The Crew: Motorfest

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The Crew: Motorfest (Xbox Series X) – Review

Ubisoft Ivory Tower is back again with the third installment of The Crew series, and with this latest title, The Crew: Motorfest, there is a completely new feel. There is so much content jam-packed into this title. The Crew: Motorfest is based on an absolutely beautiful island O’ahu, the jewel of Hawaii, and home of their capital, Honolulu. The attention to detail put into the environmental aspects and the vehicles is amazing, to say the least. Whether you’re racing around the map, watching other live racers, or drifting down the side of a volcano, the options are endless, and like all racing games, it’s a whole heap of fun.

For all the car lovers out there, this year’s title is proving to be the biggest one yet, with 600+ vehicles to choose from – the most vehicles in any Crew game to date. Being the biggest catalog to date, you will see some new categories and new brands making an appearance, and like always, you can drive cars you could only dream about driving in real life. The developers have not forgotten about their loyal player base either, with the option to import your collection from The Crew 2, though once it’s been done, it’s irreversible, but if you decide not to do it straight away, it can be done later on. When you first boot up the title you have the option of three different vehicles – a 2024 Ford Mustang GT Convertible, a 2019 BMW Z4 M40i, or last but not least, a 2009 Honda S2000 so you can channel your inner Suki from 2 Fast 2 Furious.

If you have a group of friends you want to play the game with, you have the option of starting your own “Crew.” This puts you in races with your friends. You can have four people in your crew, which makes for some fun pushing your friends off the track, but when you are in a crew, the AI seems to become super nasty with how they drive, so most of the time you are worrying about them and not what your mates are doing.

When you are in a crew you’re racing as a team, so it takes away some of the competitive aspects, but everyone is still vying for first place, so you can still compete with your friends. I found a couple of bugs during events, where if you had previously completed them, you would not be asked to join in with your crew to compete in the race again, which was a little disappointing having to sit there while your mates were racing.

The game has something we have seen for years in car games, with challenges like “Near Misses” and “Wrong Lane.” These give you XP so if you are holding that sick drift on the hill, you will be earning XP to level up more and unlock more great content. The drifting was a little snappy for me so I could never link it up and be the next DK, but maybe one day. I spent lots of time in the oncoming traffic so I didn’t have an issue there earning XP and leveling up.

Much like titles such as Forza Horizon, you will find things on your travels called Driving Feats. I managed to keep finding the Slalom ones that were really inconvenient when trying to get to the next race I was currently trying to smash out in a Playlist, and they never seemed to be in the same GPS route. As I mentioned, the first one you might stumble across is Slalom, and this is where there are markers on each side of the road and you need to more or less swerve from one side of the road to the other, hitting the markers on them to get the points. The next feat you will find are Speed Traps, and these become increasingly competitive because you want to have the best speed rolling through them, but again, I always seemed to get them when I was in some slow car like my Cadillac, and I always seemed to hit boost at the wrong time.

If you think you are a bit of a weapon behind the wheel of the boat, you can try the Buoys feat, which has you collecting buoys floating out in the water, which I ended up overshooting and taking more time than needed to complete. Talking about failures, the Low Altitude one you can do whilst flying always ended up with my plane nose-diving into the land below it. It seemed to be easier if you were flying upside down – there were fewer things to take out, and you looked like a badass while doing so.

That is not the only one in the sky you can attempt; there is also Aerobatics where you can show your barrel roll or corkscrew skills in marked stunt areas. Last, but not least, is Bulls Eye which if you think Slalom is hard, you will hate Bulls Eyes. You need to fly around and hit the gates at high speed, and they are narrow and hard to hit. They are all part of Freedrive, so you don’t need to be doing a particular race or playlist in order to do them, and as I said before, you can hit them anytime you want for some XP and money to put toward your next purchase of a vehicle.

The Crew: Motorfest introduces Playlists, with fifteen Playlists dropped from day one launch, and needless to say, the little teaser we got back in the open BETA was nothing compared to the content built into the full release. The Playlists are all tailored-made campaigns and offer a new look into all the different car cultures.

Each playlist begins with a nice video that immerses you into the Playlist before you even put your foot on the accelerator. There is anything from racing Porsche 911s around in the 911 Legacy: A Porsche Story, to rolling around in the 1950s-themed race in a Cadillac with “Rock Around The Clock” blasting as you send it sideways in some mud. Maybe you are more into electric supercars, so you can fly around the track with a Lotus Evija, which sounds absolutely amazing.

There are some brand-specific playlists, like the Liberty Walk one, which introduces you to the customized car culture. The playlists are lots of fun to play, and with the option to fly to the next race in a plane, you can smash through them quite quickly. If you have a competitive side about you, and you want to push the gameplay to the next level, once you have finished the Playlists you can look into the Playlists Challenges. They’re a bunch of challenges related to the playlists, but it’s not as simple as just doing them. Sometimes there are specific cars you need to use, or they’re only available at specific times of the day, but it’s a good way to earn some extra XP and some extra cash so you can blow it on car modifications.

If you finish all the challenges and Playlists, you might find yourself wanting to do them again but with faster or slower cars. You can even tinker with them to make them your own race, which you have the option of doing with Custom Events. If you feel like doing a 15-minute race in the Liberty Walk playlist, using the slowest car you can possibly find, and during a thunderstorm in the middle of the night, you have the option of doing that. It’s also another great way to earn some extra XP and cash, incentivising people to continue playing the game mode.

I’ve never understood the love and want for photography in the games, but when you are scrolling socials, some people are plastering it with all the photography points in games, and I guess with games looking as great as they do these days, you would be silly not to use the in-game mechanics. As a part of the festival taking place in Hawaii, there is a mode called Photo Ops that gives you photography quests located around the island, so you can visit different landmarks and locations, and even snap some awesome photos of your vehicles while doing so. There are plenty of opportunities to take photos of your vehicles, edit them how you want in the game, and then you can put them over the socials.

Whilst cruising around the map your mini-map will sometimes start flashing yellow at you and you’ll wonder why, but you’ll keep cruising. That is until you learn about the treasures hidden around the map that you can unlock, granting random loot and XP from each chest, and helping you to get a higher level than your friends. They have made it easier while cruising with your crew – a wider radius to help find your treasure chest, and it will benefit everyone if you find it, but like the feats, it’s always flashing when I am on a mission to get somewhere to do a particular race. It’s a good little thing if you are killing some time, either exploring or trying to find something to do.

There is a great game mode built into Live Competition, and it’s broken down into four different modes; Grand Race, Demolition Royale, Summit Contest, and Custom Show, and these bring groups of players together for some unhinged fun. Demolition Royale is 32 players divided into 8 crews, which as you can imagine is pure and utter madness. This is further broken down into four different sections; Drop, Loot, Crash, and Survive, so like most Battle Royales, you drop into the map and as soon as you are on the ground, the first thing you want to do is loot and find bonuses to built the ultimate Mad Max rig.

Once you find your opponents, it’s an all-out demolition derby, and your crew wants to be the last ones standing. During play, your “Ultimate” gauge will fill up, and once it does, you can activate something that all I’ll say is overpowered and a whole lot of fun. To fill the Ultimate gauge you can earn medals for things like taking people out or flipping their cars. I didn’t think I would see such a fun little game mode added to the game, but it’s definitely there, and like most Battle Royals, I was out quite quickly.

The next game mode you can explore is “Grand Race,” chaos-filled with 28 players all trying to get first place. You are trying to avoid them and hit checkpoints so you don’t need to turn around, and you can’t learn the tracks because they’re always changing, which is great when you come up against people that no-life games like this, but like all car racing games, anything online is pure and utter chaos, which can be fun at times and annoying at others.

Custom Show surprised me a little, and seeing the creativity from other people on the main stage of the festival reminded me that it’s something I’ll never excel in – I don’t have the creativity skills, but each week there are different themes that you need to follow and then you can enter. The last and biggest mode is “Summit Contest,” a PVE competition broken down into 9 activities around the map that utilizes all the great environmental aspects of the island, and these change weekly, so you will never have nine of the same quests.

So far, there have been three seasons announced for The Crew: Motorfest, with the first being live on release and running until December. Season Two will run from December through February, and Season Three from March to June 2024. Each month there is new content to check out, with Season One being broken down into vehicles and themes from America, Japan, and Europe, with challenges to suit. The best part is that the seasonal content is FREE ACCESS for all players, so there is no paywall to get some extra content in the game.

The audio in these types of games is always the make or break, and in our current age of gaming, the technology available to developers can make the games feel real and immersive, and needless to say, the cars sound absolutely amazing. I’m still yet to find a title that gets the sound of a rotary correct, but it’s close enough. Unfortunately, modifying a car’s exhaust didn’t change the way they sounded, but their stock form was still incredible. While your character doesn’t have any spoken lines, the other NPCs do, and the voice acting really helps to deliver the excitement of the races.

The environmental sounds, such as when you’re sloshing through some mud or hitting water at 200 km/h even sounded realistic, and it really helps to put you in the driver’s seat, and I loved what the developers did with things like the soundtrack. Aside from the music that plays during the Playlists, I don’t think there is anything that would potentially cause issues for Streamers and YouTubers, and it had a really strong EDM feel to it, but there is something awesome about rolling around in the Cadillac and listening to Bill Haley singing Rock around the Clock that makes you feel like a badass. The one complaint I will add for the audio is that when you were racing in the Playlists, there was far too much dialogue from other characters that took away from the race a little.

The gaming community is becoming more and more demanding when it comes to visuals, and developers are starting to see that, really utilizing the power of the current generation of consoles. Racing games have come a long way from the pixelated messes they once were to the beautifully textured and defined cars you see in games today. The developers left no details out on this title, with everything down to the exhaust having movement physics, so every little bump or burst of nitrous will cause it to bounce around, and if you’re playing in first-person, you’ll get to see the needles moving on the cluster.

The attention to detail on the inside of the vehicles looks incredibly authentic, and the technology around 3D photography really helps to capture all the curves on a car, and it has brought the car community well and truly into the gaming world. I remember games like Midnight Club, which back in the day, looked remarkable, but it does not hold up graphically compared to current games.

The amazing graphics did not stop there, with multiple biomes to discover while you are cruising around, all of which look absolutely stunning. Weather added a lot to the environment, in that you could be driving around in the pitch black of the night, or drifting around a mountain during a thunderstorm. It was magical, and being a Crew game, it doesn’t stop at cars, with racers having access to boats and planes, which again, look absolutely stunning.

There are so many familiar brands with a huge catalog of cars you can purchase, though some popular ones are missing, like Subaru, which was upsetting. There’s nothing quite like hitting that blow-off valve in a WRX, but we can’t have it all, unfortunately. The cars all seemed like they were priced smartly with the economy in the game, and once you have purchased them, you can turn them into your own works of art through customisation, changing the look of the vehicles to make them your own, and for those who are graphically gifted, there is even a livery editor, allowing you to make one of a kind vehicles.

The controls were your basic racing controls with you using the Left Analog Stick and the Left and Right Triggers to make the car accelerate, brake, and steer, and spamming “A” once the nitrous tank had filled up. The thing I noticed a bit was you needed to tinker with the settings for the controls a lot to make the car feel how you wanted it to and drifting felt snappy compared to a title like Forza Horizon, where the drifting feels more fluid.

I loved the lower horsepower cars, as you really needed to throw them around to get them to do what you wanted, but the higher-powered cars would kick the ass end out on the corners if you weren’t careful, which was not always wanted, but it is realistic. Drifting was started by braking and accelerating or slapping the handbrake, but as I mentioned before, it didn’t feel fluid at all, instead it felt a little arcade-like, similar to how it works in the Need for Speed games.

The Crew Motofest is jammed full of content and will keep you racing, drifting, or even just cruising for hours on end. Regardless of whether you’re in a car, riding a bike, flying a plane, or even cruising around on the water in a boat, there is lots of content to keep you enthralled for hours on end.

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The Good

  • Amazing Visuals
  • Amazing Audio
  • Great Cars

The Bad

  • Minor Crew Bugs
  • Snappy Drifting

Written by: Hayden Nelson


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