Title: Crash Bandicoot -
Reviewed on: PS4
Players: Single player
Written by Whistler 7th August 2017
The N.Sane Trilogy is perhaps one of the most faithful remasters in gaming, likewise however, it’s an prime example of how a small change to the core fundamentals can create a lot of frustrations and potentially dampen the true experience. Needless to say the Playstation’s orange marsupial was due a remaster, but staying faithful to the original format while updating where they could has created it’s own set of issues. So with a full HD paintjob for the PS4, how does Crash Bandicoot fare in the next gen arena?
Vicarious Visions truly do deserve credit where credit is due; from the fur on Crash to the bundle of planks that make up the signature TNT and Nitro crates, the N.Sane Trilogy nails the aesthetics of the original series to a tee. Visuals won’t roll heads graphically, but the aesthetics are a near perfect upgrade, capturing the look and feel of Crash with a new shiny coat of paint, drastically improved lighting, and fully revamped environments.
However both newcomers and veterans to Crash’s platforming antics will be in for a conflicting experience. There’s no denying that the HD paintjob on a modern platform only serves to highlight how poorly Crash has aged in certain aspects, especially on the first and second titles of the trilogy.
Platforms and obstacles have little to no tolerance for mistakes especially given how rigid Crash maneuvers which is, granted, alleviated a fair degree in 2 and even more so in 3 thanks to the slide and additional abilities. These issues are brought to the forefront in part due to technical hiccups and Vicarious’s endearing approach to recreating the games down to the pixel. Microchanges to the core fundamentals are felt throughout each of the titles in particular the different jumping arc and iffy hit box.
Crash now lands faster and gains airtime by holding the jump button in, but more often than not the game seems to struggle determining if you’re holding the button down resulting in a lot of deaths feeling unfair. While there are those who’ll be able to utilize the ‘pill’ hit box to their advantage, more often than not player’s will find themselves sighing as the orange bandicoot slides right off a flat surface.
While I like to think of myself as a relatively patient player Crash’s first adventure regularly had me judging the distance my controller would travel before I regretted lobbing it out the window. Crash 1 is most certainly a poster child for the flaws that were abound in 3D platforming’s infancy and trust me when I say that it’s nowhere near as good as we’d like to remember (though thankfully they did remove the archaic save system in the original Crash Bandicoot title). It’s even more bizarre when you realize the the earlier levels are far more punishing than the endgame ones and by god adding relics to Crash Bandicoot and Wrath of Cortex should be punishable by death.
Most time trials feel stupendously harsh with the time required for achieving a platinum relic (thankfully gold is enough to achieve 100%) and are overly long in some cases compared to Warped’s short but sweet level design. I had to use an exploit just to barely acquire a gold relic for the infamous bridge levels, made all the more difficult due to the aforementioned mess of a hit box, taking so much longer than it should have.
Crash 2 and 3 suffer nowhere near as much thanks to how more lenient platforming was and how the difficulty curve was ironed out thankfully, but I implore you to tackle the trilogy in reverse chronological order.
Honestly I’d even recommend this title solely for replaying Warped, the easier, and likewise, most enjoyable of the trilogy filled with fast and punchy levels, enjoyable abilities and progressively challenging difficulty.
Despite almost strangling my controller if it had a neck, Crash Bandicoot: N.Sane Trilogy is the nostalgic filled trip down memory lane that I needed. Given that Vicarious essentially built the trilogy from scratch (with only geometry data to help replicate all three titles, as all assets and even the source codes were lost) the N.Sane Trilogy is a masterclass in revamping a title to the modern platform. It retains the oldschool difficulty and controls of it’s elders, for better or worse, and coupled with plenty of fully recreated tracks, it’s hard to deny how many times you’ll finding yourself grinning in nostalgic glee. Finally overcoming a challenge, utterly mastering a level previously giving you grief and warping back to your childhood is more than truly worth spinning back the metaphorical clock to spend some time with our old buddy Crash Bandicoot.
Now if the big publishers responsible for it could follow up with a Spyro trilogy that would be deeply appreciated.
Super HD visual upgrade to the original titles,
Platforming is still challenging and equally rewarding,
Full of character and charm.
Difficult spikes laden throughout the first title,
Relatively small changes to certain mechanics cause lots of frustration,
Jump arc and clunky hitbox result in plenty of unfair trial and error.
By no means perfect, but Crash Bandicoot: N.Sane Trilogy is a blast from the past with a 7/10.