Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled Xbox One Review

July 15, 2019 by  
Filed under Xbox One, Reviews & Features, Xbox

Publisher: Activision  Developer: Beenox  Genre: Racing  Players: 1-8 Age Rating: 3+  

Other console/handheld formats: PS4, Switch

Crash Team Racing has long been regarded as one of the best kart racing games, but only now have we received a remake. The resurgence of Crash Bandicoot following the N. Sane Trilogy has seen to this, and I can only hope that all of this will also lead to some brand new games in the future. It’s really good to have Crash and company back, and it would also be fantastic to have them all bathing in the limelight for as long as possible.

It would have been an injustice to have just released this remake under the Crash Team Racing name, as the game is so much more than a modern day remake that has just seen a sprucing up. Yes indeed, Crash Team Racing Nitro-fueled has a generous helping of content, with returning materials from previous games as well as brand new content, but also remembering what made the original such a fun-filled racer in the first place.

Mechanically, Crash Team Racing had a lot going for it back in 1999 when released as an original PlayStation game, and in 2019 the same can certainly be said for it in this remake. It’s still possible to jump, and the more air you get, the more boost you will receive upon landing, and it’s also still very much possible to drift around corners, with correct timing also earning you a speed boost as you exit the drift.

Everything is present and correct, and it feels fantastic to play, with a bit of a learning curve also adding in some depth and satisfaction to the gameplay.

The remake includes brand new customisation options for both the characters as well as their karts.

Being a kart racing game, the weapons also make their triumphant return, allowing you to drop explosive crates and bottles, protect yourself with a shield or thrust it forward as a weapon, fire missiles, and more. Picking ten apples up will enhance these pick-ups (turning a TNT crate into a instant explosive crate for example) as well as giving you a small speed boost, which nicely presents you with a little something extra to think about, as well as adding in a bit more depth to the racing.

Of course, the nature of such a game means that there’s often some luck, or bad luck, involved in the position you come in at the end of a race, although to less of an extent than, say, Mario Kart. On medium setting and upwards, AI can also feel a bit cheap, but I wouldn’t recommend playing it in any other way, as easy difficulty will see many sail to victory, and I also found that there was little drama in each race. With that said, I felt that being frustrated at times was better than feeling bored when racing against the AI, so I stuck with the medium setting.

With just over thirty tracks in all, there’s definitely plenty to race on. There’s a mixture of tracks from both Crash Team Racing as well as Crash Nitro Kart, and they’re generally a fantastic selection, with narrow sections making for plenty of excitement when racers are bunched up, as well as some bumpy tracks, which allow for plenty of boosting opportunity, being amongst some of the most memorable. Tracks also have different routes to take as well as shortcuts here and there, and they’re an absolute joy to race on. New tracks will also be added in via updates, and the game has already received one recently through it’s first Grand Prix update, which also adds in new characters and challenges.

Crash Team Racing’s single player Adventure mode also makes its return, and there‘s also an option that allows you to switch between characters now as opposed to being stuck with the Bandicoot himself. Regardless of how you choose to play, the mode places you in a hub, allowing you to drive to races and challenges, and winning four races in each world will grant you the chance to take on its boss in a one-on-one race. The focus is on the racing in the Adventure mode, but fun challenges come in the form of time trials and collection modes. It’s not a mode that is going to last you dozens upon dozens of hours, but it’s enjoyable enough all the same, even if the bosses with their infinite supply of pick-ups can annoy at times.

Whatever you are doing in the game, you’ll earn Wumpa coins. These coins can then be used to purchase characters and customisation options.

As always in such a game, multiplayer is going to be the most appealing aspect for many. It’s still possible for split-screen play for up to four players, and the online multiplayer for up to eight players has been fixed following some early issues. There’s more satisfaction to be had by hitting an actual player with a weapon, as well as just beating them, so it’s good to know that the game has a full suite of multiplayer options to its name.

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fuelled also has the returning battle mode, and here it’s not about the racing. There’s modes such as Capture the Flag, Last Kart Standing, Limit Battle (basically death match) and less obvious modes such as Steal the Bacon (Capture the Flag with a rasher of bacon), and Crystal Grab (collect as many crystals as possible). With unique arenas too, this is definitely a game that just keeps on giving content, and the battle mode is definitely another enjoyable way to play the game outside of the racing.

Visually, the game is absolutely striking, with the detailed character models being full of personality and expression, and the tracks have plenty going on in their backgrounds. Sadly though, the visuals aren’t perfect in the way that the action is restricted to 30fps, and it’s a shame that 60fps isn’t an option in any form. Some will be disappointed by this, but you might find it easy to forget when the action gets going and the positions keep changing as well as the overall visual splendour before your eyes.

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fuelled suffers from a few issues and frustrations, but that’s not to say that it isn’t an absolutely brilliant remake, as that it most certainly is. The game has lots of content, beautiful visuals, and well balanced racing, with some top notch gameplay mechanics holding everything together. With all that said, Crash Bandicoot and company’s recent return has been plenty of reason to celebrate, and long may their existence continue.