Review – Crash Drive 3
A little bit of research on the Crash Drive franchise showed me that they are mainly mobile games developed by M2H Games, the same people behind the World War I shooter Tannenberg. I was interested on Crash Drive 3 for its emphasis on vehicular combat, a nostalgic genre for me, which hasn’t seen a lot of new titles over the past… decades or so. Having this mainly mobile game released on consoles (and new-gen consoles for that matter) was odd, especially considering they require an upfront payment unlike their iOS/Android counterparts. I had to check it out and see if, somehow, a game made with phones in mind would be able to take any advantages of the Xbox Series S/X consoles in any way, shape, or form.
In short, it doesn’t. Crash Drive 3 still looks and sounds like a simple phone game on a big screen, with the only noticeable improvements being slightly fast loading times and a handful of decent textures onscreen. By and large, it still looks basically like an average-at-best Xbox 360 game. Also, its soundtrack is comprised of short loops repeated every twenty seconds or so, which wouldn’t make too much of a difference on mobile, where you would probably play it on mute, but would drive anyone insane in minutes on a big screen. Even if, technically speaking, Crash Drive 3 failed to impress me and give a reason to justify it having an actual next-gen port, it disappointed me even more with its gameplay loop.
Crash Drive 3 is less of a proper vehicular combat game and more of a bizarre multiplayer-focused party game with cars, a collection of small minigames centered around driving your car around small maps and completing a handful of objectives before the timer runs out. Doing so rewards you with money and experience points, which can be exchanged for new cars and improvements on your current ride’s stats, respectively.
In theory, this idea isn’t bad. It’s a party game where you’re supposed to fool around with cars while performing tricks in a pseudo Tony Hawk kind of way. The problem lies in how these mechanics are implemented. Not to mention how this whole party-focused aspect directly goes against the mandatory exploration you need to perform in order to unlock new maps and features. No matter whether you’re playing the game online or offline, the game will always throw random minigames at you, leaving little room to breathe or do things at your own pace.
In order to unlock new maps, you need to “collect” a handful of rings scattered throughout your current map. They are not hard to reach, usually only requiring a ramp and a turbo boost. But given how Crash Drive 3 never stops throwing a new party minigame at you, you will either have to plain ignore what the game actually wants you to focus on and then mind your own business, or spend a mere thirty seconds in between minigames, hoping that you’ll be close enough to a ring to collect it. To make matters worse, you will also need to spend a huge amount of money on a new map once you fulfill the previous requirement to unlock it. You do get a lot of cash per minigame, making this a non-issue, but it’s still a nuisance regardless.
The problem with these minigames is that they’re fun for one or two runs. There aren’t many of them and they aren’t very creative. They range from your run-of-the-mill high score showdown to a game of tag, either against other players or by tagging objects in the map whenever you perform a trick involving them. Given how the vast majority of these objects are ramps, all you’ll need to do is boost on top of them. Weirdly enough, if you decide to play by yourself, you’ll still be “forced” to play these games, but against nobody else.
I can sum up my experience with Crash Drive 3 in one word: “why”. Why was this released on next-gen consoles when this game is basically a port of a mobile game (which can be acquired for free, mind you)? Why did it not take advantage of improved hardware to boost its visuals or framerate? It’s not terrible, but it’s oh so boring and uninspired. This might be the closest to a vehicular combat alternative for Xbox Series S/X players due to the PS5 exclusivity over Destruction AllStars, but that doesn’t make it a must-have for fans of the genre either.
It has some occasionally decent textures, but Crash Drive 3 looks excessively simplistic. By no means it takes advantage of next-gen hardware, both in terms of visuals and framerates.
The driving mechanics don’t feel very polished, but you can get used to them after a while, especially when you upgrade your cars’ handling. The majority of the minigames included in here are simple to play, but beyond basic and repetitive.
Just a handful of short loops repeated ad nauseum from beginning to end. Obviously it gets repetitive pretty quickly.
Fun Factor: 4.5
The core idea is fun, but poorly executed. Crash Drive 3‘s annoying cooldowns in between minigames are a hindrance for the mandatory exploration required to unlock new areas. It’s also really repetitive and grindy.
Final Verdict: 4.5
Crash Drive 3 is available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, Switch, PC, and mobile.
Reviewed on Xbox Series S.
A copy of Crash Drive 3 was provided by the publisher.