The Crew Motorfest Review

The Crew Motorfest Review

There are enough racing games on the market to satisfy fans. With a mix of arcade games and racing simulations, the offer is impressive and adapts to your preferences. In decades past, there were only a handful of premium games, dominated by big names in development. All this has changed over the last 5-10 years, during which new challengers have been able to carve out a place among the fans. One such franchise is The Crew, which impressed with its first game in 2014 and established itself as a top contender in 2017 with The Crew 2. After a much longer waiting period between the first two games and its third installment, The Crew Motorfest is finally here, so here's our full review.

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While this was a bit of a shock to some fans, if you pay attention to the change in naming convention, it foreshadows the big changes to come in the franchise, at least when it comes to this title. While its predecessor's maps were a scaled-down version of the United States, the latest game features a very scaled-down map of one of the islands of Hawaii, albeit with a few added perks. The game remains open world at its core, with the main change being the festival approach, which seems to be the current trend. There are a lot of changes from its standard template, taking on rivals including Forza Horizon 5 directly with the most overlapping details. As a result, there is no escaping the comparisons between the two games, with The Crew Motorfest bundling its version, with all of its previous strengths, into a more packaged approach. But does it work for the fanbase he previously lured away from Forza and other greats of the past?

What, why, where and how?

As we mentioned in a previous article on the changes, the new game engine used in The Crew Motorfest has allowed the game to move from a DLC to a fully standalone title. Therefore, it is easy to understand that the extension of the game from the United States to Hawaii would fit perfectly into the previous landscape. However, Ubisoft developers Ivory Towers significantly improved the dynamics of the game, which resulted in a conflict with the current engine.

What was intended as a simple DLC has expanded significantly into a title with in-depth locations, mapped similarly to the Hawaiian island of Oʻahu. Although the map is significantly reduced compared to The Crew 2, detail has been pushed to levels comparable to other flagship titles in the gaming industry, down to every house, warehouse, and border (like the fences and walls). I may have never been to the island, but being able to experience it in great detail while driving some of the best cars on the planet makes for a great, free travel experience.

Due to the changes to the original series' drive to the island of Oʻahu, Ivory Towers has also changed the way you experience the world and compete in races. In recent years, the festival approach, found in Motorfest, has been a very common story mode in all titles. This mode has been around for a while and was first popularized by Need for Speed: ProStreet (without the freedom of the open world). I won't say that this element brings added value to The Crew fanbase compared to previous titles, but I have the impression that it is a copy and paste of the approach taken in Forza 5 Immediately, when you first jump into the game, it feels very familiar.

This familiarity extends beyond the festival's story mode. We find many elements of FH5 in the brake lines, map details and much more. The maps look so similar, although one is a similar recreation of Oʻahu and the other is a fictional variant of Mexico. There are jungles and rivers to cross, towns and highways, beaches and even a volcano to navigate around on the left side of the map. Sometimes it's enough to give you goosebumps.

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Where it shines

It's not just the bright reflections of the new game engine on the roads and cars, there are also many new experiences to enjoy in The Crew Motorfest, some from the franchise and others new.

The first and most notable of these is the large range of cars. At launch, there is already an impressive choice of more than 600 vehicles. Players have a well-stocked roster of off-road, racing, and touring cars to travel around Hawaii. These vehicles are unique in terms of feel and sound, allowing the experience to be personalized for each one. Additionally, there is no shortage of improvements and customizations. While the upgrades themselves are very linear for novice users with little commitment offered, there are many more details to unlock in professional mode.

Additionally, the unique handling of each car makes the game feel much more polished than its predecessors. Each car's braking range, handling and shifting are unique. This is also felt in the force feedback on the controllers as you rev ​​the motors before the start of each new race. The level of detail added here gives a great in-hand feel, something you can physically feel in the real world.

But where the vehicles shine is that they are able to cross seas and skies. Not many racing games offer this feature, even after all these years. It may seem trivial, but adding these two “terrains” to the game's dynamics results in considerable changes to the game engines. Each control is equally intuitive and provides excellent value for more advanced users, from buoyancy from boats on the waves to agile maneuvers of planes in the sky. Typically, the transition from flying planes to driving on the road isn't always easy, but The Crew Motorfest continues the franchise's great tradition.

The variety of events is another interesting aspect for drivers. Although many racing games offer four or five different modes, they boil down to racing the next car to the finish line. With The Crew Motorfest, you have a wide range of different drivers and even more impressive circuits to race through. I use the term “tours” lightly, because they are defined roads and landscapes that you can zoom in on. That being said, there is even more originality in this game: many ramps, obstacles and many other things can be found in each race to make them different from each other. While FH5 has seen success with its recent Hot Wheels DLC, this is natively integrated into the core of Motorfest racing.

As mentioned at the start of this segment, there are some lovely reflections to enjoy as you race across the island. The enhanced visuals allow for excellent viewing. It can be seen from the blades of grass to the clouds in the sky and the way you can interact with the map as you zoom in and out. The engine works well enough to pick up different riders and even traffic across the island, so that even when you zoom in to a location on the other end, you can see what's happening at ground level. It’s these little details that struck me the most.

Regardless, it is not without some drawbacks. First of all, while I love lens flair like everyone else, when you're competing with the direction of JJ Abrams' film, maybe it's a step too far. This is especially felt during races at dusk or dawn, when the sun is lower, and you are blinded by these rays which are displayed directly on the screen. This may be realistic compared to the problems we often encounter in the real world, but it's not something you'll appreciate when you're traveling at almost 400 km/hour.

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A new approach for better results?

Motorfest Team Review

Having changed a lot from the rest of The Crew franchise, and leaning into the festival racing approach, comparisons to Playground Games' Forza Horizon 5 are inevitable. At the same time, perhaps this is a head-on comparison that Ivory Towers relies on to showcase its talents. Therefore, by drawing these lines, fans have the opportunity to choose which of the two stands out. Personally, after spending over 200 hours navigating FH5 Mexico's map and knowing where almost everything is, it was a welcome change of scenery and in-hand feeling to fire up the engines in The Crew Motorfest. The latter still has some drawbacks in comparison, but for me, Motorfest wins in this head-to-head.

However, for true fans of the series, this may be one change too many. Yes, it is impressive in what it does well, but it also changes a lot of what made it so charming in the two previous versions. For those still hesitant about purchasing the game, Ubisoft is offering an impressive five hours of racing over the next few days to whet your appetite.

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Review

The Crew Motorfest

PROS

  • Intuitive play for all vehicles
  • Take on the land, sea and sky
  • Superb images
  • An impressive range of vehicles

CONS

  • Does not follow the open world dynamics of its predecessors
  • A feeling too familiar at times

Distribution of comments

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