlists, Motorfest also offers exhilarating multiplayer content. These include modes such as the 32 player Demolition Royale that has you smashing cars in an interesting take on the battle royale formula, the 28 player Grand Race that pits you against other players in a classic race, as well as the Custom Show where you can boast your creativity. It’s a shame that the game doesn’t offer classic private lobbies for custom races that you might want to have with your buddies. You can, however, set up your own crew of 4 players to take on the aforementioned online events together.

Progression is made in the form of earning cash and loot-based upgrades for your vehicles. Completing three playlists also unlocks the Main Stage, which is an ever-changing themed event that focuses on both solo and pvp content to unlock exclusive rewards and upgrades. Experience earned during events levels up your overall account, with custom parts and money awarded to you during various milestones. Since this is a live service game, expect Ubisoft to feature new cars and events as each new season is introduced.

Now I’m not a race car expert, but I am a huge enthusiast of all things cars. For the most part, controls in The Crew Motorfest feel smooth. Whether you’re tearing down the open highways or navigating challenging off-road terrains, the controls are intuitive, responsive, and highly enjoyable. You don’t have to worry about damaging or dinging your car because this is not a hardcore realistic racing simulator. The game’s driving mechanics strike an excellent balance between realism and accessibility. What’s included is a game changing “rewind” mechanic that turns back time in case you mess up a turn or crash into a building during a race.

While cars are the main focus of the game, Motorfest also features additional vehicular options, including bikes, ATVs, planes, and boats. This gesture is definitely appreciated and varies up the pace of the game considering you can change between land, sea, and air vehicles on the fly with the push of a button. However, it feels as if Ubisoft didn’t put as much love and care in tuning the actual mechanics of these additional vehicles because the handling and precision on them feel a bit off compared to those of actual cars. That being said, this game has over 600 vehicles at launch, which is impressive to say the least, even if many of them are just different versions of the base vehicle. For example, there’s a drift version, an off-road version, etc of the same car that each need to be unlocked separately.

From the moment you step onto the Hawaiian island of Oahu, it’s evident that Ubisoft has pulled out all the stops to deliver a visually stunning racing experience. The game boasts meticulously detailed car models, breathtaking landscapes, and realistic weather effects that immerse players in a world that’s as close to lifelike as it gets. The attention to detail in the vehicle design and the diverse environments you can explore are truly commendable. Sound design is just as impeccable, with the revving of the engines and the screeching of the tires while drifting. Music choice is appropriate, with old pop rocks and electric tunes. Voice acting leaves much to be desired, and dialogue can get quite cringey at times. I do however appreciate the occasional history lesson voice over during a race when you are driving a particular car.

As much as I love all the content and customization provided in The Crew Motorfest, I can’t help but feel let down by how grindy and drawn out the game is. For starters, fast travel isn’t fully unlocked until you complete a set number of playlists. Until then, you have to drive manually to your race destination. Sure, the drive is scenic and relaxing, but it can take several minutes to even get to your race. What’s worse is that every time you launch the game from scratch, it spawns you in the beginning location on the island, regardless of where you were before you logged off. Race payouts are also extremely stingy and miniscule, so get ready to repeat events several times before you make enough cash to snag yourself a new ride.

It wouldn’t have an Ubisoft game without microtransactions, and The Crew Motorfest is filled to the brim with them. With Crew-Credit packs, you can use real-life money to purchase cars, upgrades, and cosmetics if you don’t want to grind for them in the actual game itself. The game also forces you to look at the shop every time you log in, making it seem like it’s pressuring you to make a purchase. Obviously no microtransactions are actually forced on you, but it is a bit disappointing to see so many of them in a full priced triple-A game.

An avid enthusiast of both tabletop and video games, finding endless joy in exploring different realms of entertainment!



The Crew Motorfest

Review Guidelines

The Crew Motorfest continues the franchise’s legacy of delivering a fun and exhilarating racing experience set in a visually stunning open world. It’s packed full of cars, customization, and content, which is sure to cater to both casual gamers and harcore racing enthusiasts alike. However, it does suffer from some poor design choices and repetitive grindy gameplay that keeps it from achieving the heights of its inspirations.

Henry Viola

Unless otherwise stated, the product in this article was provided for review purposes.

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