The Crew Motorfest – chasing the horizon
The decision to offer a free trial version of The Crew Motorfest lasting 5 hours was actually very good. This gave everyone an opportunity to try not even a demo, but a full-fledged game, and in addition provided a good starting point for multiplayer modes. The only question is how many of those who tried the trial will stay at Motorfest for longer.
|Game||The Crew Motorfest|
|Platforms||Windows, Xbox One / Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4/5|
|Developer||Ubisoft Ivory Tower|
The developers of Forza Horizon from Playground Games have laid a huge pig not only on their fellow competitors, but also on ordinary players. After Horizon, all other arcade races are perceived as incomplete and morally backward. But the A five has already become boring in two years, and we will get the next part only in 2024-25 (I’m betting on 2025). So we need to look for an alternative.
Need for Speed Unbound was frankly disappointing, as if EA was trying to bury the glorious series. Grid Legends is a bit weak and a bit off. The upcoming Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown is a bit uncertain and will be released only in 2024. Well, only The Crew Motorfest, so you should give this game at least a small chance. And a head start, of course, because it’s really hard to compete with Forza Horizon 5.
By the way, The Crew Motorfest is accused of copying Forza Horizon, but… almost every game since it became clear that Playground Games had found the silver bullet has copied Forza Horizon. The Crew started doing it from the second part, that is, from 2018; Need for Speed from Most Wanted, that is, from 2012. And it’s really a question of who copied whom, because the first Forza Horizon and Need for Speed: Most Wanted were released almost simultaneously. And let’s be honest, they both copy the formula found in Test Drive Unlimited (2006).
And the developers of The Crew Motorfest… they are the authors of Test Drive Unlimited, so it’s not copying, but rather a return to the source, and the plagiarist here is actually Playground Games. But that’s just the way it is, successful game mechanics are borrowed all the time in any genre.
Speaking of genres. In fact, Forza Horizon 5 and The Crew Motorfest have different genres. While Forza Horizon 5 is a semi-simulator and can be made almost simulator-like in difficulty if you want (turn off all the help and automation, turn on realistic damage, and you’ll be happy), The Crew Motorfest is a pure arcade game, and even if you push the difficulty all the way up and turn off all the help, you won’t bring it closer to a simulator.
Firstly, it has nitro, which is replenished during the race, and secondly, it is better to drift into the corners and even use bumpers to correct the trajectory.
And the physics of the cars in The Crew Motorfest are far from Forza Horizon 5. At first, it seems that these are not cars at all, but rather boxes on springs that can easily jump over the apex and fit into a new trajectory. Over time, you get used to this interpretation of physics and even start to enjoy it. But still, the cars in Motorfest are more sensitive than those in Forza, more easily skidding, but also stabilizing better. Drifting here is easy, it’s the easiest drifting I’ve ever seen. And this is coming from me, a person who hates drifting.
Actually, the physics in The Crew Motorfest are a little better than in The Crew 2, but for the most part they are the same and, unfortunately, do not give an individual feeling of each car and each installed upgrade, as Forza Horizon manages to do.
But the worst thing here, as in the previous part, is the physics of collisions. Whether with obstacles or bumpers, or with opponents. It seems as if solid steel balls from children’s billiards collided. This is especially annoying during multiplayer competitions, when the first turn turns into a pile of cars.
But, despite all that, The Crew Motorfest is a pleasure to drive, it feels like a speed and a track, and the opponents, although they are readable, still maintain a level of competition. But yes, Forza Horizon 5 is a slightly different level of racing enjoyment and Motorfest doesn’t reach it.
Graphics and the island
In terms of graphics, The Crew Motorfest is inferior to Forza Horizon 5, which looks simply stunning on maximum settings. Motorfest is Forza on medium settings. At times, this game can also look very good, especially when you play in Photo Mode, but in races, especially storyline races, the developers openly abuse heavy Instagram filters, as if to hide the graphics flaws behind them.
In addition, the authors of The Crew Motorfest are clearly drawn to kitsch, all the tracks here are overly decorated with balloons, gates, billboards, flags, lights, illumination, etc. Sometimes it’s just hard to watch. But this applies only to the main races in the playlists, in custom races all these unnecessary decorations can be removed.
As for the island of Oahu, unlike the Test Drive Unlimited series, where the Hawaiian island was transferred to the game on a one-to-one scale, The Crew Motorfest has an island three times smaller than the original in both directions, so the playground area is 9 times smaller – about 200 square kilometers. Therefore, the races around the island, and there are, of course, some of them, last not more than an hour, as in Test Drive Unlimited 1/2, but only 15 minutes.
But in fact, there’s plenty of room to turn around. There are intercity highways, city locations, off-road tracks, mountain serpentines, and even a volcano. Yes, everything is almost the same as in Forza Horizon 5, but Oahu really has all this, it’s not a compilation.
Cars, airplanes, and more
It has already been said many times that The Crew Motorfest has almost 600 vehicles, and this is even more than Forza Horizon 5 had at the time of release (534 cars at release, now there are 750). Yes, for the most part, the models in The Crew Motorfest and Forza Horizon 5 are repeated because there are not so many cult racing cars. In addition, it should be borne in mind that some cars in The Crew Motorfest are present in several modifications, and some of the vehicles from the same 600 are airplanes and boats. They still remain in the game, albeit in small numbers. Plus, of course, there are motorcycles, which are really missing in Horizon.
Despite this, The Crew Motorfest has something to surprise the player. Some of the cars in the game are not only absent in the Forza Horizon series, but they appear in games for the first time. First of all, these are prototypes that exist in reality in a single exhibition copy. For example, the space Cadillac Cyclone XP-74 Concept (1959), Hummer HX (2008), GT by Citroën (2008), the impressive Renault Trezor (2016), the funny Volkswagen ID. Buggy (2019), the fantastic Mercedes-Benz Vision EQ Silver Arrow (2018), the Batmobile-like Lamborghini Terzo Millennio (2017) and the space fighter Lamborghini Egoista (2013), the Bugatti Veyron Barchetta (2015), and others.
New cars are also not bad. There is a limited edition Bentley Mulliner Bacalar (2021), Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4 (2021), electric GMC Hummer EV (2022) and Lotus Evija (2022), Porsche Panamera Turbo S Sport Turismo (2022), Nissan Z (2023), Lamborghini Revuelto (2023). What’s more, there is even a Red Bull RB18 (2022) formula car!
So everything is fine with the cars, and even the promised export of cars from The Crew 2 is working! But there is one caveat…
In all races from the playlists, you have to use specific cars chosen by the developers, so you can only take your favorite car out for a “walk” in multiplayer or on a free ride around the island. Then, after each playlist is finished, you can change the race settings and use the vehicles you want.
In total, The Crew Motorfest has 15 playlists at the start, each with 6-10 races, so there are about 120 races in total. Each playlist is dedicated to one of the topics – American cars, Japanese cars, drifting, hypercars, etc. Others are dedicated to specific brands, for example, there’s a big playlist with Lamborghini, and after finishing it, I decided to watch a Lamborghini movie: The Man Behind the Legend (2022) (so to speak).
Some of the playlists are presented by online celebrities. For example, Supercar Blondie talks about prototypes, and Mat Levin of Donut Media comes up with some strange challenges. A separate playlist is dedicated to the custom cars of the Japanese Liberty Walk workshop led by the legendary Wataru Kato.
As for airplanes and boats, both of these categories are present in only one playlist, so those who have not liked these vehicles since The Crew 2 can breathe easy. Another playlist is dedicated to motorcycles, both road and rally.
In general, The Crew Motorfest races are interesting and the tracks are varied. The only thing is that, in my opinion, the rally tasks have become more complex and unpredictable, especially in the narrow corridors of the jungle. On the other hand, someone might even like it.
As already mentioned, after the end of the playlist, you can race it in a custom mode with any vehicle. Of course, the tasks such as slalom, speed radar, escape, and so on, which were in the previous parts of the game and which can be found while traveling around the island, have not disappeared.
During these trips, you can also look for graffiti, trophies, points of interest, and take themed photos. Plus, after completing the playlists, challenging tasks and tests open up.
As for multiplayer, The Crew Motorfest has two main modes. The first is the Grand Race for 15-20 minutes across the island for 28 players with two car changes. It is an interesting mode, but, as we have already mentioned, the slightly strange collision physics makes it somewhat unpredictable.
The second mode is Demolition Royale, a kind of mix of Demolition Derby and Battle Royale for 8 teams of 4 people. Part of the island is fenced off with a barrier that narrows over time, and players are thrown into the zone (there is even a landing from airplanes), bonuses, and obstacles/traps. The zone begins to narrow. It sounds strange, but it actually turned out to be quite interesting, although I honestly miss the small Demolition Derby arenas from The Crew 2 a little bit.
An additional asynchronous mode, Summit Contest, is similar to The Crew 2. Players have to complete a series of tasks and complete several races, gaining as many points as possible. The one with the most points at the end of the week will receive a bigger reward. You can also participate in the Custom Show, where players show off their modified cars.
Motorfest vs Horizon
It is very difficult to compete with Forza Horizon. Despite the fact that we scolded Forza Horizon 5 and its add-ons Hot Wheels and especially Rally Adventure for lack of innovation and obvious downgrades of some elements compared to Forza Horizon 4, it’s still a great game.
As it turned out, I’ve played Forza Horizon 5 for almost 338 hours and it looks like I’ll continue to play, despite the fact that I lost all my progress and garage due to a Steam Cloud Save error (Microsoft later returned the cars and clothes… in 800+ separate emails!). After the upgrade with graphics cranked to the max and 120+ fps, it’s a completely different game.
But I really already know all the Forza Horizon 5 races by heart and have tried many of the custom races from users. So, even though The Crew Motorfest is inferior to FH5, it will also find a place on my SSD, but an alternative is good. Let’s see if I don’t get bored with Hawaii before the release of Forza Motorsport, which is scheduled for October 10, 2023.