Update: Despite releasing without microtransactions as promised to us by developers during our E3 preview, Activision has now added microtransactions to Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled one month after launch.
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled very clearly understands what its fans want. From the minute the familiar menu music begins playing, it's obvious that what developer Beenox and publisher Activision have put together is wish-fulfilment for those who adored the original Crash Team Racing when it released in 1999. Careful attention has been paid to the way the game presents, which is something like a blend between an old-school cart racing title complete with simple menu layouts and a polished, refined undertaking that has launched the remake into modernity.
For those unfamiliar, Crash Team Racing was originally launched for the PlayStation 1 back in 1999. The title was developed by Naughty Dog after the success of the Crash Bandicoot game. Crash Team Racing includes all of the most famous Crash Bandicoot heroes and villains and imagines what would happen if they attempted to settle their differences through the noble sport of automobile racing. Despite being preceded by Mario Kart and Diddy Kong Racing, the original title still managed to gather a decent following of fans, and was adored for the way it stayed true to the conventions of the Crash Bandicoot franchise.
It's been a long time since 1999, though, and 20 years out from its original release, Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is adamant it will stay true to its roots. The biggest indicator? Despite featuring online content and DLC plans for the future, all of Nitro-Fueled is microtransaction-free. In a sit-down presentation and hands-on during E3 2019, a member of the Nitro-Fueled team stated that the entire game would avoid microtransactions, instead offering new content for free during the game's life-cycle. The only paid content at launch will be the differences between the regular and collector's versions of the game, the latter of which will offer cosmetic items and the ability to play characters ahead of when players would normally have access to them.
The major other modernization of the title is in its appearance, which has received a drastic overhaul from what fans might remember from its previous outing. Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled is a smooth experience in that regard, with the transition between old maps into their sexier versions offering no hiccups or omissions. Recreations are either spot-on or improve, and in either outcome, they're desirable. Gameplay is equally good, with the core of the game remaining the same and thriving for that decision despite the fact that it's core gameplay elements are two decades old. Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled is also more difficult than the average cart racer, something that should make it even more desirable for those wishing to play the title online now that it has that functionality.
Lastly, Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled will also have a new Grand Prix mode. The mode will function as a method for the studio to release new DLC, adding a new track to the game with each release. That track will come with multiple challenges that in turn reward players with even more additional content, such as new racers. It's a nice way to extend the longevity of the game for a sizeable amount of time, and it should give players something to look forward to in the same way that fans of Fortnite await a new season of challenges. It was strongly hinted during the hands-on that future content would also reward players with the ability to race as Spyro from the Spyro the Dragon franchise.
Overall, Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled leaves a strong impression that isn't easily replaced by the average racing title. While it may not shine with quite the intensity its more famous compatriots do, it's also a strong game in its own right. The decision to eschew microtransactions is especially welcome, and could do a lot to endear fans and encourage them to give Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled a try when it releases on June 21, 2019.