Overall - 50%
Doritos Crash Course 2 is the junk food of games -- cheap, easy to consume, and ultimately unsatisfying.
If their advertising campaigns are anything to go by, the world of video games and Doritos go together like peanut butter and chocolate. Not content with their rule over Taco Bell, these heavily processed corn chips have fused with gaming once again in the complimentary XBLA title Doritos Crash Course 2. Free is nice, but is this one vice worth partaking in?
Rather than base the game around chips and chip-based accessories, the premise of Doritos Crash Course 2 is more akin to the stunt-filled antics of Wipeout, American Ninja Challenge, and MXC. Xbox Avatars run from one part of the stage to another, engaging in platforming antics and running like hell to reach the goal before their rivals. It’s a simple premise, but the fact that so many shows and games already cover this territory is both a boon and a bust. It’s a time-tested formula, sure, but its also a well-tread ground others have done much better.
One would say that Doritos Crash Course 2 should get a free pass due to it being free, but the devil lies in the details. The game proper is free, but those hoping to make the most of the game will be sorely disappointed in its free-to-play nature. Taking a page from countless cell phone and Facebook games, unlocking new stages is a tedious task that requires hours of repetition…or a wallet full of Microsoft Points. This also applies to the power-ups (or “Jinxes”) in the game, which give those with a fat wallet a distinct advantage over more frugal gamers. Perhaps the worst paygate comes in the form of “Rewinds,” which offer a temporary amount of do-overs that you always need to buy more of. In this sense, those with the biggest bank account win.
This could all be excused if the core gameplay in Doritos Crash Course 2 was solid, but its wonky physics and simple mechanics damper each race. For a game based on speed, trying to utilize floaty controls while dodging obstacles makes for a tiring practice. There was one stage element in particular that I kept dying at a good five times, only to realize that the best way around was through a pay gate — another bad sign. Despite only using half the buttons on the gamepad, the jumping, sliding, and running mechanics don’t work as they should, resulting in many accidental deaths.
Should Doritos Crash Course 2 get a free pass since it’s on the house? No matter the cost, a mediocre game is still a mediocre game. To make matters worse, the original Doritos Crash Course (which does not have F2P features) has since been removed from the XBLA marketplace. Much like Doritos themselves, Doritos Crash Course 2 will leave you empty, regretful, and ultimately unsatisfied.
Doritos Crash Course 2 is the junk food of games — cheap, easy to consume, and ultimately unsatisfying.