REVIEW – If you’re looking to get all angry about artificial intelligence and car handling, then you should check out the new The Crew, which is available for everyone to try for five hours, although you won’t be able to find it on Steam because Ubisoft is so greedy for money; it is reflected in the quality of The Crew Motorfest.
You can drive on the unpaved roads of Hawaii in The Crew 3, which just doesn’t have the number three in its name.
From America to Hawaii
Ubisoft has depicted the United States in previous installments of The Crew, but this time, it has made the world smaller because it has limited it to Hawaii. We’ve already seen something similar in Test Drive Unlimited (the island of O’ahu; it felt better and more authentic in a game that’s now 17 years old…). The smaller area makes the scene more vivid and detailed. Adding enough variety of events and cars is a good step towards success. Add to that a lack of control and a lack of polish, and you’ve got a good move immediately accompanied by a bail, and anyone who plays The Crew 3 is directly running into the classic question of “Why am I still playing this?”. Forza Horizon may come to mind when you think of this concept, but Playground Games’ titles aren’t released in such a rough state. Events are varied. The races are divided into several categories (Playlists), and based on their themes, you can choose from predefined cars to drive on the set routes. Luckily, there is not only the typical range of vehicles but also some familiar foreign cars, such as the Made in Japan playlist, which features vehicles from the Asian island nation (Nissan Skyline GT-R, Honda NSX…).
We suggest Hawaii Scenic Tours for more relaxed races because the name suggests a kind of journey, and you can drive a Volkswagen Camper in a sunset. If you happen to have an HDR-capable display, here’s a demonstration that Ubisoft’s game isn’t that bad graphically. You have to be prepared for the vehicle changing from race to race, so there’s no way you’ll be able to tear through a significant portion of the game with a souped-up car. So far, there hasn’t been much mention of how many cars there are in The Crew Motorfest: you get a similar level to Gran Turismo 2, which was released for PS1 at the end of 1999, with over 600 available, although there are planes, boats, and motorbikes, and as the races are often quite long, it shows how much ground there is to cover. A stage race (from A to B) is not just two minutes; it is easily at least five. Then, once three playlists are completed, the Main Stage opens. There are three ways of progressing here, but it involves a lot of repetition because we return to races we have already run if we are not looking for/finishing hidden things or taking photos. In return, we can get our car thoroughly tuned up.
Artificial intelligence could also be called ruthless; the pun is, therefore, unfortunately apt. Even though the interface is good (and fast), the loading times are short, and The Crew Motorfest is regrettably far from perfect. For example, the way the car tends to correct underneath you automatically makes you have to step in so that the exit of the corners is often bad, and even if you take off the available driving aids, the physics is just as stupid. Speaking of physics, why is there no difference between soils? The handling feels the same on asphalt and sand. If the game wants to be arcade, that would be understandable, but at the same time, you can adjust the torque… that’s not how it works. You can’t wreck your car because only the exterior is damaged a little, and you can’t affect it with mud because apart from a few patches, it has no effect (Colin McRae Rally 2.0, released in 2000, had that already). Well, Gran Turismo isn’t strong in this area either, but it’s been their traditional shortcoming since the beginning. But what about artificial intelligence?
There’s an overwhelming sense that if we drive well, they’re unfairly fast, and if we fall behind, they’ll stop for coffee somewhere. Then, the game often closes down and crashes, and it is also due to the buggy nature of the game requiring a constant internet connection. Oh, and because of the servers, it’s almost certain that trying to use Quick Resume on Xbox Series consoles is futile: it’s bound to make the experience unplayable. In Forza Horizon, you can play offline, not here. Why not? If someone doesn’t want to race with other people (because we’ll run into other racers on the roads), maybe we should give them the option rather than forcing this “nothing is yours if you pay for it, we’ll shut down the server, and you can go to hell” model. Need For Speed 2015 will also disappear into the ether because you can’t play that without an internet connection. If Ubisoft is so afraid of piracy, maybe they should make an effort and make a good game. Baldur’s Gate III has no DRM either.
The Crew Motorfest gets a six-and-a-half out of ten, and it can go in the dumper because this game just didn’t get the care it needed after laying good foundations. For this reason, the best suggestion is that everyone interested should try it this weekend (because there is a demo on every platform, which shows how little Ubisoft trusts its game). Crappy controls and server issues. The rating is all down to the gameplay.
+ Variety in vehicles and playlists
+ The world itself looks quite pleasing
+ Not a bad user interface and short loading times
– Tré physics
– Tré artificial intelligence
– Internet connection required for Tré
Developer: Ubisoft Ivory Tower
Style: bootleg test drive unlimited and forza horizon
Release: September 14, 2023.