Here we are, ladies and gentlemen! After many months of waiting, CTR Nitro-Fueled is finally released! Thanks to Activision and Beenox, we had the chance to play it for several hours, in order to give you our impressions. Let’s talk about it!
Put the pedal to the metal
First things first, we have to say it, the game is beautiful. Really beautiful. But we will talk about the graphics a little bit more in the next section.
As a huge fan of the original game, I am really pleased to have the same driving feeling than before. The controls are super responsive. But, in the way I felt it, I think the karts are less stiff than in the original game. In my opinion, it could be thanks to the animations of karts and characters, making them more cartoony, alive, and flexible, compared with the quite rigid bodies of 1999. The result of this is that you are more involved in your driving and the kart seems to go where you want more easily.
For the same reasons (animations and new rich assets), the races look wayyyyy faster and intense than before! This is, in my opinion, the best thing about the gameplay and the race feeling. The online races promise to be really challenging and intense. The sense of speed is impressive particularly on tracks like Hot Air Skyway and Tiny Arena. Oxide Station also benefits the change, and the sound cut during the jump into space is nice, even if it feels a bit smaller than before.
Overall, the tracks are a great success, they are nice to race, the challenge is here (I didn’t count how many times I had to restart Hot Air Skyway because the AI was so fast and my driving not so good on those tight loops). Playing the adventure mode with the brand new cinematics is also a great experience and reinforces the involvement in the story (this can be difficult for a racing game).
I only had three races online at this time (because the online mode was not populated during our tests), but I will enjoy the challenge for sure! -> Let’s go practice my drifting skills 😛
At the moment of writing those lines, Beenox has noted some feedback concerning the online mode, and are already working on fixing the experience.
From Beenox with love
Ok, now we can talk about the graphics and all the game features. We had the chance to have an interview with Thomas Wilson (creative director) and Jason Godbout (artistic director) during the VIP event for the game launch, Wednesday, June 19. What they told me, and I sure felt it, it’s that they have been (and continue to) putting a lot of love in this game. Thomas sum all the works made up in one word: pride. After playing the game for hours, I can say that they can be proud of the work the team has done! One advice, you can play each track without racing: just take the time to explore and discover all the easter eggs, to enjoy all of the animations, to admire the life and background they bring into the tracks. There is so much to discover that you miss while racing, it worths the time!
As I said in a previous article, the game looks better than in my childhood memory. There is no comparison anymore. The original game, which was awesome, had now the love and power it deserves to be the best experience it always was intended to.
Some additions are worth mentioning too: the sound design is really good and some sounds have been added (along with new animations and effects) to help the player be aware of what is happening. For instance, when you drift and charge your boost bar, the tire will illuminate progressively to let you know when pressing the boost button. If you miss, a sound will also let you know that.
The customization is a really good new feature, that will be at its full potential during online races. And don’t worry about Wumpa coins, they are fairly easy to earn in order to unlock customization items 😉
It’s more than a feeling
Yup, it’s more than a feeling. It’s a great pleasure to devour this remade classic. This game took the best of the original and known how to anchor in its time. 20 years have passed, and we can see it. In a good manner. Thanks to the power of current-gen consoles, the game is gorgeous (even if the loading times are a bit long in my opinion), and now the trophy girls realized their dream: they became racers! Customization is here, and seasonal content too! The devs want to offer us the best long term experience, as they confirmed me that they are planning new content for players and will listen to the feedback of the community. After the launch, I am now thrilled about the Grand Prix mode, the first starting July 3rd.
The second Grand Prix, Back N. Time, will feature an alternative prehistoric reality where Fake Crash took the power after stealing N. Tropy’s stick. And our purple boy Spyro will come with the 3rd Grand Prix!
This game is awesome! I truly think it has the potential to be a long-running game, to be the kart racing game reference of the coming decade, particularly if it became the e-sport game it can be (the original game still has active leagues around the world, and in Europe some leagues are ready to compete on Nitro-Fueled!)
If you love the original game, get Nitro-Fueled! If you like racing games but never played the original, or if you like Mario Kart, give it a try! You won’t be disappointed!
What is your feeling about the game? Let us know in the comment section below!