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With The Crew Motorfest closed beta now concluded, players were treated to a range of different game modes and vehicles within the racing sandbox. Motorfest definitely falls short on a few counts with poor PC performance and some uninspired missions – – but that doesn’t mean the game hasn’t got huge potential.
Taking place in Hawaii, Motorfest opens in a similar fashion to Forza Horizon 5, in which you’re introduced to the open world through a collage of various gameplay scenarios showing off almost every form of transport, some of which we also got to experience in our The Crew Motorfest preview. Outside of the opening section, there were no F1-style races on offer in the closed beta, and while there were two instances of non-car-based playlist missions in the closed beta, these didn’t feature in the intro.
Overall, the closed beta focused on five playlists ranging from a journey through car history to electric vehicles. Made in Japan offers a look into the Japanese street and drag racing scene with various Mazda, Nissan and Toyota cars on offer. Electric Odyssey gives the player a look at some of the fastest electric vehicles out there including the Lotus E-Xpress while also showing off more off-road vehicles like the Hummer E-Xpress. Other playlists like the Vintage Garage and 911 Legacy offer a look into the growth of cars throughout the decades. 911 Legacy will see you try out a range of Porsche street and rally cars as you gradually end in a street race with the 911 Carrera 4S 922. However, Vintage Garage is more decade-focused for general cars with classics like the Mustang Boss 429 and Ferrari F40 making a show.
Playlists are undoubtedly the game’s strongest aspects as they provide a range of different gameplay modes. While the traditional race aspect of The Crew remains intact, the most interesting aspect of the game is when it veers off from what is expected. Namely, one mission in particular where you’re driving a Pontiac through dark streets and forests with only reference images to guide you, all accompanied by the haunting yet 80s-inspired soundtrack of John Carpenter’s Weeping Ghosts. The atmosphere is spectacular, and a perfect example of where Motorfest shines. Moments like this really go a long way in cementing The Crew Motorfest’s legitimacy as a unique entry into the racing genre, and not just a Forza Horizon knock-off – though there are a lot of similarities.
However, these playlists aren’t without their faults; some missions can feel like filler even with the very selective number of objectives on offer during the closed beta. During the Electric Odyssey playlist, every second mission would require you to transport a new vehicle to a race start point. However, the catch is that you need to ensure it arrives intact. If too much damage is done to the vehicle you’ll be forced to restart the entire mission. This can be infuriating at best and completely ward off any creative approach to gameplay at worst. The smallest obstacle was enough to do a significant amount of damage to the point where it was almost more feasible to simply drive at a slow pace towards your destination. Arguably, more skilled players will get more out of this precision-based mode but for the most part, it feels like a casual audience will come to roll their eyes at this experience should it crop up too much during the full release of the game.
The Crew Motorfest definitely still retains a lot of the impressive features present in The Crew 2, including zooming out from the player to get a full look at the map. The fact you can zoom in on any portion of the map and see what’s happening in real-time is mindblowing. Alongside this, the transitions from car to boat to plane are seamless and are reminiscent of the mechanics present in LEGO 2K Drive. It cannot be stressed enough how impressive this is as it greatly opens the player’s eyes to different ways of travelling the new map.
Unfortunately, boat and plane transport got very little time to shine in the closed beta as they only received one mission each throughout the game’s five playlists. It hopefully goes without saying that we should see more of this in the full release. However, as great as air and water transport are, they pale in comparison when put up against the quality of the game’s driving mechanics.
Playing the closed beta on both Xbox Series X and S does point out some big differences for those looking to pick up the game on the weaker model. The framerate is the obvious issue to note here as the Series S version of the game doesn’t provide the option to switch between performance or resolution mode as opposed to the Series X. Frame rate and picture quality were noticeably different between the two consoles during the closed beta, which isn’t a surprise but worth mentioning.
It should also be worth noting that while I played the closed beta on Xbox, many players on PC ran into a number of issues trying to run the game. This could be fixed come the game’s launch but it still bears mentioning as some fans of the series noted only being able to achieve a framerate between “12-22 FPS with an RTX 4070Ti.”Despite these issues, The Crew Motorfest closed beta offers an interesting look into what this game is capable of. While the closed beta fell short in a number of areas, when Motorfest gets something right it is unrivalled. With The Crew Motorfest release date set for September 11, this game has the potential to be a real staple in the racing genre provided some issues are addressed. The Crew Motorfest is an even more accessible Forza Horizon.
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