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The Crew: Motorfest - Better Handling, Better Graphics, Smaller Map - Review

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About the Game:

The Crew: Motorfest is the third game in The Crew series; notable for being a grand open-world racing game that had its sequel give us the whole of the United States to play in – you could drive, speed in motorboats, or fly – across a scaled down version of the country. This game takes a smaller approach but its world is more dense as a result; zoning in on Hawaii, in a game complete with Lost references and varying degrees of cultural appropriation. The races here are their own brand of carnage: you can have 20+ cars crashing into each other and the races have a high intensity that can’t really be rivalled elsewhere; be it single-player or online. I played primarily single-player as there’s so much to do – this is a dense, interesting game that lets you explore the traditions of racing history – Porsche, Lamborghini, Japanese street racing, Formula 1, all the labyrinth of racing is touched on in a history 101 that gives you an introduction into this world that’s crafted with love and care. The Crew: Motorfest’s playlists are its main function as a various combination of cultures and vehicles. The Made in Japan playlist sees you learn the history of Japanese street racing and the heavy influence of Donut Media allows for a strong influencer-heavy collaboration that left me; as someone non-existent with that world confused, but it adds to the immersion of the social aspect of the game: the follower-count influence of the second game is toned down but much of the game is built around gaining notoriety, there’s no storyline as such: just the playground of the entire Hawaii to explore. It’s reminiscent of the Forza: Horizon series and is at its best when it comes to allowing itself to explore and do new things – its own brand of chaos is much appreciated as a strong Playstation counterpart it really establishes its own voice.


The car selection gives you plenty of room to play with – there’s 600 cars there; Alfa Romeo and Rolls Royce are not in the game as of yet meaning that the results are somewhat mixed for the enthusiasts, you can tell where the partnerships are there and you can tell where the focus of The Crew: Motorfest lies. It makes up for the game with the boats and the planes; able to change between them at will – and the car customisation allows you to play with these cars at will; even if there’s a sense of familiarity at the start. Those familiar with The Crew 2 will recognise the modding types required to upgrade the car; and they’ll be locked behind key event stages. Undermining this is the fact that The Crew: Motorfest enables you to exchange real cash for Crew Credits and surpass the grinding in seconds; but it leads to a new problem: there’s not much to do with your own personal car collection other than explore Hawaii until the game opens up a bit more and lets you have fun. One downside is that in the initial 600 cars there’s plenty of reskins and not much variety – a significant portion of that 600 are not much different from the same car. There are some places where the open world map is impressively detailed and the little touches like Lost references scattered through the opening credits hark back to the meta knowledge of The Crew, you are given an AI to guide your way to races – Cora, and she can be a bit pushy for those who prefer the feel of the solitary drive – there’s a constant need to hype up the next event, and whilst it fills air; you don’t get the chance to take in that much of the scenery.

 That said; The Crew: Motorfest rivals even the best Forza game in terms of graphics, impressive details across the board. The vastness just isn’t there but whether it’s an improvement or not will depend on what you look to open world racers for: prefer a scaled down approach? Then The Crew: Motorfest will be your bag – but those left harkening for the days of a full-scale journey across the United States will be left wanting. The playlists funnel you into a loaned car which you can use to complete them and you can only really play with a different car through these playlists once you’ve completed them. For those who favour playing with one type of car it’s a setback but one advantage that The Crew: Motorfest has by doing this approach is you get to explore the wide variety of cars that the game has to offer without much grinding required: early on you play as a Lamborghini if you want to, for example - and I found this a much needed change of pace. There’s a much more effort put into the diversity of how the cars drive and feel like this time out as opposed to The Crew 2, the understeering and the oversteering really makes all the difference when you’re going around the corner and the drifting is easy to learn, difficult to master. The weight of the balance of the car is felt and the handling overhaul is almost everywhere and much better for the game – especially when you’re crashing headlong down a winding road on a rainy evening; but you can counter-steer and balance it more easily. Unless of course – you happen to be flying a plane – which hasn’t had the upgrade required. 

 There isn’t much to be done with the boats other than just point theme in the water in the direction where you want go and scream power! – but I found less of a need to use them than before; although the planes got me to places quicker I found myself driving through the dense island of Hawaii more than most – even if it takes only fifteen minutes to drive across the map; as opposed to more than an hour in some cases in the last one. The water physics are still a thrill that said – and everything really has its own strengths. Donut Media, Drifting and Made in Japan are the initial 3 playlists that you get to experience and the chaotic energy of the Donut Media one makes it by far the most appealing; although the nightlife of Made in Japan is a thrill. I found the drifting most formulaic and completely similar to every other racing game in its approach; and the raised structures felt more like a Grand Theft Auto V mode gotten massively out of hand early on. You have the whole island of Hawaii to play through and if you’re in the first hour or so of the game you’re already creating fake megastructures what does that have to say about the map that you’ve chosen? Furthermore, fast travel is locked and you have to wait until a significant development later in the game to play it – 10 playlists later when it should be a basic feature for those wanting to get into a race. 

The grind feels all the more damning when you’re considering the funnelling that the game tries to build you towards its online transactions: the payout for completing races is small, yet it directs you to spend money to get past the grind. Not an issue for me though; as I was able to acknowledge the game for what it was and have a lot of fun with the loaned cars, using my starter car as a way to get between races and nothing more. Once in the races I kept finding myself wanting to return to this game; it had the magnetic appeal to keep me coming back for short bursts of time in increasingly addictive ways. One of the downsides is the restrictive handholding early on in the game: The Crew: Motorfest plays too much of a guiding hand early on; which is a real downside when the arcade physics are too much fun to play with. It’s almost good at getting the balance right – and it’s a step up most of the time from the second game; and feels more controlled – yet there can’t help but be a weakness that draws it back.


The visuals are among the best part of The Crew: Motorfest and the game looks utterly fantastic; one of the best visual open world racers that we’ve ever had. It’s appropriately stunning and in-depth at capturing Hawaii across the board; the slick thrills of driving in the rain match up with the chaos of the weather. Up in the sky the cracks start to appear zoom in on the plane and there’s plenty of shadow popping in, so it’s not quite a constant match; and it doesn’t help that the map itself feels quite lifeless – although the density of the scenery makes it look stunning. There are no people; and light traffic – don’t expect to get caught in a roadblock. Then again, it makes sense given the context of a whole island racing festival: would you stick around to see cars race past whilst staying on the streets? It comes a point where how much logic you want to apply to the world of The Crew: Motorfest and just have fun. The opening festival hub resembles Forza Horizon almost to a T making the comparisons almost inevitable; but The Crew: Motorfest isn’t hiding them – the world is bulked up by AI racers darting through the streets making me think that I’d almost stumbled into online play by mistake and had to double check my mode. Most of the smaller architecture and trees can be whizzed through without collisions making life easier; but there’s the odd roadblock that you’ll encounter when you’ll realise hey, I can’t drive through that. The cars are all incredibly stylised and detailed; and look fantastic. Visual customisation is fantastic – you can change to make something more exciting; colour, side mirrors can be customised in detail. Even the interior of the car can be changed – a rare detail that’s often left out of modern racing games. There are touches of freedom here; just a little too sparse.


The sound of The Crew: Motorfest shines in two aspects; its cars and its soundtrack. The variety of genres on the accompanying music playlist allows for an excellent variety, oldies are accompanied by bands like Amyl and the Sniffers and Royal Blood, both excellent live; I kept returning to them whilst speeding through Hawaii. But the more important thing is the sound of the cars themselves and they sound more realistic than the second Crew, more distinctive – every car sounds, feels different, some more than others, not a direct one-to-one likeness, but the game is an arcade racer after all, some liberties can be taken here.


I mentioned earlier in the visuals that when you’re flying above Hawaii, sometimes the game itself can take a moment to catch up – however, on the PS5 it runs incredibly well and with fast-load times; ability to keep up with the high intensity of the race and accurate response to turning at the touch of the button, The Crew: Motorfest is one of the rarest of its kinds – a largely bug-free experience at launch. There’s no glaring or obvious errors and the performance allows for a smooth, uncontested experience.


The difficulty of the races can be changed; and you can control the handling on the car to ease your ride – I’d recommend being more lenient than normal because this is a game where every touch matters; and you want the full support the game can give you. Subtitles can be largened and enhanced and everything that you’d expect from a triple a racing game is there to improve your experience. Auto steering and autobraking in PvP could be a welcome boost for some; and the open world really gives you the extra oomph to make your game a smoother experience. Furthermore, the rewind feature is a literal life-saver – the ability to turn back time if you make a last minute mistake at the end of a race that you’re winning, you can erase that from history for another go.


There are hours and hours of The Crew: Motorfest to keep you entertained. It may hold your hand at first but there’s the option to return to completed playlists with new cars and explore the open world to your hearts content, yes – not as big as you may want it to be, but there’s a lot to love there all the same – and the races themselves are a really fun experience. I reckon you could comfortably max out the hours spent into this game to your hearts content without ever getting bored of it.


Bogged down by its early game handholding and funnelling towards microtransactions; The Crew: Motorfest makes up for its flaws by how fun the races are to participate on, its greatly improved handling and the sheer fun of an arcade open-world racer. I’d probably wait for a sale before picking this one up rather than rushing out to buy it – but if you liked The Crew 2 and are prepared for more of the same, this one will be right up your street.

Gameplay: 7/10 
Visuals: 8/10 
Sound: 8/10 
Performance: 7/10 
Replayability: 8/10 
Overall: 76/100

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