Release Date: May 8th, 2013
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Genre: Action & Adventure, Platformer
Rated: E for Everyone
Doritos Crash Course 2, successor to the smash hit Doritos Crash Course where you will race through four new worlds, navigating the convoluted courses as you sprint, jump, and slide your way to the finish line in this nod to Wipeout. Does this XBLA title deserve a gold medal? Or will it simply crash and burn?
In the main game mode, World Tour, you have four different locales to choose from with 5 tracks available and two “coming soon” (by the time of this review) to race in. Completing races and accumulating Course Stars, which serve as in-game currency, unlock more tracks. Each race (besides the first one) requires a set amount of stars to unlock. You will be shown the course in its entirety so you can know what to expect, but it takes nearly a minute. That may not sound too bad, but after the second or third time it becomes redundant, luckily you have to option to skip the entire thing.
You race against 3 bots, each with different difficulty settings: expert, intermediate and easy. If you happen to mess up a part of the race you can quickly restart at the last checkpoint you passed, resetting the traps and hazards in exchange for some lost time. There are 16 stars throughout the course itself with some inaccessible at first, and depending on what position you place at the end, 10 stars for 3rd, 15 for 2nd, and 20 for 1st. Also, for a chance to get more stars each race has 3 Course Bonus Objectives to complete; challenges ranging from performing certain moves like slide jumping to keeping an opponent on-screen during the entire race provides nice little twists to the standard race. But be careful, if you place in last you will not collect any stars, meaning you’ll have to miss some stars to place in the top 3.
On top of getting the most possible stars for placing first you will be rewarded with Coins and various upgrades like Rewind that allows you to reverse everything since the last checkpoint without sacrificing time. Coins are another currency option you have to further advance, but these are a bit rare and are given in much small quantities compared to acquiring the plentiful stars. There is a problem with the Coins, though I’ll get back to it in a moment.
At first the obstacles you face are simple and easy to overcome that is until a couple of more races where you must combine speed, a keen eye, precise timing , and lots of practice to avoid the increasing number of traps and pitfalls. If you ever find yourself having trouble getting pass a part of a course, you will eventually be given the option to skip it and start at the next check point, but you will not be able to place anywhere in the top 3. There will be a point where after a while you’ll be barely getting enough stars per race until you just can’t afford the next one.
Now for the aforementioned problem regarding the Coins, and this is might be a huge issue for some: you can purchase Coins with real life money. So basically you can just pay to unlock all the courses right away. And if that’s the case, if someone does go this insane route of giving a free game real money then the whole purpose of World Tour is completely ruined. Where’s the drive to even press forward and ultimately conquer these fun, and mostly, well designed courses if all of them are unlocked?!
Paying is not required at all, if you persevere and re-attempt courses and collect all the stars you can you’ll be able to progress. But this in turn makes World Tour less fun as it just feels like you’re out on a chore rather than competing in a fun obstacle course as you reattempt courses, not for the fun, but simply out of necessity! If you only had to run the course once or twice it wouldn’t be a problem, but unfortunately the repetitive nature of the game rears its ugly head just a little bit too soon.
After making us redo these courses to collect the remaining stars this brings up the biggest design flaw: THERE’S NO RESTART RACE OPTION!! I’m guessing that the developer figured that the checkpoint restart and rewind power-up is supposed to replace this feature altogether. But if we’re expected to redo the same race over and over again in the tedious task of earning enough stars in increasingly difficult courses that you’ll more than likely mess up badly without hours of practice, you know full well gamers expect a dang restart race option!
That was World Tour, but what about Time trial and the multiplayer? Not much really, but there is some fun to be had. Time trial has you competing against your friend’s ghost Avatar, a recorded manifestation, as you set out to prove which one of you is the fastest. But this feature is rendered almost pointless as you can race your friends for real in online or local multiplayer matches.
The multiplayer simply pits you against 3 friends or strangers while the adrenaline of being first is the only focus. In the end players may actually have more fun just participating in a race against regular folks then getting frustrated with the World Tour collect-o-thon and competing against a bot that navigates the course almost flawlessly. There was one instance where I placed second in an online match after clearly crossing the finish line first, but that was a onetime thing, hopefully BHVR will patch it up.
The presentation of the game is well done. Each world has colorful and nicely detailed backgrounds, accompanied by some pretty catchy tunes, with that said it’s just on par and nothing too remarkable to note, except that the music will occasionally skip like a broken record for a moment or two. The controls are simple and the moves are easily mastered within a couple of tries. Once the difficulty picks up the real fun is being able to put those same moves to dodge intricate hazards.
Doritos Crash Course 2 is fun, while being undoubtedly flawed. World Tour is where you will spend most of your time as it provides the most content, but once you’re finished the last race there is almost no incentive to go back unless you’re a completionist after your precious achievements. Multiplayer serves its purpose, though you won’t be suggesting it for game night with your buddies when Black Ops II and Halo 4 still dominate online and local. The fact that the options to include some sort of shortcut by paying real money for virtual coins in a free arcade game is almost baffling while the absence of a simple retry option is equally questionable. Overall, for a free arcade title you surprisingly get quite a bit entertainment with some design flaws on the side. If you don’t mind a little frustration and repetitiveness this game deserves a look at.
Overall Rating: 3.5