The Crew Motorfest Review

Richard Walker

There's no escaping it. The Crew Motorfest is a lot like Forza Horizon. So much so, that Ubisoft and developer Ivory Tower don't really make that much of an attempt to hide it. From the very get-go, your intro to Motorfest takes you through the various racing disciplines available to you across its expansive Hawaiian island, before giving you a choice of 'Playlists' to tackle. These run the gamut from racing cars modded by Japanese modding legends Liberty Walk, to drift races, nostalgic vintage car events, and even chilled-out sightseeing tours that take in Hawaii's natural wonders, in which winning matters not one jot. That latter Playlist alone is pretty novel, as is the game's more compact setting. This isn't the whole of the US squashed down, as in The Crew and its sequel, but it's all good stuff, nonetheless.


Actually, Motorfest's relatively modest size is all for the better, as before long you'll be recognising familiar landmarks and taking in the sights, while working your way through each Playlist in whatever order you see fit. Tooling around in Freedrive is good fun, too, with various 'Feats' dotted around the map like speed traps, slalom routes, and bits where you have to fly through hoops. Yes, like The Crew 2 you can still take to the skies in a plane, or leap into the water as a boat, all with a click of the right stick and the push of a button using Motorfest's 'Fast Fav' ability.

Developer Ivory Tower has brought across all of the stuff that worked in The Crew 2 and built upon it, and the result is a game that feels more assured, focused solely on being fun. And while we could have done without the Forza Horizon-style hipster douchebags introducing the festivities, there's a surfeit of genuinely exciting open-world racing here, and a wealth of variety. Often, you can be taken aback by a real surprise, like an event that homages the 1980s from behind the wheel of an '82 Pontiac Firebird, tearing through a pitch-black misty night as a raw piece of synth music by John Carpenter plays over the radio. Yes, that John Carpenterdirector of The Thing, Escape From New York, Halloween, etc.

With such a diverse soundtrack, it's a shame that Ivory Tower felt the need to have characters chatting incessantly during races, offering up unsolicited history lessons about this and that, or a piece of info about the car you're driving. Or simply a string of inconsequential blather. It's the unwanted pineapple on Motorfest's Hawaiian pizza. Still, you can always turn the voices down, if it really bothers you, and who knows, you might even learn something interesting, should you choose to listen in.


Rampant chatter aside, The Crew Motorfest excels in offering unbridled freedom, the beauty part being the ability to go from car to plane to boat, and back again. Pause the game, and there's an Activities menu to leaf through, enabling you to pinpoint your next series of events, whether you opt to rag around a bunch of Ford Mustangs in the American Muscle Playlist or celebrate the hallowed Porsche 911 in another. Or maybe you'll go off-roading, drifting, boat racing, motorbiking, or climb into the cockpit of an open-wheel racing car? If you've got the requisite currency, you can buy the vehicle required and jump right in, or, in some cases, the game will loan you a vehicle.

Like Forza Horizon, there's also an AI (named CARA) who serves as your guide across the island, so you can easily set waypoints or revisit events you've already completed. Each Playlist adds new Feats and Collectibles to the map, if you fancy voyaging off-piste to explore. Everything you do in The Crew Motorfest feeds into its own progress bar, too, so nothing feels superfluous – each time you level up, you'll unlock a reward, whether it's an item of clothing for your avatar, parts for upgrading your garage-full of vehicles, or a nice lump of cold hard cash.

Accessible handling makes drifting and powersliding around curves a breeze, while making unfettered exploration of the game's exotic island setting an utter joy. Undoubtedly, this is Ivory Tower and Ubisoft's best Crew game yet, eclipsing the previous two with a bright and breezy location, and an impressive diversity of events. Of course, aping Forza Horizon doesn't exactly do The Crew Motorfest any harm, either, enabling you to veer off-road and smash through walls and other barriers, all while hitting the nitro booster.


When you're not racing, you can also engage in PvP Demolition Royale events, attempting to smash rival teams to pieces, earning the chance to temporarily transform into a monster truck and crush the competition, as the arena boundaries close in. At the Car Meet, meanwhile, you can visit the Custom Show and vote for your favourite custom vehicle, or register your own to take part; while Grand Races offer longer routes to conquer, switching between three different vehicles along the way to mix things up.

Chuck in Summit Events and the ability to rewind when you make a mistake, and The Crew Motorfest emerges as a wonderfully accomplished open world racer, with over 600 vehicles to collect (including rides imported across from The Crew 2), a gorgeous, detailed expanse to explore that's big but not overwhelmingly huge, and a smattering of its own neat ideas. With the ability to 'Fast Fav' from car to plane and boat returning from The Crew 2, Motorfest also preserves the series' identity, even if it does liberally cherry-pick a few things from elsewhere.

The Crew Motorfest

One part MotorStorm, one part Forza Horizon, The Crew Motorfest is a hugely accomplished open world racing game that brings across the best of The Crew 2, while sprinkling in a few neat ideas of its own. Also, the returning on-the-fly car, plane, and boat switching is enormously welcome.

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A nice selection of tunes to race along to, some lovely engine noises, and some unnecessary blather. Decent, overall.


Motorfest's rendition of Hawaii is vibrant and inviting, while its glut of different vehicles are rendered in startling detail. Excellent.


Handling that leans more towards immediate arcade-style gratification, The Crew Motorfest offers enjoyable open world racing action aplenty.


Polished and well-presented, The Crew Motorfest is also stuffed to the gills with activities, events, collectibles, and a diverse selection of vehicles.


Take note racing game developers - this is how you do a trophy list. There's a perfect mix of progression-based and creative tasks here. Great stuff.

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