Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled made a pretty big splash when it came out earlier this year. Apart from bringing back a great kart racer, it added a treasure-trove of online features and events. Of course, it was all ruined by adding microtransactions and jacking up prices in the in-game store.
Leaving aside the whole “microtransactions are the spawn of Satan” thing for a moment, we need to talk about these events.
Crash Team Racing has been running Grands Prix since the game came out. Each one has a different theme and allows you to unlock three new characters as well as new karts, unique accessories, and a fresh map. The latest one was just announced to be starting on November 8th, dubbed the Neon Circus Grand Prix.
These events are actually pretty cool in isolation. Basically, over the course of approximately a month, players can engage in specific challenges. These challenges, such as collecting 50 crates or using 20 missiles, reward the player with nitro points. As nitro-points are gained, a nitro gauge fills up, giving the player different rewards from skins to characters.
Admittedly, the idea is awesome. You get new content coming into the game regularly, and gamers are encouraged to keep playing. If you ignore the microtransactions, in fact, these Grands Prix have added a lot to the game. Maybe too much.
Okay, so very rarely is new content a bad thing. The issue here is just how often they’re happening. Each time a Grand Prix finishes, a new one is inevitably announced to start a week or so later. On the one hand, this means that the content never stops coming. On the other, there is absolutely no time to rest at all if you don’t want to miss out on the new content.
Being a Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled player at this point has actually gotten exhausting. You pretty much have to play consistently throughout the month to acquire everything. This is partially because there’s a special reward for placing in the top 5% of players.
But mostly it’s because the “pit stop” store rotates Grand Prix items and charges far too much for most things.
The prices were inflated as soon as the microtransaction came into play, surprise, surprise. So now you have basically two options:
The fact that the store rotates items isn’t bad when taken on its own merits. Combine it with inflated prices and limited-run items, and it turns what should be a fun kart-racing experience into a grindy mess that only exists to get more and more money for Activision. At least they haven’t tried to turn the franchise into a crappy mobile version, like other studios.
The least they could do is give us all a break from the Grands Prix for a while. But they won’t, obviously. How would they make all the money in the world that way?