The Crew Motorfest Takes Off on an Island Adventure – Hands-on Impressions

The Crew Motorfest heads to Hawaii for a driving adventure.

Image via Ubisoft

The Crew Motorfest is looking to make some notable changes to the formula which fans of the series have grown accustomed to over the past decade. Probably the biggest shift is moving the game away from the mainland of the United States, where players will now find themselves adventuring through the many diverse biomes that the Hawaiian island of O’ahu has to offer. While racers were previously able to navigate from New York to San Francisco in one giant map, The Crew Motorfest is aiming to have a more focused environment that players can explore.

In my 3 hours of hands-on with the game, it’s clear that Ubisoft Ivory Tower is trying to steer this racing franchise in a different direction while addressing some of the faults of the previous title. With a greater emphasis on road vehicles – while boats and planes continue to take a backseat – The Crew Motorfest is setting itself up to deliver a fun arcade racing experience for motoring fans to enjoy.

Exploring Car Culture on O’ahu

Screenshot by Gamepur

The Crew Motorfest’s new backdrop is the beautiful island of O’ahu. You’ll find yourself driving down the busy streets of Waikiki, cruising along the sandy-white beachside shores, or flying over the top of the island’s volcanic cone at Diamond Head. Although players are no longer driving across the countryside of Route 66 in the midwest of the United States, O’ahu is a perfect replacement and offers an assortment of visually interesting locations to adventure through.

While racing across the open world of the island, various playlists will be made available to you which explored different aspects of car culture and also look at some of the standout vehicles behind those trends. The Made in Japan playlist can have you drifting around the mountain range roads in a Nissan Skyline GT-R, while Vintage Garage will put you to the test in a series of classic rides while removing your access to a navigational GPS. 

My favorite playlist from the handful we got to experience was Electric Odyssey. Driving in an extremely stylish and quick Lotus Evija, the nighttime sky was illuminated by distant lightning strikes as purple neon lights littered the course of the track. Along the road during certain sections were Nitro lanes, which refilled your Nitro Battery and could be used to give an extra boost against your rivals. What I enjoyed about these playlists is that some of them had slight twists that altered the standard race you would generally encounter. Although you’re sitting in the seat of a different type of vehicle, the small changes to the events themselves add a bit of variety.  

A Ride For Everyone

Screenshot by Gamepur

There will be over 600 vehicles available at launch in The Crew Motorfest, and a decent chunk of those were open to use during my hands-on session. Starting at ‘A’ and browsing cars like Aston Martin’s, I spent time flicking through the list of rides that I could purchase. Realizing after a few good minutes that I was only up to Dodge, I thought maybe I should just pick something I was familiar with and get driving. 

It appears road vehicles play a huge role in The Crew Motorfest, and despite there being aircraft and boats that you can jump into at the press of a button, those just feel more like another means of getting around the island. But there’s also something about gliding above the air in a plane only to quickly switch into a Lamborghini while slamming into the road and driving off – it’s a captivating feeling. There were a few side challenges that I found while flying around in an aerobatic plane, but nothing on the same scale compared to the driving playlists. 

One area that looks to have been given more attention is the online aspect, with rotating weekly themed events where players can compete against each other to earn rewards. Vehicles can be customized and tuned with new parts from the rewards you get, allowing you to stick with a ride you like and push it to its limits. It’s also nice to see damage models applied to these beefed-up machines when you get to your race event with scuff marks and cracked windows. In other racing titles sometimes manufacturers can be precious about making a car look banged up. 

Screenshot by Gamepur


Having played all of the other games in The Crew series, Motorfest looks like it’s the most refined so far. I think stripping the map back and setting it in one main location is a smart move, as before, things at times could feel a bit lifeless with not a whole lot going on. Everything I saw so far looks great and the arcade racing continues to feel solid. For those seeking an adrenaline-filled driving adventure, The Crew Motorfest looks to have you covered.