Crash Team Racing is almost unbelievably faithful to the original PlayStation 1 kart racer from Naughty Dog. Whipping my kart around the long corners of Tiny Arena felt like I was a kid again, experiencing arcade kart racing for the first time again while mastering all the right jumps and angles for efficient boosts and drifts. But like both the Crash Bandicoot and Spyro Trilogy remasters before it, Crash Team Racing using more powerful hardware to make these remakes stand out in new ways. With Crash Team Racing that’s clearly evident in its more effects heavy and detailed races, but modern enhancements are taking hold off the track too.
Crash Team Racing is already changing the classic formula by giving you the ability to customize the karts you race in, as well as the characters you select to drive. Unlike Mario Kart these changes have no tangible impact on the actual racing – any changes you make including kart and wheel size will be cosmetic only, with no hidden statistics behind the scenes affecting your race.
Characters are split up into three categories ranging based on their driving difficulty, but that surfaces in races in the same what you might remember from the original. It would’ve been better to have statistics for Handling, Top Speed and Handling to be clearer when you select a character, but at the very least it’s easy enough to figure out who is a good choice for newcomers to racers of this ilk and who might be best suited if you’re familiar with the roster.
New to this Nitro-Fueled Remake is mode that ties together every single action you make on the track. Whether you’re playing through the recreated Adventure Mode campaign or racing online, you’ll accrue points towards the Grand Prix. This mode sits behind every other event similar to how Battle Passes in shooters like Fortnite and Apex Legends work. Each new season will include a brand new original track, new characters and additional customization options for existing one, complemented by colour-coded levels of rarity.
Simply playing any mode will unlock skins and cosmetics, but those tied to each season of the Grand Prix will be unique. Seasons will eventually rotate in skins that were previously available, but the ones featured through this system won’t be obtainable when not hosted through the Grand Prix. There also doesn’t seem to be a way for you to purchase levels towards your next reward in the Grand Prix, but you will be able to use an in-game currency that you earn through playing to purchase items once they come back into circulation.
These are all vanity items at the end of the day, but some rare skins for character’s give them new distinctive looks and alternative podium animations to show off. They’re also incredibly easy to ignore it seems if you’re just hoping to get a nostalgic kick out of racing so many familiar tracks again, letting you focus on burning rubber and not progress bars. In that respect Crash Team Racing seems faithful enough to make those memories feel new again. It’s out in just two weeks on Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch.
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Last Updated: June 11, 2019