Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is a solid remake of a classic PlayStation kart racer, topped off with an abundance of additional characters, tracks, and other welcome additions like cosmetic customisation. As a package it's impressively robust, but if there's one criticism we'd be quick to level at Nitro-Fueled, it's that the online multiplayer is rather underwhelming.
Don't get us wrong, you can spend hours and hours racing with friends or testing the skills of strangers, but the online multiplayer could still be a lot better than it currently is. As such, we've put together a list of seven improvements that we'd love to see happen.
Decrease the waiting time between races
This is probably our biggest peeve with playing Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled online. Simply put, it takes too long to actually get into a race. While matching up with other players is straightforward, the fact that you then have to wait roughly a minute for the timer to countdown seems unnecessary. Even when the next track has been decided and everyone's ready, you've still got a full 30 seconds before things kick off.
And by kick off, we mean jump straight into a loading screen that takes another 20 to 30 seconds or so, depending on the track. But the real kicker here is that some tracks in Nitro-Fueled are very short -- especially if you're up against an especially skilled player -- and so it feels like you sometimes spend as much time waiting for the race to begin as you do actually racing.
Surely the flow of multiplayer racing can be more efficient than this?
Anyone who's played more than a handful of online races in Nitro-Fueled has got to agree with us on this one. It's abundantly clear that players of vastly differing skill levels are constantly plopped into the same lobbies as one another, resulting in seriously lopsided races. It's not uncommon to see one experienced player run away with race after race after race while everyone else barely has enough time to finish three laps. Matchmaking is undeniably wonky.
Which leads us neatly into our third point...
There needs to be some kind of ranking system
It's a bit weird that Nitro-Fueled doesn't have any sort of ranking system when it comes to online multiplayer. There's no way to tell how good your opponents actually are at the game until you're tyre-to-tyre with them on the track. Look at just about any popular competitive multiplayer game on PS4 and you'll probably find that they have a way of tracking how experienced or skilled each and every player is -- so why isn't there something similar here?
How about levels? Titles? Ranks? If we had any of these, maybe we'd end up with better matchmaking as well, since there'd be a clear way to determine who should be racing who based on skill.
More Wumpa Coins for everyone
The Wumpa Coin system is needlessly convoluted, and definitely a bit stingy. As pointed out by our guide on the subject, you get Wumpa Coin bonuses for playing online, and you get even more for the first 30 minutes of online racing that your do per day. Now, we don't mind daily bonuses and stuff like that, but it gets to a point where playing beyond that first 30 minutes feels like a slog.
The amount of Wumpa Coins that you get per race is simply too low. Rarer characters, karts, and decals can be expensive, and saving for them often means that you'll be spending hours grinding through countless online races. Add dodgy matchmaking to the mix, and less experienced players are earning even fewer Wumpa Coins because they can't compete for the top spots. It's an unnecessarily brutal economy.
Fix the bugs
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is a technically solid release, but hopping online does seem to unearth a number of annoying bugs. Graphical glitches aren't necessarily a problem -- we've all seen character models break and stretch into eternity, right? -- but a suite of smaller gameplay issues add up really quickly.
For one, the weapon lock on indicator often seems busted when playing online. A lot of the time, it won't show the proper distance between you and the incoming missile or warp orb, making it incredibly hard to judge the point of impact.
And then there are the connection bugs. There are times when the game doesn't seem to know how to deal with players who leave during a race, and so everyone else is replaced with computer controlled bots. We've been forced into races with bots before, but after beating them, we've been shown podiums made up of other players -- players who weren't even in our game to begin with. Weird.
All in all, things really need smoothed out online.
Give us online tournaments
It's a bit of a shame that Nitro-Fueled's online component doesn't feature a tournament mode. We're getting into more optimistic territory here, but the option to play multiple races, back to back, with other people, would be a great addition.
Anything can happen in a single race, but racking up points across four different tracks? May the best bandicoot win.
Let us bring a friend online with a split screen option
Yep, we know this one's wishful thinking, but we're sure that a lot of people would appreciate the option to play Nitro-Fueled online with a couch companion. Now, this is something that's probably a lot harder to implement than we'd like to think, but split screen multiplayer is such an integral part of any kart racer's DNA.
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled already has great options when it comes to playing offline split screen, and so it'd be nice to see that concept make the jump online -- even if it's just two pals facing off against the world.
How would you improve Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled's online offering? Do you agree with our points? Rev up those engines in the comments section below.
A brutal economy huh?
Well we all know how Activision would like to fix that...
How about no power ups mode? most of the times you lose a race cuz of those damn rockets etc, it can get frustrating...
More wumpa coins and dedicated servers already! Word up son!
I definitely think matchmaking needs improved, almost every single race there is a single person who is 30 seconds ahead of the next closest person, I am not taking away from their skill but I kind of like having a chance to win too, a new player getting pummeled like that would probably put them off from the online.
Well I'm just hoping that this game does good enough so they can make a new one in the same vein as this one with a much better online multiplayer and no need for online to get wumpa coins
I only play online for the Wumpa Coins, so I don't really care about winning, especially since I get more coins from 4th than I do in 2nd (Why?). But I do agree with the article. If you're not playing with the bonuses, Wumpa Coins come too low.
Some skill level would be nice. Nearly every race I've played, there's someone who leads by a large margin. I was once lapped over despite being in 2nd place. I've only won 2 races so far, one because everyone else disconnected except for one weaker player.
@MrWick's idea of a no power ups setting is good too, for anyone who actually wants to test their skill, since like Smash Bros. it's hard to gauge skill with random items hindering players. I've also had plenty of experience getting hit with items right as I get over a pit, causing me to fall and lose time. If you do want to win, that is the most frustrating thing ever.
@DerMeister You get different amounts of Wumpa Coins depending on what track you're racing on.
Agreed with most of the ideas. But the most basic thing needed for this game are dedicated servers. Most of these online glitches and bugs occurs because of laggy P2P connection between 8 different players. Dedicated servers would drastically improve collisions, thus allowing us to have 12-player or no weapon matches. About ranking system - I agree it is much needed and should be very complex for efficient matchmaking. But I wouldn't like it to be public and thus allowing for perma whining about each other's "power-level". Should just work in the background, seasonal Grand Prixes are for strut.
Fistful of additional improvements:
1. Custom cups
2. Custom weapon setting in private lobbies (allowing for private no weapon matches)
3. Custom leagues
4. Team racing in the sense of every place getting specific number of points contributting to team score like it is in real life F1 etc.; customisable size of team - 2, 3, 4 and 5 or 6 players in the team if 12-player races added
5. Ability to disable specific skin's miniature on local display - seriously, it's really confusing when you don't know or remember how every skin looks like and thus can't easly tell the class of your opponent. This is especially true with trophy girls looking very similar to each others.
@snakemake A team racing mode's not a bad idea. I don't think Sonic Team Racing is as good as Crash, but the team mechanics in that are actually pretty cool.
@snakemake I don't think Activision even use dedicated servers for Call of Duty so CTR is probably unlikely.
Micro transactions please. 😉😉😉.
On the time between races also let us set it longer if enough in the lobby want to
I am HAPPY this has 4 player split-screen modes Not tried it yet tho waiting for people to come over still But this Gen and last Gen split-screen has been rubbish really :-/ Like why can't 4 local split-screen players play online to and in other games we could have 4 player split-screen story modes in COD and things like that but it's all online BS Oh well hopefully someone will destroy the internet one day and game makers will go back to making fun split-screen games
It feels like they spent so much time on the offline modes like adventure mode etc that they only half heartedly did the online multiplayer. Very disappointed ☹️.
Offline/single player is only useful to me as a tutorial before diving into online multiplayer player bliss - at least with Mario kart 8 it was like this for me.
Hope they implement a ranking system!
The online mode is really quite frustrating, it would be nice to have some kind of system so higher ability players weren't smashing through the less capable CTR racers. The coins are really hard to accumulate unless you play online, it would be good to have a more clear way of knowing which tracks or battles give the best coins, that way if you don't want to play online you can still build up a decent amount of coins.
I also think the adventure mode could do with a few tweaks, like things to actually collect whilst driving round areas between races. I love looking for things and collecting stuff, even if it was more coins you could find throughout adventure mode in boxes. It would also be cool if the customization you do to your kart actually improved performance, even if only marginally. Don't get me wrong I love this aspect of the game, but sitting and picking your wheels, stickers and karts would be made more interesting if certain wheels increased or decreased specific parts of your performance (like if you have the bandabuggy for example, it will improve your handling by 1 point but decrease speed, giving you more to think of when you build your kart).
I do love this game but a few glitches are starting to take the fun away, like being blasted 5/6 times when you're in 1st place and ending up off the track. If you've been hit once by a missile or something else you shouldn't then be able to be blasted by everyone else as well, you cant do anything to prevent it or move out of the way, so everyone just blasts you like crazy and flies out in front leaving you desperately trying to catch back up. 1 or 2 hits would be fair at once.
That may just be me though! I just wish online was a bit more fair and less of a frenzy where you are desperately trying not to be blown up at every turn while 1 person is 30 seconds ahead of the rest.
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