There’s a very simple reason why so many remakes and remasters have been released in recent years: to be as good as the old classics, you literally have to be the old classics.
For the most part, they’ve been a huge hit, especially in 2018 Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy by Toys for Bob – a game so brilliantly executed that the developer was rewarded with a chance to continue the story with a fourth installment.
Horrified to see the franchise slowly collapsing like a flan in a closet, fans suffered with games like twin sanity, Crash of the Titansand Think Mutant. You’ve waited 22 years for the real thing crash bandicoot 4. And by God, it was worth the wait.
Through the gentle combination of old and new, crash 4 gives today’s players a revamped and thorough update of a proven formula, while giving the most ardent Crash fans a challenge like no other. For this reason – and for so many other reasons – the appropriate title Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time perhaps the best Crash of all time and one of the best platformers of modern times.
An incomparable first impression
Everyone who pre-ordered crash bandicoot 4 received early demo access to three levels of the game on September 17th. With this strategy, Activision missed a huge opportunity: If it offered everyone the game’s first level to try out — not just to a playerbase that already deposited money — it would have been guaranteed to double its pre-orders and make countless more sales across the board.
crash 4 makes a stunning first impression. In the first ten minutes, the game combines a long, constantly evolving landscape with numerous mechanics and half a dozen camera angles, showcasing all the elements that made it Crash BandicootIt’s so wonderfully over.
It also gives you a taste – but only a taste – of what to expect during the game. Graphics are smooth and incredibly detailed; lighting is exceptional; the color scheme is less garish but still bright and attractive; the camera is more flexible, reactive and predictive; Changing perspectives never disrupts the flow of the game. It’s stage management worthy of a Tony.
Most importantly, little flourishes make Crash’s dominance feel like a living, breathing world. Whether it’s a few scurrying rats, a flickering light behind a window, or a particularly well-curated, totally unnecessary flower display a few yards from the pitch, it all feels like it matters, even when it doesn’t. Crash himself gets the biggest makeover: he now has in-game facial expressions and reactionary body movements that give the wordless protagonist more character than ever before.
The first phase also fits perfectly into the story: Neo Cortex and N. Tropy, who were banished to a prison-like dimension after the events of Crash Bandicoot: Distorted, use Uka Uka to escape and launch an attack on the entire multiverse. Thankfully, Crash, Coco and other special guests aim to save the day by reuniting four quantum masks that will warp reality in all-new, incredible, and game-defining ways. As soon as you get your first mask, you just know that the game is going to be devilish, but in the best possible way.
Something old, something new
Before you get down to business crash bandicoot 4 asks you if you want retro or modern rules. The first is simple: you have the classic life charge, which refills every time you collect 100 wumpa fruit, and once they’re depleted, you start the level over. However, the modern mode dispenses with the life system entirely, and the wumpa fruit becomes currency in a different way.
With this approach, Toys for Bob achieves the seemingly impossible: whichever mode you choose, it doesn’t alter the game’s difficulty or rewarding dynamic. Three of the six Completion Gems for each level are tied to Wumpa Fruit percentages; one is hidden; another is linked to level deaths, which now have their own counter; and there’s the classic 100% crate rule.
The dual option is undoubtedly below crash 4‘s much longer levels, which is perhaps the greatest strength of the new outing. They present a greater challenge to retro players, while those new to the series won’t feel cheated of the carefully curated experience of each stage.
Luckily, Retro Mode strikes a balance with more wumpa fruit: checkpoints give apples, jump crates double their usual load, and the peachy wonder food is generally more plentiful in each level. The fruit’s homing mechanics are also much more forgiving. However, it comes at a price: if you are not a completer and play crash 4 Incidentally, the modern mode eliminates the need for wumpa fruit and even bonus stages because it’s usually so important to staying alive. You’ll probably be tempted to skip them altogether.
In a way it’s a clever trick by Toys for Bob, albeit unintentional: this less pressured experience has you playing it by the old rules when you can, and when a level gets too difficult, you can seamlessly switch modes to give you a better chance of progressing.
crash bandicoot 4 has completely overhauled the gameplay to feel more realistic, but it doesn’t affect the core gameplay. Fan service is thoroughly paid for, but improvements – big or small – are consistently spectacular and cleverly deployed.
Granted, I say realistic – Crash is still a gravity-defying tornado who uses magic masks to leap, leap through objects and destroy his surroundings – but he really does feel like he has weight now, a predictable one Gait and more precision, even if it’s ultimately the same as it always was.
There are other little helping hands along the way that do crash bandicoot 4 feels so much more comfortable. Perhaps the biggest of these is the crosshairs on the ground that indicate your position. toys for bobs N.Sane Reworking the familiar collision detection to Crash’s little feet rather than the PS1’s square hitbox, adding a whole new level of unforgiving difficulty. This small addition goes a long way in more difficult sections.
Elsewhere, you’ll need less luck to fling one enemy into another thanks to a nice homing mechanic. The jet ski sections are more responsive and feel purely about skill and not luck. Enemy patterns are a bit more forgiving and difficulty spikes are more predictable as these long levels unfold. You are never at a loss; The game encourages you to learn as you go, and initially confusing concepts soon become second nature.
Additional characters come with their own exciting mechanics, most notably Tawna, the quintessential “strong female character” whose largely optional missions blend beautifully with the overall gameplay, providing you with story exposure and loads of fun. The masks themselves – the stars of the show – offer elaborate powers that are often as hindering as they are helpful. The level design for all of these, including Crash and Coco herself, is complementary throughout. It’s almost impossible to find any faults, save for the occasionally brutal section that comes out of nowhere. But this is essential Crash Bandicoot.
For sadists, “Flashback Tapes” unlock bespoke scenes shot through the CCTV lens of a younger Dr. Cortex can be seen running tests on a lab rat crash and they are hilarious to punish. Bosses can also be a handful, but they retain the classic sensibilities of crash: Each one builds on the boss mechanics of the original games by unraveling with increasingly difficult twists. As with the rest of the game, the attention to detail is insane; Take a moment to enjoy the first boss N.Gin’s robot drumming to the beat.
Last but not least, it must be said that Walter Mair’s score is absolutely outstanding. The Austrian composer who was revealed to be the game’s head music honcho in Julycaptures the essence of Crash Bandicoot Perfect; his reliance on globally unique instruments such as the bone flute, Japanese shakuhachi and Nigerian ọja proves his attention to detail is as relentless as Toys for Bob’s.
In development N.Sane Trilogy, Toys for Bob showed his passion for the source material but learned so much more in the process. If there’s a better example of one developer taking another’s classic work and creating a new sequel that both captures its essence and makes it so much better, I’m more than happy to hear it, but it just falls to me no one.
I suppose it’s probably about time Toys for Bob returned Spyro the dragon with an inevitable way to win Spyro 4. Considering how well it worked Resurrected trilogyand the similarly terrible downturn of the Spyro series after those happier PS1 days, it’s only a matter of time before I and countless others will be rejoicing at another classic series’ return to glory.
And – bonus! –Spyro 4 would be another game that continues the canon and turns those seemingly endless remakes and remasters of cash-ins into springboards. For my part, I applaud our new gaming overlords. As crash bandicoot 4 rightly says it’s about time.
Disclaimer: A copy has been provided to me Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time in exchange for a fair and honest review.