Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled E3 2019 Hands-On

Ned Jordan
In Short
A look at multiplayer racing in Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled after taking a spin on three of the game's tracks at E3 2019.
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled made a power slide through E3 on its run to the finish line on June 21st. On its way through E3 it gave gamers at the show a glimpse at two features of the game that we haven’t seen before. The first was the revelation of its Grand Prix feature, a series of free post-launch content that brings new tracks to race on to earn new characters, karts, and customization items such as paint jobs and stickers. You won’t have to wait long for the first Grand Prix, Twilight Tour, because that will be launching on July 3rd, just in time to spend the holiday weekend igniting some racing fireworks. Twilight Tour’s track is a desert track with a mix of Egyptian and Arabian themes. It will also introduce the Nitro Squad (aka the Trophy Girls) to the game, giving you the chance to race as Tawna and friends. As you compete in races in the Grand Prix, you’ll earn Nitro which will unlock In addition to new paint jobs, stickers, and tires for your cars, there are also a series of skins to unlock for each character. If you get a character’s legendary skin, you’ll unlock all-new character animations for them as well. There are at least two additional Grand Prix seasons coming after Twilight Tour, including Back in Time, which features the Prehistoric Playground track and Baby Rex, and Spyro and Friends, which features you-know-who. You’ll have plenty of racing to do while waiting for each Grand Prix to launch as the base game itself includes 31 race tracks and 12 battle arenas.

The Grand Prix content wasn’t available for play at E3, but multiplayer races were. I had the chance to try out three of the tracks, each time competing against three other players and four AI-controlled characters. Before jumping into the race you can select your character, which is a tactical choice as well as a cosmetic one. Each character is rated in three categories, speed, acceleration, and turn-handling, so if you’re familiar with the tracks you can give yourself an edge by picking the racer with the best skills to handle it. I didn’t have that advantage and so I tried out a few different racers at random. You can also make cosmetic choices by first choosing a character skin, picking a car and then selecting from the numerous paint jobs, color schemes, stickers, and tires available for each. Even if two players pick the same character for a race, there are so many customization options that you’re virtually guaranteed that everyone in the race will at least look unique.

The races themselves are the same as they are in single player – you’ll race three laps on the track, grabbing power-up crates to earn random weapons and powers that you can use to gain an advantage or to give an opponent a little trouble. The difference here is, of course, that you’re racing against fellow gamers and dealing with all of the extra challenge and unpredictability that entails. The AI is no pushover, though, and in the case of the games I played they were able to best the human players.

The first track was Jungle Boogie, which is set in a jungle as the name implies. The track alternates between traversing between ancient temples and racing along a wooden track suspended in the treetops. This track was the least technically challenging of the three, with long stretches that featured only gentile curves and a lack of environmental hazards.

The second track was Twilight Tour, which is the track featured in the first Grand Prix DLC. This track will send you through the streets of an Arabian bazaar and inside an Egyptian pyramid. This track was more challenging than Jungle Boogie, with bigger curves, a rolling track, and water pits within the track.

The final track we raced on was Tiny Arena, a technically challenging track set on what looks to be a motocross track within a stadium. This track is filled with sharp turns, mud pits, and an undulating surface. This track demands a racer with a high rating in the turn ability attribute, which is not the type of racer I selected before entering the race. As you can see, I paid dearly for this mistake.

The multiplayer racing was chaotic and fun, and it’s surprisingly challenging to manage both getting around the track and fighting it out with your opponents using the power-ups. When you’re in the lead you never feel safe, and when you’re lagging behind you never feel like you’re completely out of the race. If you’re looking for a kart racer that’s both fun and challenging, you want to take Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled out for a spin.

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Transmitted: 4/12/2024 7:11:40 PM