About Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled

  • Developer: Beenox
  • Publisher: Activision Blizzard
  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch
  • Release Date: June 21st, 2019
  • Price: $39.99
  • Reviewed On: PS4 Pro
  • Review Code Provided: Yes, by Activision Blizzard

The year is 1999, the final year of the millennium and the last of the Crash Bandicoot titles by Naughty Dog released but it isn’t a platformer, it’s a kart racer. Finally, Mario Kart has some real competition and it shows. Flash forward a huge 20 years and the game is getting fully remade for modern platforms.

Adventure Mode is a simple single player mode, you must win first place in every race to progress and it could be tricky sometimes. Missions are connected from tunnels with themed areas all around the world. Each race you win will essentially let you unlock characters, kart customizations, as well as earn coins. The fun thing is racers aren’t very long, so they give you that burst of hype you need then it ends right then and there. I’m not really a fan of the races with characters that let you 1v1 them, as you’re repeating maps that you have already competed in the since it is only you vs a foe, the track is super empty so the competition isn’t necessarily a great time. Finishing the 4 areas will grant you the ability to face against Nitrous Oxide, an evil alien that wishes to see the end of the world.

Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING feels so natural and up to date. The PlayStation original just controls so strangely in this day in age, while on PS4, Nitro-Fueled is a tight experience. The only downfall I found in the gameplay was drifitng. You have to press Cross then move the stick in the direction you please which in turn make you screw up quite a lot. There were countless occasions of drifting into walls since it doesn’t feel completely right. Interestingly enough, classics controls of hitting Cross to go was the default, so making the control scheme “alternative” made things more natural since accelerate become R2, the button nearly every racer on PS3, PS4, and PS Vita uses in racers.

The AI is a crazy lot when you play on anything above Easy. It’s like they team up to try and fuck you over as much and as fast as they can rather than go after each other. Oh, it gave me Mario Kart levels of hated when some AI hit you back to back to back, so there will be plenty for you to despise. Just do not play on Easy, as it is like taking candy from a baby since it’s super…. well, easy. Thankfully there is online for the first time, so you do not have to rely on just pre-made foes. Race with your friends or randoms and get ready to be triggered beyond belief if you do not know how to correctly drift since literally everyone will surpass you. The other game mode is more fun, however. It is a battle mode, a 4v4 fight it out to the death and you have only 3 lives to survive. The maps on hand are made much smaller compared to various others, which makes the action even more butt-clenching when you are being chased with bombs and missiles.

Beenox took the graphical quality and cranked it to new heights. Everything, from the textures to the lighting looks just perfect. There isn’t a single time when playing this game did I say something along the lines of “that looks a little out of date” or “that doesn’t match the rest”. It was seamlessly taken to 11. The way the lighting is handed in many levels is just top notch with probably the best use of HDR I’ve seen on a game so far. The difference between the game from almost 2 decades ago is unreal. From polygonal 3D that’s super box-like to insanely detailed 4K models that look superb like no other. Dare I say this is the greatest remake we ever have seen since this surpasses even the likes of the N-Sane Trilogy. On PlayStation at least, Crash races at a locked 30 frames per second, even on the Pro model.

The commitment to this game should be praised to new heights. Not only did Beenox remake the entire original game, but Nitro-Fueled also features levels, characters, and even modes from Crash Nitro Kart, so there’s a plethora of content on display. The team will also be creating original tracks based on levels from various Crash Bandicoot entries, which is an unexpected surprise. A massive 25 characters can be played as, with countless kart bodies, wheels, paint jobs, and stickers. Most of them can be unlocked via the story mode entitled “Adventure” while some items can be acquired via the “Pit Stop”, which uses coins you earn throughout all modes.

Honestly, this remake is far, FAR better than I thought it ever could be. The amount of love and care thrown in is unparalleled. The only downsides I saw throughout the entire game was the drifting, it was a horrible experience unless you master it quite rapidly. The online is what made this amazing though. Races were even more hectic and the battle mode was basically my favorite mode, even beating out the legendary Mario Kart series’ famous battle mode.

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