Why I’m glad I did not spend money on Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled.

This past week, the publisher of Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled, Activision, gave Nintendo Switch owners a free trial of the full game. As a longtime fan of Mario Kart, I heard good things and gave it a try.

What I didn’t expect was the atrocious load times to follow the game. Every transition in and out of races was plagued with lengthy loading times. It bordered on the loading times of Sonic 06 and I’m surprised people never talked about it. Honestly, it’s inexcusable.

On one hand, Crash Team Racing is an HD remake of a PlayStation racing game. People compare it favorably to Mario Kart. Part of that comes from its skill-based gameplay. Crash Team Racing will not hold your hand with Bullet Bills or comeback items to soar you into the lead. You have your items but it relies more on skilled timing on drifts and punishing players who fall behind.

On the other hand, the fact that you have to sit through boring loading screens as frequently as you do indicates just why CTR will never be as successful as Mario Kart. Nintendo has perfected the art of pacing by limiting the load times on its most successful games.

I would much rather stay playing Mario Kart and risk getting popped by a Blue Shell than play an imitator that suffers from bugs. Being the niche favorite doesn’t make it a better game and it stands to reason why Mario Kart remains the king of its genre.

Crash Team Racing has been out for a year and a half. The devs had the option to patch the title and improve the loading times and have chosen not to. Even Spyro Reignited Trilogy, a remake compilation featuring another PlayStation icon, received noteworthy patches when the game suffered from its own bugs. I’m disappointed in the title and I’m grateful this trial kept me from purchasing it. In the meantime, I might give Team Sonic Racing a try sometime.

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