Crash Team Racing fits perfectly in today's gaming culture
Judging by how well Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy sold, it is clear that both the Crash fandom, and nostalgia for the remake of childhood games, are alive and well.
Not only that, but in a time when Crash is free to roam various spaces instead of solely representing just PlayStation, Crash Team Racing is a prime title for this game market.
Mario Kart 8 recently re-released on Switch and was the best selling title on that console. Team Sonic Racing also just came out and although it didn’t set the market on fire, fans are still having a great time with it. Those two factors, along with N. Sane Trilogy breaking 10 million units sold, shows that there is market crossover for kart racers and Crash Bandicoot.
What better to fill that void than a critically acclaimed kart racer remastered featuring not only said Bandicoot, but also Spyro the Dragon, and even more content than the original?
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is not only remastering the classic title from 1999, but it is adding in content from its sequels as well. Content from both Crash Nitro Kart and Crash Tag Team Racing are bundled into the upcoming game, which sees it win out over Mario Kart 8 in the sheer amount of content available.
Since it is a remake in this culture of games simply being re-released to grab a quick buck off fans - looking at you Contra: Rogue Corps - it might make people look skeptically upon the new CTR. To that, I raise the question of nostalgia versus a quality gaming experience spawned from it.
If there wasn’t love for games like Final Fantasy VII or The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker, we would never be able to expect such high-quality remakes and remasters that preserve the original while introducing a brand new generation to those masterpieces.
In instances like those above, the game stands alone - and doesn’t just rely on nostalgia to sell. CTR Nitro-Fueled is in that same category where you have an amazing kart racer while also feeding the good old nostalgia machine for fans of the original.
CTR takes the core charm and gameplay of the original while using the incredibly modern look seen in the Crash Trilogy remaster. Those visuals are completely new, but for the true fans of CTR, the gameplay is exactly what it was years ago - just updated for the current consoles. It looks as if the original Naughty Dog team were given 2019 tech to make the game back in 1999.
For the true-blue racing purists, this game will hit the perfect note that the other kart racers have discarded. Simplicity.
Both Mario and Sonic, the other major kart racing titles out there, have added customization to their karts over the last several games. This lets players break down exactly how they want their karts to race, down to the stat. But for players who just want to race with their friends and have some fun, CTR gets right into the action.
The karts in CTR are focusing more on looks than rather than attributing stats to each vehicle. With insane customization including skins, decals, stickers, and more, if players do want to deck out their ride before a race, they have options. The stat changes come from picking the characters themselves, just like in most older racing titles.
There is also a much bigger learning curve in CTR compared to other racers, but it also brings with it some extremely satisfying mechanics that make each race feel completely in your hands. More so than Mario Kart 8 and definitely more than the Sonic racers, CTR balances its items in a way that play closer to skill even with the random element.
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled fills an odd void in the market that gaming culture has slowly been adapting to over the years. Like Splatoon 2, it will run special events in the games-as-a-service style that will open up limited-time Grand Prix seasons.
These Grand Prix events will continually add new themed race tracks as free updates, some which will be remakes of classics, and others never before seen. Players will compete in sets of challenges to earn Nitro Points - an in-game point system that will let players trade in those points to unlock characters, karts, items, and more.
But don’t worry about these unlockables being lost once the event ends. Every piece of content can be purchased with points in the Pit Stop shop after the end of the event. So not only did the gameplay and visuals get an update, but the developers are gearing up to keep support rolling for the foreseeable future.
When you pick up the game and get into some insane four-player, split-screen action, play online with friends or strangers, or just kart it up on Nintendo Switch, the balanced experience will make everyone feel right at home.
The time spent unlocking the full roster, mastering the tracks, and just having fun racing in Adventure Mode or with friends will be a literal blast.
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled boosts onto PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch on June 21.
For those of you nostalgic players who want the most out of the game, pre-ordering on PlayStation 4 will get you exclusive content in the form of bonus skins and karts. Some of these bonuses will let players use retro skins and karts for Crash, Coco, and Cortex - emulating their look from the original 1999 CTR. Just for the added nostalgic goodness for the PS loyal.