The Crew Motorfest races onto PlayStation this September, and recently we were lucky enough to get extensive hands-on time with a PC build of the game. With an expansive Hawaiian archipelago to explore, various racing playlists to drift through, and plenty of sweet new rides to test out, The Crew Motorfest is shaping up to be the expansive arcade racer that PlayStation fans have been waiting for.
We were immediately thrust into the frenetic Motorfest at the beginning of our preview — an island-spanning event that promises to include DualSense gripping races across a wide variety of vehicle types. Our handy in-game guide, Malu, aptly summed up the tone of it all by stating that Motorfest was all about “cars, bikes, rides and good vibes”. The vibes were certainly "good" as we whisked our way through the game’s opening montage-like level, which put us at the wheel of everything from F1 cars to stone cold classics. The comparisons to the Forza Horizon series were immediately apparent — reaffirming our impressions of the game from our first hands-on.
However, compared to our last session with the game, this time we were let loose in the Hawaiian archipelago of O'ahu for close to four hours. From the starting line, it's clear that O'ahu is a much stronger setting than Horizon's latest, and most definitely the best in The Crew's history, acting as a refreshing mix-up over the scaled-back renditions of America. From infamous beaches to the colourful fields, across our time we were still seeing new and exciting locations to race around in.
Even as we moved from one race to the next, it was a delight to just take in the sights and soak up all that majestic scenery. This was aided even more so by the ability to switch between car, boat, and plane — a feature carried over from The Crew 2. It's not quite clear whether these modes of transportation will feature their own races, like in Motorfest's predecessor, but they offer brilliant new perspectives on the setting, as well as a fun new ways to get from point A to B.
Amplifying its backdrop even further is the game's graphical presentation, which makes Motorfest the best looking entry in the series. We of course spent our time with the PC build of the game, however, we can tell that Motorfest will be a looker on consoles, too. We played our preview through game streaming, and it left us yearning for a native experience, with a cool 60 frames-per-second and maybe even some sweet HDR to amplify the visual experience that bit more. The coastal sunset races or the lit up nightlife often made it difficult to keep our eyes on the road, and that vibrancy promised to make it one of the best looking racers on PlayStation come September.
Structurally, The Crew Motorfest is very similar to most other open world racers out there — with a particular emphasis on Forza Horizon, of course. You’ll explore the open roads, coming across events that’ll earn you XP, credits, and parts — which you can then use to upgrade your growing personal collection of cars. We didn’t get to play with other players, but multiplayer will naturally be a big part of the game’s full launch, with the Grand Race and Demolition Royale teasing us with their inclusion on the map. We just have our fingers crossed that joining friends and events like these will be nice and easy.
All of those worries of sameyness or untested multiplayer components fell by the wayside, though, when we were let loose on the open road. Motorfest is pure unadulterated fun, as you rip through sandy beaches, drift around twisty mountain paths, or partake in a bit of off-roading. The controls felt finely tuned and each vehicle unique, and that was with us playing through game streaming! We don’t yet know the extent to which DualSense haptics will be implemented, but we can only imagine that it'll take that driving experience to the next level.
The fun only continued as we ventured into the game’s playlists, which are Motorfest’s five-or-so race events with their own themes and vehicle types. We were given access to the 911 Legacy, Electric Odyssey, Made In Japan, and the Hawaii Scenic Tour playlists. There was a cracking sense of variety to these, in both the cars we were racing and the ways in which the tracks were decorated. The Electric Odyssey in particular was a highlight for us, with the electric vehicles offering a unique and powerful-feeling driving experience. And that individuality continued across all of the playlists, each relying on different racing styles meaning that we were kept on our toes across our entire session.
This appears to be just the tip of the iceberg too, with Motorfest promising to take us on a tour of the various car cultures of the world. And that doesn’t just apply to the playlists that’ll be there from day one. The Crew Motorfest will feature new seasons every four months, with each season being filled with month-long themes. During our preview we were dropped into the middle of a European-themed month, with our particular week focusing on the elegant sports cars. But we could see that the following week would focus on luxury cars, and the week before was all about speed. It’s a nice way to ensure that there is always a reason to drop into Motorfest, and it'll be interesting to see how the game's post-launch support pans out.
All said and done, though, we walked away from The Crew Motorfest incredibly impressed and eagerly awaiting its full release on 14th September. It’s got a supremely diverse collection of content that’ll test your driving skills, and a gorgeous new setting that we’re genuinely looking forward to explore some more. While there are some uncertainties as to how this whole experience will translate onto PS5, PS4 truthfully we feel it will only serve to improve the experience.
More importantly, however, it’ll be great to have a vibrant large scale arcade racer experience on PlayStation that really scratches that Forza Horizon itch. It may not be the most original take on the open world racer formula, but The Crew Motorfest knows how to have a good time, and that’s all we really need from it.
Thanks to Ubisoft for giving us access to The Crew Motorfest. Are you looking forward to this Forza Horizon competitor? Rev up your engines in the comments below.