The Crew Motorfest is Ubisoft’s latest entry into its MMOCarPG genre, and it takes just as dramatic a turn as The Crew 2 did from the original. The action shifts from a huge chunk of the continental US to a single Hawaiian island, but everything in this locale has been refined. Something that stood out to me in our recent playtest of the game was how it doubles down on something very few racing games even glance at, the joy of driving for the sake of it.
Race to The Finish
During my three-hour session with the game, The Crew Motorfest showed me its true colors. Of the three core Playlists on offer, I opted to tackle every race in the one that focuses most on Hawaiian. It sees you drive a wide range of vehicles from high-speed sports cars to jeeps you’d take to the beach across rocky outcrops on the side of a cliff, open grasslands, swamps, and even sprawling black sands.
With most of these races, I was presented with one goal. “Finish the Race.” At times I needed to finish in the top 3, but for most of the missions, the only goal was to get from A to B without getting distracted by the gorgeous scenery. Let me tell you, that was so difficult because this game is beautiful, showcasing a new perfect photograph opportunity around every corner.
Even outside of the races in Playlists, I found myself driving from one end of the island to the other for absolutely no reason. Sure, the island’s packed with secrets and smaller side activities to discover, but I honestly wasn’t driven to engage with them unless it was part of an overarching objective.
This isn’t to say that the world is boring. On the contrary, it’s got so many side activities and smaller objectives that build up to accomplish bigger ones that I know I’ll be playing for 100 hours at least.
The reason I didn’t bother with these activities initially was because I just wanted to go for a drive.
Remember That Time
I don’t know about you, but I love a good road trip. A big part of my childhood was being ferried between my parent’s houses by car, and it was always the journeys that I was most excited about. I’d make sure my Game Boy had fresh batteries and play Pokemon Blue for hours, even at night when I had to wait for passing streetlights to allow me to see what was going on mid-battle.
My dad and I went on a huge road trip on a motorcycle around a couple of states in America, something I’ll never forget because of the stops we made along the way. I toured Route 66, classic diners that felt like they were a doorway back in time, extremely unofficial alien museums, and explored Alcatraz Island in excruciating detail.
The last road trip that will always stick with me, and I may never top, was around Scotland in a Mini with the roof down. I spent 8 hours driving alongside Loch Ness, visited an ancient house where some madman managed to grow pineapples, and stayed in a bothy (very basic wood-built shelter) in the middle of a wheat field with a wood-fired hot tub.
The one thing all these road trips have in common is that the journey was made better because I always took my time and soaked up the sights. When you rush to your final destination, you miss the joys along the way, and that’s what the developers have really nailed with The Crew Motorfest.
The biomes across the island you’ll call your home are stunningly varied, and a dynamic weather system ensures that no two drives are the same. In the moments I was exploring, just driving to the farthest point away I could, I wasn’t concerned with gear scores or optimizing my time, I just wanted to see what was out there.
Being a Good Sport is About Always Seeing the Positives
I don’t want to put you off The Crew Motorfest if you want to explore the world and complete everything as fast as possible. It has the facilities to do that, including a plane and boat you can transform to. Reaching a faraway objective is so much quicker when you can use a plane to fly there, and boats mix up the gameplay just enough to make it feel like there are multiple layers to every location.
For those of you that are bad at driving games, though, and those who are car enthusiasts and just want to look at the best vehicles in the game and meet up with like-minded souls to arrange them perfectly for onlookers to gawk at, there is a space for you in this game. I appreciate turning up to a field to see hundreds of classic cars as much as anyone, and I love it so much more when they’re slowly rallying around the countryside.
That feeling, the feeling of clutching a community and relaxing hobby where the only thing you need to do is to take your time and have fun, that’s what The Crew Motorfest allows anyone to do.
Racing for first place certainly used to be the point of racing games when they were all about winning for maximum points or simulations like Gran Turismo. But today, games have grown to cover so many more aspects of our world, and this part of car culture, where experiencing the world with your car brings unrivaled joy, is where The Crew Motorfest shines.
I think the game sends a powerful message to MMO fans, but also the entire gaming community in general, that you are enough. It doesn’t matter how optimized your car is, there will always be someone better because they have more time to play than you. But when the objective is just to finish, just to reach the other side of the map, take an incredible sunset panoramic shot, or have fun hanging out with your friends, it doesn’t matter who comes first, ninth, or doesn’t finish.
I love that The Crew Motorfest could be the most approachable racing game ever released. It’s got something for everyone and doesn’t want to push players in directions they’re not interested in. There is absolutely something for everyone to love, and I hope a part of that is a small subset of players sharing the greatest drives they’ve ever been on around this little slice of heaven for others to experience too.