The Crew Motorfest – Review

Racing to the Finish Line Through O'ahu

The Crew Motorfest - Review
Release Date
September 11, 2023
Ivory Tower
PS5, PS4, PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One
Reviewed on
Review copy provided by

The Crew Motorfest, the latest installment in Ubisoft’s The Crew franchise, arrives with a mixed legacy. The series has faced challenges in the past, striving to nail the perfect open-world racing experience. The Crew 2, its predecessor, initially faced a lukewarm response but gradually transformed into an enjoyable racer thanks to numerous patches and post-launch content updates. With The Crew Motorfest, the expectations were high, hoping to finally deliver on the franchise’s potential. While it makes significant strides in several aspects, it also takes some puzzling steps backward.

In The Crew Motorfest, players find themselves on the stunning Hawaiian island of O’ahu, surrounded by idyllic beaches and lush landscapes. The game focuses on a range of events, broken into 15 playlists, each featuring seven to ten unique challenges. These events span various scenarios, from racing specific cars to navigating using postcard clues. 

The narrative aspect of the game is notably thin, adhering to the franchise’s tradition of placing gameplay at the forefront. The absence of a convoluted plot means that players can immediately engage in the heart-pounding races and challenges that the game has to offer. The game allows players to dive right into the racing action without the need for intricate backstory or character development. The open-world setting of O’ahu allows for exploration and the discovery of thrilling events and experiences without being tethered to a rigid storyline. However, I can’t help but think that the absence of a strong narrative represents untapped potential. While The Crew franchise isn’t known for its storytelling prowess, a well-crafted narrative could have added depth and immersion to the game.

The event challenges in The Crew Motorfest are a central aspect of the game. These challenges break away from the typical racing game formula, offering unique and memorable scenarios. From racing specific cars to following clues on postcards to reach your destination, the effort put into creating distinctive events adds variety to the gameplay.

But despite the engaging event challenges, the side content in The Crew Motorfest lacks depth. Speed traps and minor challenges offer small rewards, but they don’t provide enough incentive for me to actively seek them out. The side content fails to capture my attention and feels like a missed opportunity to add more layers to the game.

One of the notable drawbacks is the game’s decision to force players to use specific cars in the initial runs of events. This choice is frustrating, as it means I can’t utilize my own vehicles for these races. This approach feels like a step backward from The Crew 2, which understood the importance of allowing players to use their customized vehicles.

The inclusion of the parts system, where players are rewarded with parts after races to enhance their car’s stats, feels disconnected from the forced car usage in events. This is a big disconnect in the overall progression system. While I can use my cars in the open world, the inability to do so in events undermines a fundamental aspect of the racing game experience.

On the other hand, the game excels in map design and visuals. The Hawaiian island of O’ahu is a breathtaking backdrop for the racing action, with its stunning beaches, lush greenery, and vibrant colors. Navigating this meticulously crafted world is a visual treat. However, it’s disappointing that the open world feels somewhat lifeless, lacking pedestrians and wildlife, and featuring ghost cars representing players from other instances. In terms of music and audio, the game doesn’t particularly stand out, providing a typical background score that complements the racing experience without being particularly memorable.

On the performance front, The Crew Motorfest generally runs smoothly, with no major issues or bugs reported. Perhaps one of the most critical drawbacks is the handling and controls of vehicles, which can be imprecise and unsatisfying. Cars tend to feel overly floaty, whether with assists on or off, impacting the driving experience. Given that driving is the core element of a racing game, these control issues present a significant problem.

The Crew Motorfest is a game that teeters on the edge of greatness but ultimately falls short due to a series of questionable design choices. While it offers stunning visuals, creative event challenges, and an engaging open-world setting, it’s marred by forced car usage, disconnected progression systems, and a lack of meaningful side content.

Among other open-world racing games, The Crew Motorfest competes with heavyweights like Forza Horizon 5, and while it has its moments of fun, it struggles to measure up. It’s a decent racing game if you can overlook its flaws, but a disappointment if you can’t. The potential for greatness is there, but it remains unrealized, leaving room for improvement in future updates or sequels.

The Crew Motorfest - Review
The Crew Motorfest
Score Definition
We tell you, it’s a good game! It’s not average! It might have some problems here and there, but you must admit it is a “Good” game.
Stunning visuals
Unique event challenges
Narrative allows players to dive right into heart-pounding races and challenges.
Disconnected progression system
Lack of meaningful side content
Forced car usage in events restricts players from using their own vehicles, undermining customization.