Ubisoft’s premier racing franchise, The Crew, typically will get a nasty rap. Developer Ivory Tower had very robust ambitions proper from the beginning grid, offering drivers with an open world approximating your complete United States of America. It is an incredible concept; roam your complete nation from coast to coast together with your buddies, taking over challenges and constructing a various assortment of autos. The Crew 2 doubled down, even offering new methods to get round with boats and planes. For us, nonetheless, the execution was by no means actually ok, with a vapid open world and lacklustre driving. The Crew Motorfest is a special story.
The third entry within the collection is well our favorite, addressing our two largest gripes with earlier entries. For as commendable as it’s to provide gamers a lot acreage to discover, all that house was by no means full of something memorable. Motorfest takes the reverse strategy, shrinking the map right down to Hawaii’s fundamental island, O’ahu, and packing it with character. Although it is nonetheless a sizeable open world, it is so rather more fascinating to drive by means of — stunning coastal roads lead into verdant forests, volcanic seashores, winding mountain trails, and Honolulu’s metropolis streets. It is a improbable setting that serves as a picturesque backdrop to the motion.
Talking of motion, the dealing with mannequin is a big enchancment on The Crew 2. Positively leaning in direction of the arcade half of the spectrum, Motorfest strikes a pleasant steadiness; it is plenty of enjoyable, throwing vehicles round with relative ease, however nonetheless requires you to concentrate and anticipate turns correctly. Essentially the most spectacular factor is the dealing with feels good no matter racing self-discipline. Selection is the order of the day right here, and whether or not it is avenue racing, open-wheel indy vehicles, or off-roading, it is all strong and pleasant. Stable use of DualSense’s haptics and triggers is a pleasant bonus, too.
The one factor we’ll say is on-road driving can really feel a bit slide-happy, typically kicking the again out right into a drift slightly too eagerly. It is by no means too huge a problem, however one thing to pay attention to. Total, driving is rather more entertaining right here, and you’ve got a superb quantity of assists and car-specific tuning to tweak it to your liking. Boat and aircraft dealing with is not fairly on the identical stage, however they’re nonetheless moderately enjoyable to mess with, and add much more selection.
The sport contextualises your highway journey in O’ahu with the titular Motorfest, an island-wide celebration of automotive tradition in all its permutations. A minimum of to start with, your fundamental supply of racing comes from Playlists, which comprise themed occasions specializing in a specific area of interest or model. The 15 Playlists at launch embody Hawaii Scenic Tour, which emphasises the setting with some informal races; Off-Roading Addict, lining up occasions by means of muddy jungles and sandy seashores; and 911 Legacy, celebrating Porsche’s beloved sports activities automotive vary. They act like miniature campaigns, and make the a whole lot of autos and plenty of race sorts properly digestible. Finishing Playlists rewards you with new vehicles and additional challenges to tackle, finally supplying you with a whole lot of issues to do across the island. Which may sound overwhelming, however a beauty of the sport is that all the things is non-obligatory; you possibly can ignore no matter elements do not curiosity you.
There’s heaps to do whereas enjoying solo, however there are additionally some fascinating methods to interact in multiplayer. Clearly you possibly can create or be part of a crew and go for a drive together with your buddies, and a handful of aggressive modes are good enjoyable too. Grand Race is a chaotic, 28-player race that has you hot-swapping between three car lessons on the fly; Demolition Royale is a destruction derby spin on battle royale; and Summit Contest is a weekly problem comprising 9 themed occasions, and also you earn rewards relying on what number of cumulative factors you have got on the finish. Lastly, there’s the Customized Present, in which you’ll be able to submit your decked-out rides for public vote. Surprisingly, there does not look like a approach to simply matchmake for a easy race — at launch, not less than.
The Essential Stage offers a seasonal wrapper for what you are doing, rewarding you with XP, in-game money, and extra as you full Playlists, discover the map, and compete in multiplayer with sure autos. The presentation right here might be fairly complicated with 4 XP bars and a wealth of themed occasions to partake in. It is not the one factor we discovered a little bit of a puzzle at first, both. The wealth of autos is improbable and there is plenty of customisation choices, however you will rapidly be inundated with improve elements that every one have seemingly random additional perks or buffs along with the common stat will increase. Our recommendation is to equip no matter makes your automotive’s stats go up and be finished with it, lest you spend half your time worrying what all of the little icons imply.
The sheer quantity of stuff to do means Motorfest by no means leaves you bored, however typically it goes slightly far to suggest issues to you. In free roam, you will get notifications for challenges you have accomplished or challenges you possibly can tackle, whereas Feats — easy targets like slaloms or pace traps — pepper the island and, in case you’re not paying consideration, can lead you away from the place you have been heading. On high of all the things else, ghosts of different gamers will zoom previous, which might be distracting, and NPCs and your onboard AI assistant are continuously speaking. Sometimes the dialogue is fascinating, including extra context within the Hawaii Scenic Tour Playlist, as an example, however it’s principally superfluous. These presentation decisions might be overbearing at occasions.
It is not all unhealthy, although. The in-game map is a spotlight, permitting you to take a broad view of the island or zoom proper in to see different gamers driving round. Additionally, there are some very nice stylistic modifications made relying on the Playlist you are taking part in. Made in Japan, for instance, coats Honolulu in neon, whereas Classic Storage applies a delicate color filter to provide a extra old-timey really feel. Whereas the visuals aren’t fairly on par with PS5’s best-looking racers, they’re nothing to smell at both, with a vibrant use of color being a power. The body price is a near-constant 60 frames-per-second on efficiency mode, which is our most popular approach to play, however you possibly can swap to decision mode for 4K and 30 frames-per-second if you need.
The Crew Motorfest is the very best within the collection to this point. Whereas some might miss the large US map of previous, O’ahu makes for a way more inviting setting with its tropical vibes and various environments. The dealing with has by no means been higher both, in some way feeling good it doesn’t matter what you are driving. A wealth of issues to see and do is made manageable due to the addictive Playlists, though some presentation choices could make the sport really feel slightly scattershot typically. Even with a few potholes, although, Motorfest is an entertaining drive and, realizing Ubisoft’s monitor file with reside service, will solely get higher over time.