The Crew Motorfest review

by on September 15, 2023
Release Date

September 14th, 2023.


As with any modern open world racer, it feels like the shadow cast by Forza Horizon 5 stretches far and wide, meaning it’s difficult to stand out from the shade of this giant, but the team behind The Crew Motorfest have attempted exactly that and have, in many ways succeeded. But it’s not all shiny chrome and slick black rubber; no, there’s a little rust on the rims and an odd knocking noise that you’ll have to get looked at one day.

In a slight change to the vast, open vistas of previous The Crew titles, the focus has narrowed a touch here, down to a single island, the US state of Hawaii, and what a stunning depiction of Hawaii this is, with many diverse biomes, each offering their own particular vehicular challenges. Tight, angular city corners. Open, sweeping bends. Narrow, winding mountain pathways. Even hurtling across an apex at one hundred miles an hour, you feel as much a part of a high budget travel advert, as much as you do a street racer. With the dynamic day/night cycle and weather systems being particularly impressive, the world simply looks gorgeous.

The Crew Motorfest

The racing works via a playlist system. You choose your themed playlist, be it cross-country racing, classic cars or open-wheel motorsport, and from there, take on race events based around that style in loan cars. It’s a neat way to introduce the myriad race events on offer, even if some are gated behind owning a particular vehicle to get into them in the first place.

There’s no real early game fast travel system (only opening up after completing ten playlists), so initially you’ll spend a fair chunk of time speeding between events on the map, learning the contours of the island and seeing just what’s on offer. Beyond that, the game splits into three avenues of play, each suited to a particular style of racer. Being the human/magpie hybrid that I am, I chose the more relaxed option, pottering around the island, taking in the sights and hoovering up every icon that flashes up on the minimap.

In true Ubisoft style, it’s here that The Crew further excels, catering well to being whatever kind of racer you want it to be. For those just wanting to throw vehicles around at high speed; you can do that. Want to tinker under the hood with gear ratios and dampening settings? Get your hands dirty, and go for it. Photos of classic cars on the beach, that’s on offer too. The game provides the tools to mould the racing experience to your own taste, all styles of which are viable.

The Crew Motorfest

XP earned in races and whilst cruising around these beautiful vistas counts toward your overall level, with custom parts and in-game currency being doled out as you hit each new milestone. This currency can then be spent on new vehicles, cosmetic parts, or clothing for your avatar, ensuring that you look just as unique on-screen, as you are off-screen.

The racing itself is erring more toward an arcade-feel than sim racer, even after turning off driving assists, with oversteer easily corrected and collisions only being a minor inconvenience. It’s here that you’ll notice there’s very little impact, with only minor damage to bodywork after slamming into a wall and an underwhelming, tinny “ding” as you plough into the back of an opponent after a misjudged braking point, it’s certainly an area in need of improvement.

Racing online, you’ll almost certainly hear that “ding” an awful lot, as 24-player races are manic. Jostling for position while nitrous boosting on death-defying mountainside passes (each complete with conspicuously Mario Kart-esque ramps), multiplayer feels fantastic and furious. It’s early days for the online servers but the racing here feels fun, fresh, and very, very fast, with the generous handling model allowing for a much more aggressive style of play than average. With an ever changing roster of race types and vehicles, there’s plenty here to keep coming back for more.

The Crew Motorfest

Speaking of vehicles, as per previous The Crew titles, it’s all not just fast cars. There are boats, bikes, and aeroplanes for you to test your mettle against. Whilst offering a change of pace, I’m not convinced by the handling of each of these, feeling more loose and disconnected from the world compared to the grounded nature of four wheels. With over 600 vehicles on offer and a staggering amount of customisation available, there’s sure to be something that you’ll find that suits your own particular taste. Jumping to a favourite is only a quick button press away, with your choice of car, boat, or plane available from the quick select menu.

As expected, your music options are a fairly varied mix from bass heavy house to 60s pop hits, to raucous rock riffage, you’ll find that there’s a genre based radio station that’s the perfect soundtrack to your on-track antics. However, on the voice acting front, the AI GPS system “CARA” can get mildly annoying surprisingly quickly, to the point that after just a couple of hours, I dialled the volume down on this entirely.

The Crew Motorfest offers an alluring alternative to the ultra precise track racing of your Forza Motorsport or Gran Turismo series, embracing the culture and cult of high speed street racing over split second timings and pinpoint accurate racelines. This is the best that the series has felt so far and a more than promising start, with further content promised down the line. The gameplay loop is rewarding, the world looks stunning and the online play feels fantastic.


Nice looking and sounding
Plenty of content to work through
Gameplay can be easily tailored


Handling isn’t fantastic for non-cars
Underwhelming collision sounds and visuals
NPCs can be a little grating at times

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Ubisoft have copied Playground Games’ homework and have made just enough changes, with a few spelling mistakes on the way, to make this a fun, rewarding experience.