The Crew Motorfest preview: Ubisoft keeps community spirit firmly in the driving seat

The Crew
(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Like any racing game since the dawn of time, The Crew Motorfest is primarily about speed. It's about driving fast, learning faster, and reaching the finish line before any of your opponents in record time. Time, in a more abstract sense, is another of Motorfest's central tenets. Because whether you want to drive a 1950s muscle car, a 1974 Lamborghini Countach, or a state-of-the-art 2023 Lambo Revuelto with a sun-kissed orange paint job – The Crew Motorfest's roster of rev-heavy rides span generations, and, perhaps more importantly, cultures.

The Crew has always tapped into the feeling of community that unites car lovers the world over, and Motorfest continues that vibe. Unlike The Crew 2, which let us burn rubber around a scaled-down, truncated slant on the USA's mainland states, Motorfest sends us to Hawaii where a gearhead festival – the eponymous Motorfest – is taking place. There, you might race around the streets of Honolulu in a street car, put pedal to the metal in an F1 car on a professional track, tear through the island's lush rainforests in an off-road buggy, haul a muscle car around bending mountain roads, or, my own favorite, zip alongside Waikiki Beach in a high-powered, fuel-guzzling supercar.    

Places to be

The Crew

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Through this, developer Ivory Tower aims to give us a setting that's diverse enough as an open-world space, while also being fun enough to host a live experience. Whether you choose to do so solo or with your crew, touring the island of Oahu – part of the Hawaiian archipelago – on four wheels is often as stunning as it sounds, and Motorfest's titular event has more tailor-made races, themed events, and bitesize challenges than you can shake a gear stick at. 

Players graduating from The Crew 2 will be pleased to know that the garage of prized cars they've spent five years fine-tuning can be transferred over to Motorfest; and in the spirit of merging the old with the new, I was really impressed with how this game incorporates the PS5 DualSense controler's haptic feedback. To be absolutely clear, I drive a Nissan Qashqai in the real world, which is far from a supercar. But the feeling of revving my engine, or screeching round a tight bend at speed, or hammering over the crest of a hill with my dials redlining felt pretty amazing as the pad rumbled around in the palms of my hands. 

Add this to the fact The Crew Motorfest's weather effects look amazing, and the fact that how your car responds to adverse conditions feels even more precise than previous games. Whether you're driving through rain or shine, thunder and lighting; behind the wheel of a Ford truck or a Ferrari, a Lotus or a Lamborghini, a car or a quad bike, adapting to your settings – that might see you tearing up tarmac one moment, before wheel spinning on muddy dirt tracks the next – is key, but oh-so-satisfying when done right. 

With a slew of extended customization options, the chance to fly planes and power boats (I wasn't shown these in my hands-on time, but both feature prominently in the latest Motorfest trailer), and an island chock full of side hustles to keep you occupied, Motorfest feels like a natural evolution of the community undercurrent The Crew devs have meticulously managed over the last nine years. That community is now said to have edged its way over 30 million players, and while there's plenty here to keep those returning drivers entertained, I reckon there's a good chance that community is due another spike when The Crew Motorfest hits the grid at some point later this year.  

The Crew Motorfest is one of the upcoming Ubisoft games set to launch in 2023 for PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, and Xbox One.

Joe Donnelly
Features Editor, GamesRadar+

Joe is a Features Editor at GamesRadar+. With over seven years of experience working in specialist print and online journalism, Joe has written for a number of gaming, sport and entertainment publications including PC Gamer, Edge, Play and FourFourTwo. He is well-versed in all things Grand Theft Auto and spends much of his spare time swapping real-world Glasgow for GTA Online’s Los Santos. Joe is also a mental health advocate and has written a book about video games, mental health and their complex intersections. He is a regular expert contributor on both subjects for BBC radio. Many moons ago, he was a fully-qualified plumber which basically makes him Super Mario.