A cross-play multiplayer stunt game, Crash Drive 3 is a playground of flips and explosions but lacks that final touch of polish. The Finger Guns Review.
Forgive me for starting this review with an analogy: Crash Drive 3 is the video game equivalent of the Fast & Furious movie series. It involves cars doing things that real cars could never do. The physics that are in play are unrealistic but allow for bombastic stunts. There’s the occasional tank. It’s big, dumb, “take your brain out and just enjoy it” fun but it won’t be for everyone. There’s no need to have played the previous instalments to enjoy the spectacle of it all. Unfortunately, Crash Drive 3 doesn’t star a bald man constantly talking about family.
Crash drive 3 is a multiplayer stunt game set within 5 large arenas you’re free to roam around in. These areas each have their own thematic feel and stunt enabling structures. The aim of the game is to pull off stunts or compete in optional events which will take place around the arena. The events, each of which lasts just a few minutes, rotate with a short timer between them and will happen even if you don’t choose to participate. Don’t fancy this next event? Just keep on free roaming and exploring till your heart’s content.
The game does incentivise taking part in events as well as exploring through free roam. Every player will start the game in the forest arena. This is the most accommodating and easy to use area with plenty of ramps set in and around a castle for the player to get used to the game. In order to progress to other areas, the player must drive through at least 8 of the 10 rings set around each arena. These are situated in specific places which push the player to really jet about each level, like set high over ramps or above pieces of scenery.
Even when you’ve hit 8 of the 10 rings, you’ll still need to rack up some cash in order to progress. There’s an entrance fee for each new area which gets progressively more expensive. You’re rewarded with a small boost of cash for each stunt you manage to land around the arenas. The bigger and better the stunt, the more cash you’re awarded; a double back flip with a 360 spin will award much more than just getting your car in the air for some hang time. To really boost up the cash flow though, it’s best to participate in the revolving series of events. Do well in these events and you’ll really start to rake in the money.
The events in Crash Drive 3 come in a wide variety of different types, each of which tests the group of players participating in a different way. These are;
- Stunt matches – The aim here is to rack up as many points as possible in the time limit or to hit a points total before the timer runs out.
- Races – A checkpoint race set around the arena where the aim is to be the first person to pass through the last checkpoint.
- Beach Ball matches – My least favourite event, here a giant beach ball spawns on the map and the aim is to drive into it in order to pop it. The more damage to the ball you dish out, the higher you stand on the rankings.
- Find The Ring matches – Those 10 rings I mentioned earlier? In these events, one of those rings turns blue and it’s then a race to be the first to drive through the target.
- Collect events – In the collect events, bronze, silver and gold coins fall to the ground all over the arena which are worth 10, 25 or 50 points. Collect more points than anyone else before the time runs out and you’ll win.
- Tag Events – Here you’re challenged to perform stunts over ramps and pieces of the environment. Land a stunt and you’ll tag it as your own. Tag more than anyone else and you’ll come out victorious.
- Cops & Robbers – As you might expect given the name, players are separated into cops that have to chase down and hit the robbers.
- King of the Hill events – An area is highlighted which awards points while you’re inside it – but everyone is vying for control of the area.
- King of the Crown events – A crown spawns which grants the holder points – but get rammed and the crown transfers to the attacking player.
Some of these events take a different format when Crash Drive 3 is played online or in the optional offline mode. In the single player offline mode, Cops and Robbers, King of The Hill and King of The Crown events are frozen out. Every other event sets a target score to beat rather than featuring a leader board.
These events also feel different to participate in depending on the arena you’re currently in. Each arena offers something a little different, shaping the matches in different ways. The forest arena is full of ramps and opportunities to get big air while the icy map has reduced friction and a partly frozen lake (which, admittedly, doesn’t really slow you down). The canyon map has a number of ramps but there’s linked gentries suspended by balloons which can be used to get massive air time. The final map of Crash Drive 3 which is set on the moon has far fewer ramps than any other area but has reduced gravity. Even a hill can make for a decent launch pad with enough speed here.
While hunting down the 10 rings and the ever changing events should be enough to keep most players busy, there are area specific ambient activities you can play around with too. Boxes of cash randomly spawn around each area – run into them first and you’ll net a nice bonus. In the forest, there are catapults that can fling your car through the air (does that make them car-apults?) and a small football pitch to play around on. Under the water in the icy map is a bowling ball and some pins to knock down. On the moon, there are aliens and UFOs you can crash into. Each player has a set of challenges to complete like earning X amount of points in a single stunt or hitting X environmental objects in a particular area. While not exactly deep or engrossing, these aspects do help to build up the structure and wacky character of Crash Drive 3.
Which leads to the first real complaint – a lack of consistency and polish in the game arenas. There’s environmental objects set around each area and the first time you crash into them, there’s a 50/50 chance that it’ll move or you’ll simply crash into it. Take the forest area for example – road signs that are buried into the ground via posts and tree trunks will pop right off when driven into but wheeled carts act like tanks made of lead, stopping you in your tracks. Some ramps, especially in the canyon area, have invisible snags which jam up your vehicles despite looking like a smooth run up. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve crashed into or got wedged into a rock face and had to fight to get the car free. I gave up a few times and restarted the game instead. While much of the level design is there to give the player a thrilling and stunt filled experience, there are a few aspects of each zone that feel either poorly thought out or needed to be tweaked.
Which brings us to an interesting part of this Crash Drive 3 review – the tank battles. When you reach the tropical map in this game, you’re granted access to a tank. This vehicle is only available on this map and is used during specific events. In tank battles, every competitor is transported to a flying platform up in the sky. Here, you’re pitted against one another to shoot, ram or otherwise bungle each other off the platform. Vanquish the other tanks and you’re awarded points. Whomever has the most points at the end of a match wins.
The first time I tried the tank battles in Crash Drive 3, I was not a fan. Prior to release, these matches were against AI bot opponents because there was obviously no one else to play against online. These bots are very odd to play against. They’ll drive to the edge of a platform and kind of spin in place or turn much quicker than a player can. That doesn’t mean they’re difficult to play against however – they’re incredibly stupid and sometimes simply ignored me as a repeatedly blasted them off the map. Coupled with the fact that there’s no way to independently turn the turret, forcing the player to turn the whole tank to fire off a shell, meant I was not impressed.
With other players though, the tank battles in Crash Drive 3 are fun. Sure, they’re not anywhere near as in-depth or enjoyable as dedicated tank combat games (except for maybe Tanks vs Tanks which is plain awful) but they are a pleasant diversion and another feather in the cap of a game that has already got quite a lot of content to enjoy.
It’s a shame that this content isn’t better presented then. It’s important to remember that Crash Drive 3 is a cross-play title across PS5 (on which I played it), PS4, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PC and mobile platforms. I imagine the latter of these certainly limits the game’s visual style which is colourful but lacking in detail. On PS5, the image is crisp and the frame rate runs smoothly but certain aspects of the environment look a little dated.
The same can be said about the soundtrack. Whenever an event begins in Crash Drive 3, a song starts to play. All of these tunes, regardless of the event or area, sound like generic easy listening rock music. It’s totally inoffensive but it’s also entirely forgettable.
Of course, none of this would matter if the handling of the vehicles was poor. Thankfully, developers M2H have nailed this aspect of Crash Drive 3. There’s a plethora of vehicles you can buy and drive in this game from bangers to monster trucks, muscle cars to camper vans and each handles slightly differently. You can scope out how each vehicle performs from a stats screen which displays aspects like speed, boost and mobility (each of which can be improved by spending more cash). Once you’re in the driver’s seat (figuratively – there’s no internal vehicle camera angle) you can really feel how each car moves. The physics employed here are far from realistic, akin to a lighter, more mobile version of the handling in Rocket League, but they are sure fun to play around in. Leave the end of a ramp and you can spin or flip with a tweak on the thumb stick. The boost here is very accommodating too. Managed via a gauge that quickly refills after a second of inactivity, it can really power you around the arenas.
I began this review by comparing Crash Drive 3 to the Fast & Furious series. Like so many others, I like the dumb popcorn action of the Torreto family, much like I liked my time with this game. They’re both big, bombastic series that have evolved over time complete with high octane action and easily ignored flaws. Sure, it’s not the prettiest game, the soundtrack is unremarkable and it’s rough around the edges. None of that really matters though when you’re landing a quadruple backflip over a train or blasting your friend off the map for the 4th consecutive time. It’s fun. That’s what matters. Oh, and family. Obviously.
Crash Drive 3 might be rough round the edges but it’s a content filled playground of stunt ramps, loop-de-loops and tank battles that’s worth a look. Played alone it’s plainly average but with friends, the game comes alive and thanks to cross-play, it doesn’t matter what platform they’re using. It’s big, it’s dumb and it’s regularly exhilarating. This entry is real growth for a series that is coming into its own.
Crash Drive 3 is available now on PS5 (review playform), PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X, PC, Nintendo Switch and mobile platforms.
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a promotional copy of the game. For our full review policy, please go here.
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