New episode of The Crew series: Can this third opus compete with the juggernaut Forza Horizon? Let’s dissect Ivory Tower’s game in our review.
Welcome to Hawaii
Five years after the release of The Crew 2, Ubisoft is revisiting the franchise, this time heading to Hawaii – a subtle nod to Test Drive Unlimited, which also takes place on the same island as Motorfest. Still, nostalgia works wonders, especially for players who have explored all the routes of the old game from Eden Games. The vehicles aren’t the only ones in the spotlight; Hawaiian culture is also prominently featured throughout the game. From the start, it’s a genuine virtual journey, and the change of scenery is remarkable. However, the map is noticeably smaller than in the previous titles. Crossing it by plane from north to south takes no more than ten minutes.
Ubisoft continues to blend culture and play in its games.
While the studio had previously offered a vast area to explore, we now find ourselves on a small Pacific island. However, is this necessarily a drawback? After all, The Crew was criticized for having content that felt more repetitive than the last. Getting straight to the point might not be such a negative aspect, especially considering the possibility of future DLC adding new destinations. In any case, we’re treated to a fantastic graphics engine. The landscapes are breathtaking, with sunsets that some have experienced in real life. This is a strength of these games; they make us feel like we’re on vacation again!
The only issue is the exaggeration in terms of saturation and contrast. It seems that the developers want to astonish players with very pronounced visuals, risking displeasure for some. Another point to note is a potential inequality in the rendering of textures. Going slightly off the beaten path, some areas lack visual finesse; it’s quite basic. Additionally, freedom comes with its share of bugs. Our car has already found itself stuck in a wall, and depending on the location, we’ve noticed a bit of clipping/popping. There are also elements that make the visuals feel somewhat dated. For instance, environments lack life, characters have a very basic modeling with animations that seem unearthly (a stark contrast to the rest of the universe), and the unusable rearview mirrors display a blurry and smeared image – seriously, in 2023?
But despite these shortcomings, it’s a pleasure to regularly admire the island, especially for those who’ve been to Hawaii. Many locations in the archipelago are easily recognizable. However, touring is great, but at speeds exceeding 200 km/h, it becomes challenging… The tourist guide for the initial series of tests asks us to turn our heads right and left while we’re in the middle of a race. A fun little inconsistency, but you have to appreciate lengthy dialogues. The fun aspect allows us to learn a lot, not only about the region but also about the machines we pilot.
It’s a thrilling experience!
The major events are called playlists, consisting of 6 to 10 races with a specific theme. Each playlist offers various vehicles, with narrators passionately sharing their insights. This informative element, sometimes featuring industry celebrities like Supercar Blondie or the LBWK team, is a significant improvement. There’s a noticeable enhancement in the handling of vehicles, especially motorcycles. The sensations are impressive, and enthusiasts of sporty driving on bikes will revel in pleasure at every turn! The planes have also undergone improvements, mainly thanks to a camera better managed in the objective view.
Driving motorcycles is the standout feature of the title!
For owners of the title on PS5, it’s worth noting that the features of the DualSense are taken into account, providing a real pleasure. The triggers adapt, lock, and tap the index finger when a vehicle rumbles. The vibrations make us feel the road, the tires, and other slippage in the palms of our hands; it’s truly enjoyable! Furthermore, these tremors become more or less accentuated depending on the intensity of the race. Additionally, if you play in the dark, you’ll notice the LEDs on the controller flashing to immerse us in the colorful universe of The Crew Motorfest. The experience is incredible; kudos to the developers.
Returning to our main point, activating each playlist allows you to unlock a series of challenges and various activities. Here, we find what the former The Crew offered: photo objectives, slaloms, acrobatics, etc. Hidden chests are also part of the program, providing even more equipment to enhance your machines. Dismantling them yields currency to modify the affixes of the parts, optimizing the performance of your favorite vehicles and ensuring you shine on the racetrack. Exploration and treasure hunting become utterly addictive, providing a bottomless lifespan, not to mention the changing series of tests from week to week. If you’ve exhausted the playlists and events, there will always be new races to satisfy your driving thirst.
What’s our ultimate verdict on The Crew Motorfest? This new opus has the potential to captivate and thrill players. The motorcycles are sensational, standing out as the most impressive aspect. This immersive universe is accompanied by a very appreciable soundtrack, despite some uninspired pieces. In terms of experience, the only significant flaw we can mention is the ghost display of other players. Constantly encountering them face to face can be startling, especially since some don’t hesitate to play with it and deliberately attack you…
- Guaranteed change of scenery
- Top-notch vehicle driving
- Playing with the DualSense is a real joy!
- A good lifespan
- Stunning graphics…
- …but with a few flaws here and there
- Lack of originality
- Disturbing ghost player display
- Blurry mirrors, seriously?”