Review: Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled

Credit: Activision

Hours played: 25+

Platform played on: Nintendo Switch

Did I like this game?/is it fun?: As an avid fan of the original Crash Team Racing for the first PlayStation console. This game brought back so many memories of fun times. I love this game simply because it’s exactly how I remember it as a child. I’ve probably played more Crash Team Racing than I have any Mario Kart game. With that said, I can confidently say that I very much enjoyed this game.

“Buzz Words”: Kart-Racing, Nostalgic, Couch Co-op, Party Game.

Description: CTR Nitro-Fueled is a faithful remake of the original PS1 title and some of the later games in the series developed by Beenox and published by Activision. In this reimagining, you can either play through the full game with only one character like the original, or you can fully customize a roster of twenty-five along with the major aspects of their karts. The tracks are varied with all of the details from old titles perfectly remade in HD, along with some funny new ones. On the appropriate difficulty settings, the game can be challenging enough to make you sweat, but not hard enough to keep it from being fun.

What I liked about the game: The game scratched an itch that I haven’t been able to scratch for a while. The previously remastered Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy was enjoyable, but it reminded me that I’m not as good as I once was (seriously, I don’t know how I beat those games as a kid). With CTR:NF, I felt like I knew exactly what I was doing, even playing on the Switch (the best way to play it, fight me). The controls were easy to pick up, especially if you’ve played before or have experience playing Mario Kart. The cartoonish graphical design still somehow manages to pack in a ton of detail. Take Crash’s face for instance, in the original game he had one facial expression (a terrifying one), but in the remake he has a full rotation of expressions based on what he’s doing (including a goofy concentration face with his tongue sticking out). Not to mention the individual hair follicles on each of the animalistic characters as well as the facial and head hair of Doctor Cortex. The customization of the characters and karts isn’t too in depth, but it’s on par with Mario Kart 8, which allows you to pick between a fair amount of karts, colors, stickers, as well as color variations of each character. Perhaps where the game shines the most is playing with others. Having a group of friends over or being at a family function can be transformed into a memorable experience with games like these.

What I disliked about the game: Finding things wrong with this game is going to be like grasping at straws but I can name a few. A problem I remember from the original is the small collection of crate power ups during races, which is still present. The boss races are strangely scripted by keeping the boss character from falling too far behind, no matter how far ahead you get they rubber-band and come back eventually. While it makes the race more tense, it just makes it feel like you did all of that amazing driving to get ahead for nothing. The challenges and unlockables are sorta dull and not worth going the extra mile for. While I said the difficulty can be just right, the difference between easy and normal is drastic, and if you aren’t good at the game the easy difficulty doesn’t even reward you the illusion of a challenge.

Recap: CTR: Nitro-Fueled is an insanely fun kart racing game that pulls on the nostalgia string in the right way. It’s a faithful reimagining of a classic game with some great additions to boot. The customization is good, the racing is fast, and the graphics are beautiful. The game has a few issues, though. The difficulty settings are a bit off, especially for people who are just looking for lazy fun. The boss race mechanics are wonky, but fun nonetheless. And the power ups are a little stale and unvaried. With all that said, the game is extremely fun and the childhood memories are in abundance.

Should YOU buy this game?: If you enjoyed the original games, you’ll enjoy this one as well. It’s frantic pace and competitive nature will make it a go to party game for years to come. I believe if you liked the original, are looking for a party game, or just want to lazily play an arcade-ish racer on easy, this game is for you. $40 for this game, however, is a bit much, I would say $30 is an appropriate price, but it’s still a must buy for fans of the series. I would refrain from purchasing the ultimate edition of the game for $60, twenty more dollars for just a few character skins, etc. just isn’t plausible enough. At least there aren’t any microtransactions, though. If you buy this game on the PlayStation 4, you get exclusive access to the retro tracks and character models (So cool! Bummer for other systems, though). Not considering the cool stuff you get for playing on PS4, the Switch is a great way to play the game. You can play on the go or just use handheld mode if someone else needs the tv.

Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled is available for PS4/Pro, Xbox One/X, and the Nintendo Switch.

Sorry for such a late post, vacation was calling my name!

Thanks for reading!

-Taylor E.


Review: Fallout New Vegas

credit: Bethesda Softworks/ZeniMax Media/Obsidian Entertainment

Hours played: 1000+

Platform played on: PS3, Xbox One X’s backwards compatibility, and PC (with mods of course).

Did I like this game? (i.e. is it fun?): Absolutely. I have loved this game since its release in 2010. I’ve beaten the game as many ways as possible, and maybe. . . Juuust maybe, have I tried to kill everyone I could possibly find. From a twelve year old boy to a twenty-one year old man (boy), I’ve enjoyed this game over and over and over again. So yes, Fallout: New Vegas is a very fun game.

Buzz Words”: Open-World, RPG, Player Choice, Post-Apocalypse, Sandbox.

Description: Fallout: New Vegas is a post-apocalyptic, retro-futuristic RPG developed by bits and pieces of the teams behind the two original Fallout titles, Interplay and Black Isle Studios. Now known as Obsidian Entertainment, on a one time deal with Bethesda Softworks so that BGS (Bethesda Game Studios) could work on the eventual titles The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Fallout 4. The game puts the player in the role of a courier delivering the most important of packages. A shot in the head later and you’re up and at em’ to do whatever you want. The Mohave Wasteland spans a trimmed down Las Vegas strip and a lot of its surrounding areas. You can join factions like the NCR, Caesar’s Legion, the Brotherhood of Steel, the Kings, or none of them! The four major story DLCs delve into the weird and wacky side of Obsidian’s story-telling, and round out the player character’s backstory all while adding more creatures to take down and different areas to explore.

What I liked about the game: The first thing I have to mention is the freedom to do whatever you want to do. The perk system from Fallout 3 returns (and so does everything else), along with a few new perks to spice up the gameplay (my personal favorite is the Wild Wasteland perk). This allows you to play however you choose, from a well-spoken wasteland messiah to a melee specialist who craves chaos and evil-doing. This plays into the dialog and the storytelling. Thanks to the writing prowess at Obsidian, the dialog is varied with dark and humorous overtones. In fact, it is so well crafted, you can barely notice that so many characters have the same voice actor. Another thing I’m fond of is the game world. Possibly the most noticeable thing about the world is the yellowish-brown tint, opposed to the green and grey tone of Fallout 3. This, to me, works in the games favor. Though I’m sure it’s due to technical limitations of the PS3 and the Xbox 360 (as well as the nine month work window and the god awful engine framework Bethesda gave Obsidian to work with, but I won’t speak on that). Anyhow, this gave the game a certain flavor, and even in the more colorful parts of the world like the conserved part of old Las Vegas’ main attraction The Strip, that yellow shade bled through to remind you of how desolate the world really is. The DLC in the game is also some of the best story-wise from all of Bethesda’s catalog. The game’s fourth and final DLC, Lonesome Road, brought a mysterious backstory to the player character that makes you feel like the importance of your character’s life didn’t start when the game started, but years before. I can’t review this game without mentioning the music. The ambient music is dark, atmospheric, and perfect for the world it inhabits (Also it was produced by Inon Zur!). The music presented from the radio stations is some of the most memorable from any game you’ll play. Classic hits from Dean Martin, Marty Robbins, Frank Sinatra, and Nat King Cole breathe life into this game. The music’s stark contrast from the game’s desolate feel is so opposite that it makes sense. Killing Super Mutants and Feral Ghouls to The Ink Spots works so well with the dark humor littered throughout the game. It fits the feel that even though the world is destroyed, there’s so much humanity left (to save or to torture). The last thing I want to touch on is the list of companions you can have follow you into battle. There are eight in total, all with their own special abilities. They aren’t able to be killed (by NPCs at least), and you can have two of them at a time (one humanoid and one non-humanoid). Different actions you take can change their behaviors towards you, and even make them turn on you (Goodness the memories). As you can tell, I’m quite fond of this game, so of course (for me) there’s a lot to like, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect.

(P.S. Play this game on hardcore, thank me later.)

What I disliked about the game: My largest gripe for this game is the gunplay. It’s clunky, unresponsive, and downright annoying at times. The VATS system is the saving-grace of the combat. It’s time-stopping mechanic slows down the pace to let you pick apart your enemies one shot at a time, and is a nostalgic reminder of the turn-based combat of older titles. Bethesda Game StudiosCreation Engine (then Gamebryo) isn’t too kind to gunplay. 2015’s sequel Fallout 4 has twice as good gunplay as F:NV, which isn’t saying much; for Fallout 4’s gunplay is only a tenth of the gunplay id Software’s DOOM (2016) has. When the game first released, it was a buggy mess (as all Bethesda titles start off as). Game-breaking bugs popped up 24/7, and though most of them were fixed, after nine years they still show up. If I were reviewing this game nine years ago, I’d rant about those pesky load times when entering and exiting buildings (on consoles at least). But man oh man, the Xbox One X‘s processing power eliminates those down to five seconds tops.

Recap: So yeah, this review is a few years late, but I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want a twelve year old telling you about his favorite game. Nevertheless, Bethesda handed off the franchise to some of its original creators; including famed story-writer and level designer (and lead writer on Fallout 2) Chris Avellone, who helped develop side quests and DLCs. The few that survived Interplay and Black Isle’s downfall grouped together to create Obsidian Entertainment. With nine months and a then modified thirteen year old engine, Obsidian created what is still considered to be the definitive Fallout experience. With its amazing storytelling, deep and varied player-choices, and long-awaited continuation of the two original games, Fallout: New Vegas perfectly crafts a true sandbox with a ton of weapons that might not work the best, great NPCs to live in a great story and world, and the right amount of jankiness to make the game lovable. There’s no wonder IGN ranked it at 28 on its list of the greatest RPG’s of all time. With Microsoft’s acquisition of Obsidian Entertainment, I’m more excited than ever for their Fallout: New Vegas spiritual successor The Outer Worlds, which releases this Fall.

Should YOU buy this game?: Nine years ago, I would have told you to buy this game immediately if you liked Fallout 3, even at $60. Even today I’d say purchase this game right now for full price, but I am biased. It’s well deserved bias, the game is so good that Bethesda got jealous and refused to give Obsidian a contractual pay bonus simply based off of a technicality (don’t quote me, I still love Bethesda). Anyways, should you buy this game now? It’s $10 for the base game and $20 for the Ultimate Edition. If you haven’t bought this game by now it might not be up your alley, or you’ve lived under a rock for ten years. With about 40 hours of just main story quests, and well over 100 hours of DLC, side quests, and exploration, $20 is a steal (and easy on your wallet); especially for those looking to buy a game with enough meat to keep them busy for weeks.

Fallout: New Vegas is available for PS3, Xbox 360, PlayStation’s PS Now streaming service, Xbox One’s/X’s backward compatibility, and Steam.

If you happen to read this, let me know if you’ve played this game before. Give me some feedback on how I reviewed it, whether you think I did a good job or if you absolutely hated my collection of words trying to convince you to buy a nine year old game. I’ll take whatever you say into consideration and try to incorporate it into my next review.

Thanks for reading!

-Taylor E.

A Little About The College Gamer

I’m sure you are used to the run of the mill game review, the out of 10 grade system (which works perfectly fine), but what you’ll be getting here at The College Gamer is a bit different. As a college student, I come to a crossroads at every major game release. Do I spend my hard earned money on this? I’m sure that’s a question you all ask yourselves.

Most big name sites review video games on some sort of number scale, which can be divisive at times. I may give a game a 6/10, but to you, it could be an 8/10. Because we might not enjoy the game in the same way, or someone might not enjoy the game at all.

I aim to simply tell you whether or not I enjoyed a game, what I liked/disliked about it, and if (in my own opinion) you should buy the game for yourself. I’ll also describe the game, tell you how many hours I’ve played the game, and give a list of buzz words in case you could care less about my description.

My first few reviews will be based on games I’ve played in the past. For example my first game review will be on Fallout: New Vegas, my personal favorite game of all time. After that, I’ll try to find a game that I’ve played a ton of that isn’t really all that well put together like Mafia III or Agents of Mayhem.

See you next time! (Well hopefully)