The Crew Motorfest Preview: Hitting the open road

The Crew Motorfest is shaping up to be this year’s standout racing title. The first entry in the series for five years, the third instalment sees you entering the Motorfest festival on the beautiful island of Oahu.

Ubisoft invited us to get hands-on with the game again, but this time explore the open world of The Crew Motorfest. So just how stunning is the world of The Crew Motorfest? Let’s take a look and find out.

The beautiful island of Oahu

In our last preview, we were limited to just the opening stages of The Crew Motorfest. This time, however, we were let loose across the whole island of Oahu.

The world of The Crew Motorfest is stunning. From sandy beaches to vibrant jungles and volcanic mountains, Oahu has a bit of everything. This combined with freeways that scythe their way across the island and the dense urban environment of Honolulu means there are a multitude of different surfaces to race on in the game.

The Crew Motorfest preview map environment
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Races take place all across the island. In our preview, we ventured from the volcanic summit right the way down to the black sand beaches. We also drifted through the jungles, before ramping over rooftops in the centre of Honolulu. And of course, we raced around the local tracks surrounding the Motorfest Car Meet, the central hub of The Crew Motorfest.

Racing across the island allows you to appreciate both the scale and beauty of Oahu, but The Crew Motorfest looks even more impressive from the air. Planes and boats return in The Crew Motorfest, allowing you to explore the map from more than just the ground. If you have a long drive to your next waypoint, you can once again seamlessly switch to a plane and take a shortcut through the clouds.

So we know that Oahu is the perfect setting for the Motorfest festival, but what can you actually do in The Crew Motorfest?

Playlists aplenty

Our preview gave us access to three main playlists available in The Crew Motorfest. These were Made In Japan, Hawaii Scenic Tour, and 911 Legacy. There was also an electric adventure playlist, but we didn’t get the chance to try that out.

Once we got through the opening cutscenes and races that once again got the adrenaline pumping, we opted to give the Hawaii Scenic Tour a play first. This playlist introduces you to Oahu, with your local guide Keola showing you all the sights and sounds of Hawaii.

The first event sees you racing around a track within the Motorfest site, showing you the grounds of the festival and establishing the Hawaiian culture the game embraces.

The Hawaii Scenic Tour is a great way to learn your way around the island. Each race contains a cutscene showing the locations you’re about to race through, all while Keola tells you the history of the island in his native language. Keola also captures photos of the island’s landmarks as you speed past them, saving them for your collection.

The Crew Motorfest Toyota GR Supra screenshot
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It is a bit contradictory having Keola telling you all about the peacefulness and beauty of the island whilst you’re racing around in a Ford Bronco - especially when you’re crashing through trees and buildings. But at the same time, it’s a clever way to integrate the culture into the game, just like Forza Horizon 5 manages with its story events.

Once we’d got most of the way through this playlist, we switched over to the 911 Legacy. Unlike the scenic tour, this playlist is all about racing history. Each event sees you take the wheel of an iconic Porsche 911 from racing history, including GT3 cars, 911 Turbos, and even Le Mans contenders.

The 911 Legacy playlist encourages clean driving. Every time you hit an opponent, or just clip the barriers beside the track, you’ll lose your clean race bonus. This is an interesting but innovative way to add an extra element to the racing.

The Crew Motorfest Red Bull screenshot
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The 911 Legacy playlist culminates in a race against a Porsche test driver orchestrated by a director of the company. To call this race a challenge would be an understatement, as you thunder through the streets of Honolulu against a seemingly impossible-to-beat foe. The Crew Motorfest can be a real test at times, but fortunately, there’s a system in place to help you when you struggle.

Adjust to island racing

The game recognises if races are too easy or too difficult, and prompts you to raise or lower the difficulty accordingly. We found this a little too sensitive at times, encouraging you to raise the difficulty after winning a race by 20 seconds, only to then suggest lowering it again after finishing fourth in the very next race.

The Crew Motorfest screensshot Ferrari F40
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The Crew Motorfest does have a large gap between difficulty levels, with some races being far too easy whereas others took multiple attempts to complete the required objective. There wasn’t any noticeable rubberbanding during our preview either, with the AI soaring off into the distance every time we hit the barriers or misjudged a corner.

As we’ve already said, the transitions between vehicle types were seamless. When events were spaced miles apart, we simply found a straight piece of tarmac for a runup, then switched to a plane for the journey. Once we were near the waypoint, it was a case of nosediving towards the ground and then switching back to the car before impact. As faultless as the transitions are in The Crew Motorfest, they did still highlight one issue with the game.

Not all plain racing

From what we could tell during our playtime, there’s no way to set default vehicles in The Crew Motorfest. This means every time you switch from one vehicle type to another, you’ll always end up in the same vehicle. Although not a major issue, it is disappointing to buy a new car, just to never see it again unless you select it manually through the pause menu.

The Crew Motorfest screenshot plane flying
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We also found the plane controls to be a little counterintuitive. Normally in aircraft, to steer you roll the plane, but in The Crew Motorfest attempting to roll the plane instead causes it to drift. To actually steer the plane, you have to hold the ‘skill’ button used for barrel rolls.

Of course, these are small issues, but they do require some adjusting or unnecessary trips through the menu to resolve. This is just a preview, however, therefore these kinks could be ironed out before the game is released.

Overall The Crew Motorfest is incredibly fun to play, and we can’t wait to get back to Oahu when the game launches.

Release date

The Crew Motorfest speeds onto PC and console on 14 September, or three days earlier for those who buy either the Gold or Ultimate Editions. You can check out our previous preview here to find out more about The Crew Motorfest’s opening stages.

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