The Crew Motorfest review | I might say welcome to our Forza Horizon 6 review. The Crew Motorfest is more comparable than ever to Microsoft’s exclusive title. Developer Ivory Towers took a look at what worked so well with Forza’s festival structure and unashamedly copied it. Not only that but personalization, an AI companion and visual artstyles have been adopted. Of course it wouldn’t be the Crew if it didn’t include motorcycles, boats and planes but the real soul of the previous two games was the realistic open world of America. They have abandoned that massive open world feel and gone for a much smaller environment with more unique setpieces and things you would rather expect in a Forza Horizon game.
It’s hard to make the thought exercise of whether we should be happy for that. We already have Forza Horizon and that festival structure is starting to get dated. That The Crew now adopts it is too much of a good thing, it is without a doubt the best Crew game of the three but who knows maybe it would have been even better if they had used the same principles of The Crew and the Crew 2. Regardless, Ubisoft has added a fantastic racer to its portfolio and Ivory Tower can proudly call itself the Playground Studios of “den Aldi”.
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer. Got unanswered questions about this game? Get in touch on Twitter!
What we Liked!
- Playlist campaign | The Crew Motorfest’s campaign is split into playlists. Each playlists has challenges, rewards and obviously races to beat. At one point I was exploring the island with a jeep and a few minutes later the game transformed into a Japanese inspired game with a pink sky and neon lights. One of the things I adore from The Crew Motorfest is that you are forced to drive with different loaner cars. In Forza you improve your favorite cars and stick with it, developer Playground rewards you with a million different cars but you actually drive only a handful of them. Or I should say that’s my personal game experience. In The Crew Motorfest each event has a different car from the massive vehicle roster (over 500) and just like previous The Crew games you will also control boats, motorcycles and planes. There are some cheesy influencer collabs too, for example with Donut. It has some unnecessary gibberish but it was neat to see some visual changes or seeing different videos about car culture. After you finish a playlist you can replay it with a car from your own garage to unlock challenges and earning cash. I really need to emphasize here how hard playlists change the basic game. For example, sometimes pit stops are added, the visuals changed or suddenly you are in a destruction derby. It adds tremendously to the replay value and especially the atmosphere while playing.
- What a beautiful game | One advantage of a (much) smaller map is that Ivory had much more time to give the existing environment more detail. Whether you’re driving in the jungle, on the beach or in a playlist that adjusts the visuals, everything is super nicely done. The lighting in particular stands out in this.It is not on the level of the king Forza Horizon but the Crew Motorfest is certainly one of the nicer games on consoles to watch. During sunsets nothing rivals it… so with your purchase of The Crew, you can take a romantic evening drive to the beach to look at that sunshine. Add a bottle of wine and it’s perfect! The Hawaiian O’ahu is beautiful with dynamic weather and a day-to-night system. A huge difference with The Crew and The Crew 2, if I remember correctly those enormous maps were created by procudural technology. The switch for manually created environments is a huge visual difference that benefits the game in multiple ways.
- Online fun! | The Crew Motorfest goes far beyond online leaderboards, even if that’s still one of my favorite online features. In addition you have Grand Race, a fierce long-distance race with a massive amount of drivers (28). The race track is randomly created and a long the way you will switch vehicles. Another option is Demolition Royale, think a baby between PUBG: Battlegrounds and Carmageddon. This mode has power-ups and you can transform your car into more powerful and defensive cars. The tension is fun as the fighting area gets smaller and smaller. There’s also co-operative play for the main playlist campaigns! It is safe to say that The Crew Motorfest will have a long existence with online players.
- Music | Ivory Tower created a perfect tracklist while driving O’ahu. With bands like The Black Keys, Amyl & The Sniffers or recognisable oldies from Nancy Sinatra and The Trammps. Mixed together with 50+ electronic songs from known and less known artists. The in-game radio station has become an important part for many racing games, I personally start Spotify while playing racing games but I appreciate the efforts in the Crew Motorfest.
- Boats and planes | There are a large number of cars available but I am disappointed by how many boats or planes there are. It seems they thought, damn…. we can’t make it not to put it in. Crew players are too used to it. In general, there are very few events for these vehicles. It is extremely cool to see the beautiful island in the sky, but the planes are tremendously slow. Deliberate I guess, otherwise you would have too many popup and frame drops. These are already noticeable! Regarding the boats. The water is impressive; it reminds me a bit of Kinect Sport. That Rare used for Sea of Thieves. Currents and waves have a great effect for your boat, which makes it all the more unfortunate that they have so few different races.
What we Disliked
- Handling model | I want to point out that I had fun with the driving experience but I disliked the handling model a lot. It doesn’t matter if you are driving an Audi or a Porsche, the handling is largely the same. What annoyed me the most was that cars seem to teleport into a drifting state, it not only controls weird but looks silly too. They clearly went for a hybrid handling, somewhere between simulation and arcade. I thought it required some time to get familiar with the handling but it never clicked for me.
- That annoying starting hub | You are forced to have an online connection at all times while playing, that means no Quick Resume feature for Xbox Series X|S. A huge letdown as racers are a perfect experience to play inbetween other games, I’m not even sure why this needs a constant connection. When you start The Crew Motorfest you are welcomed by a fairly long loading time and one of the worst starting hubs in gaming history, I’m sorry but I just don’t get why they created it. You walk around with an avatar that you can customize, I can live with the silly animations but it is simply wasting my time. This hub area shows lots of different cars that you can give a vote. Why? I honestly don’t know. so I end up skipping it every single time. I want to drive Ubisoft, that’s why I’m playing a racing game. So why does it take so long to get this game started?
- Shut up Cara | It must have started as a joke with a few Ivory devs. Something like accidentally mispronouncing a word and thinking as a joke, we’ll stick it in the game. For some reason the Crew’s AI, called Cara mispronounces words constantly… and frequently. It is as if Data from Star Trek is constantly mistaking words, despite the fact that the technology in him is of unprecedented value. It simply doesn’t make sense why an AI would do that, especially in Cara’s quantity. Did the developer want to add personality? Perhaps… I know a hundred better ways to do that, though.
How long to beat the story | 20 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 50 hours
You’ll love this game if you like these | Forza Horizon – Burnout Paradise
Ivory tower has turned 180 degrees with the concept of The Crew. This is certainly positive but I do miss the uniqueness of the previous two Crew games. Online gameplay stands out but single player racers are also going to have a great time with the Crew Motorfest. You will find me in Grand Race regularly, so be careful not to pass me!
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