The Crew has always been one of those racing sims that does something a little different, whether that’s with the enormous landscape to race across in the first game or the extreme sense of variety offered by the second. With The Crew Motorfest, things have been scaled back a little when compared to its predecessors, but that doesn’t mean that the racing is any less exciting – especially with the game’s festival-like setup and colourful re-creation of the Hawaiian island of O’ahu.

Check out some screenshots down below:

One thing that players might typically associate with The Crew series is a vast open world to explore, but it’s often been guilty of filling it with… well… nothing. It might have been massive, but with just boring old roads to race through and not much in between, it was easy to tire of some of the lengthier instances of driving. The Crew Motorfest fixes that, with O’ahu still offering a chunky area to explore, but one that’s slimmed down to ensure each locale is packed with detail and personality alongside its winding roads. There’s plenty of variety to be found across the island and it’ll take you a fair bit of time to soak in all of the sights, but it never feels like a chore to explore or simply get from point A to B. It’s a really fun setting to race across, and with the likes of beaches, mountain ranges, forests, and city streets to speed through (along with plenty of interesting landmarks), players will be kept enthralled by its wondrous sights.

It’s a good job that O’ahu is so rewarding to explore too, because believe me, there’s PLENTY to do on it. Whilst The Crew Motorfest does have its own little narrative that ties into the racing festival taking place on the island, players are given a lot of freedom to tackle the events it offers in any order they want – all whilst getting distracted by the countless side-activities to be found as you roam the roads. The core racing challenges are broken down into playlists, with each one having its own theme. The ‘Made in Japan’ playlist sees you driving with Japanese cars in street races, for example, whilst the ‘Vintage Garage’ has you racing with classic cars (and without a HUD to fit the old-school vibe). Wanna explore the history of the iconic Porsche 911? The ‘911 Legacy: A Porsche Story’ will be perfect for you. Or do you just want to have some fun? The ‘Donut Media’ playlist is full of charming challenges that easily stand out as some of the most interesting in the game. More playlists unlock as you play (and more are promised to hit via updates in the future), with each offering an exciting set of challenges spanning different event types that bring with them some worthwhile rewards.

The core racing feels great too, with the varying terrains you can race across demanding a different approach from the player. Handling-wise, it took some time getting used to the game’s more arcade-like feel, but everything feels natural after the first hour or so of play. Sure, I still slipped and slid around a lot, but that’s all part of the learning curve. It didn’t take long before I started consistently winning races with ease, so much so that I had to up the difficulty a little. And if you don’t feel too confident? There are plenty of assists you can put in place, whilst the rewind feature allows you to go back in the race a little to fix any drastic crashes that ruin your success. It certainly caters to players of all skill levels, so nothing in the game ever gets too overwhelming.

“It’s just varied, fun, and constantly exciting, with The Crew Motorfest standing out as the party animal of the racing genre.”

You’ll unlock plenty of new cars when progressing through the game, whilst you can also upgrade them with a variety of new parts that can make each feel completely different to use. Admittedly, it can be a little overwhelming, especially with the different perks that they might offer, but with the stats of each vehicle clearly defined, it’s easy enough to work off that alone if you don’t want it to feel too finicky. It always felt great to add a new vehicle to your garage though, with over six-hundred available in total spread across some iconic car manufacturers. Whilst speeding around in a Porsche, Ferrari, BMW, Dodge, DeLorean, or a Jaguar feels slick, I ALWAYS loved my Lambo…

It’s also worth noting that you aren’t just limited to cars in The Crew Motorfest, with bikes, ATVs, boats, and planes all part of the action. Each of these offer a unique change of pace that always gives players something refreshing to do, with the challenges involving planes and boats especially feeling like spectacles that highlight what O’ahu has to offer. It’s just varied, fun, and constantly exciting, with The Crew Motorfest standing out as the party animal of the racing genre. Did I mention that pretty much every car you can drive has nitro? It’s all part of the thrill of the experience.

I’ve got a lot of love for The Crew Motorfest, but there are some things that it does that I didn’t always like. One was the overwhelming HUD – I constantly had notifications popping up alerting me to different tasks I’ve completed, points I’ve earned, or nearby activities I can complete, which were a bit of a distraction when trying to drive around. Whilst it’s nice that there’s so much going on, there were times that I wished it was just a little bit more streamlined, if only to help keep my focus on my main goal when driving across the island. And don’t get me wrong, it’s rare that I’ll resist a nearby photo-op activity when it shows up, but maybe it’d be nicer if the game simply placed a marker on my map as opposed to constantly alerting me to the presence of every little thing around me.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Then there’s also the fact that you’ll see the cars of the other online racers speeding across O’ahu. Whilst these don’t cause any obvious issues for the player (they’re ghost cars do they can’t affect your driving or attempts at events), there are also NPC cars to avoid on the streets that CAN get in your way, and believe me, it’s SO easy to mix the two up. There were so many occasions where I accidentally crashed into an NPC car because I thought it was a ghost, and vice versa, where I’d swerve out of the way of a car only to then realise that it wasn’t an NPC. Sure, sure, it’s obvious when you look at them closely, but when you’re speeding through the streets and focusing on your own vehicle and destination, it’s not always easy to figure out the difference between the two. But hey, maybe it’s just a ‘me’ problem and not one that’s bothering other The Crew Motorfest players so much…

The Crew Motorfest Review

The Crew Motorfest is packed full of thrills, with the varied event types and enthralling island of O’ahu ensuring the racing action is always a lot of fun. Whether speeding through the assortment of events on offer, grabbing a photo-op to show off your ride, or spicing things up by taking to the sea or skies, there’s ALWAYS a good time to be had in the game. The arcade-like driving feels slick too, whilst the fact you can almost always rely on a nitrous boost means you’ll never be stuck behind your rivals for too long.

It does have some issues here and there, with the overwhelming HUD and confusion with ghost vehicles being the most obvious, but they don’t stop The Crew Motorfest from being a great racing experience that takes the series in a very exciting yet effectively streamlined direction.

Developer: Ubisoft Ivory Tower
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC