Title – The Crew Motorfest
Platforms – PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One , PC
Release Date – September 14, 2023
Developer – Ubisoft Ivory Tower
Publisher – Ubisoft
MSRP – $69.99
ESRB – T for Teen
Disclaimer – This product is being reviewed on the PS5. A review copy was provided by Ubisoft for this review. Gaming Instincts is an Amazon Affiliate and does gain financial benefits if you choose to purchase this product on this page.
The Crew Motorfest is the latest installment in The Crew racing series. With this installment, publisher Ubisoft attempts to go above and beyond in making a racing game tailored to every type of racing fan. The most prominent inclusion is the varied amounts of playlists, which are chock full of content, including PVE and PVP races, timed trials, and several other types of racing content. However, while the game features engaging content, not all of it may be as well crafted as it perhaps should be. Welcome to our review of The Crew Motorfest.
The Concept and Structure
The Crew Motorfest starts off in a cool way by introducing the “MotorFest,” a festival celebrating Motor Sports with an engaging cinematic that seamlessly transitions into playing through each playlist. What’s cool about the game’s intro is that while they’re all races, you don’t need to win them as they mostly serve as showcases for all the playlists, their environments, and several cars featured in the game. This is done as players listen to dialogue explaining each playlist they’re on, while they frantically race to get to the finish line first or take their time trying to learn about the game if they prefer. It also showcases the rewind mechanic, which allows players to rewind any mistake of up to 15 seconds. The mechanic is perhaps my favorite part of the game, and I believe every racing game should have it.
After playing through the introduction, players will then be allowed to create their characters with a very limited number of cosmetics. With the game having a second currency, it won’t be a surprise if players will need to buy more cosmetic items for their characters. After creating their characters, they then choose their cars, and depending on what edition you purchase, that selection may or may not be limited. However, the most annoying part of the customization is how limited character creation is, as players are only given a set amount of faces, hairstyles, and colors for both. You’ll be seeing your character a lot in the game, specifically when not doing preset races, so the lack of options is worth noting.
Players can buy all sorts of cars, bikes, boats, and even planes. This is all done through the game’ nifty and easy to navigate UI and menus. However, it’s also worth noting that getting new vehicles takes a lot of grinding out levels, challenges, and events for money, especially for the better-performing vehicles. But after acquiring each vehicle type, players can then experience all the game has to offer, albeit at varying levels of effectiveness. After getting introduced to each playlist and choosing the first one to explore, you’ll be put into the playlist’s hub world-like environment, an open road where you drive to several designated areas for events, races, challenges, and more. The idea of an open world where you drive around excellent, interactable roads and to specific tasks and events is pretty cool. That is, of course, until you have to drive several kilometers to get to the only race you want to do, and then afterward, drive all the way to the next goal until you unlock fast travel, which you won’t have early on in the game for most areas.
The Gameplay, Racing, and Vehicles
As for the meat and potatoes of the game, the driving and racing, I’d say the experience is comfortably functional. However, sometimes racing can be frustrating depending on what track you’re racing on and what car you own. The first thing I noticed upon starting the game is how really bad the handling is with many cars. This is primarily seen in modern vehicles, including those I bought and selected, making them more frustrating to use. However, this isn’t an issue with other vehicles like boats and planes. Racing with other vehicles like Dirt Bikes and planes was a lot more fun as the handling felt better, and I always prefer driving different types of vehicles as the variety is always exciting. Thankfully, The Crew Motorfest does this well enough.
As mentioned earlier, the game offers several races, events, and challenges. These range from standard themed PVE races and crazy, challenging 26-car PVP races to almost equally difficult-timed trials, speed-themed challenges, and more. My favorite part of the game is the many themed races that give players loaned cars that are either really good, or have really horrible handling. However, these races offer beautiful tracks showing the picturesque parts of playlists like the Beaches of Hawaii, the neon streets of Tokyo, the burning asphalt of F1 tracks, and more. Not only that, but players will also occasionally get dialogue and narration from some disembodied characters in their ears, telling them all about the environments they are speeding through. While I appreciate the information being fed, it’s hard to pay attention when moving frantically on the track to win the race. The feature would have been better used on a tour mode that isn’t a race but just driving through the scenery.
The Visuals and Performance
Speaking of visuals, The Crew MotorFest sports beautiful vistas, lush greenery, vibrant neon lights, crisp reflections, and is incredibly colorful. Sadly, the models aren’t really up to par with the environments, as they are comparatively and noticeably lacking in detail. However, character and object models are much more detailed in Quality Mode, but still not as much as you’d expected from a high-budget game. In terms of performance, the game runs smoothly at a consistent framerate of 60fps, in performance mode. Playing on the PS5 was especially fun, thanks to the Dualsense adaptive triggers and highly immersive vibration functions that almost make you feel like you’re the one driving.
However, I also encountered issues with the game freezing several times despite the background music still playing. It also crashed on one occasion, and I got some very mild framerate dips at the start of the game. Although, as The Crew MotorFest is an online-only game, I am not entirely sure if these issues, aside from the full-blown crash, result from my dodgy internet or just the game being buggy, but it is worth mentioning regardless.
Overall, though not without its fair share of flaws, The Crew Motorfest provides a highly entertaining experience, even for someone who doesn’t play many racing games. But if you are a racing game fan looking for something new, this game might just be for you, provided that you look out for potential performance issues and microtransactions. The Crew Motorfest will be receiving a final verdict of 7.5 out of 10.