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'Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy Review (PS4)'

Sat 08/07/17 at 20:34:
Regular
"Ghosts Can't Die!"
Posts: 774
Remastering an older “classic” can prove a tough task especially when it comes to video games. And done well or not this can often lead to those once fond memories you had being fractured or sometimes even outright shattered. Whether this comes down to aging mechanics, things that weren’t frustrating back then, now being exactly that or just a disappointing job done bringing the title up to date there are a number of pitfalls to avoid. A large number.

Which brings us onto perhaps one of the most anticipated remasters I’ve witnessed, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. Now in the hands of Vicarious Visions (before it was the “can never do any wrong” Naughty Dog at the helm) N. Sane promises the first three titles in the long-running series rebuilt from the ground up.

I have to admit I do have fond memories of the original PlayStation trilogy particularly that of the second entry in the series Cortex Strikes Back. Riding baby polar bears, spinning crates, the 2D segments, the linear 3D environments and of course those infamous running away from a giant boulder or dinosaur stages that had you boiling with rage as you plummet down a pit for the 20th time. All those moments that made Crash so unique and that you remember so cheerfully are here and accounted for right down to the very last detail.

And this on paper is a very attractive prospect especially to returning fans of the series yearning for the bandicoot’s return. Not only are this group getting their wish, but they’re getting what many see as the best three titles in one package updated for current consoles. Unfortunately Crash has fallen victim to what many games tend to eventually – time. 1998 saw Warped make its debut on PlayStation and since then the platforming genre has continued to evolve and tweak itself in many interesting, clever and cool ways. Playing through these games may be a fun “I remember this” sort of trip but it’s likely to leave you thankful that things have moved on since the days of running blindly toward the screen and unforgiving level design.

That isn’t to say these are now suddenly awful games. Definitely not. Of the three it’s Cortex Strikes Back that stands the test of time best, levels enjoyable, the pace just right and blending a perfect mix of level design and variety. Crash Bandicoot 2 still holds up as a really fun, enjoyable platformer newcomer or not.

Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped meanwhile while still featuring the same fun platforming action that made 2 so much fun, is unfortunately bogged down by far too many gimmicky stages. Seeing Crash ride a motorcycle, swimming with his scuba gear or flying a plane may have been the cool thing back in the late 90s but are now just a chore to play thanks to clunky controls or just a lack of fun. Throw in the fact that these take up well over a third of the total stages in the game. Every new selection of levels you unlock, you’ll find yourself dreading the idea of playing through more of these. Whatsmore the game awards Crash with special moves the further you play through the adventure. A longer spin attack that can then be used to glide further when jumping, a bazooka and even a double jump; moves that in a way make obstacles seem irrelevant and easily avoidable. Overall Crash 3 feels like a sequel full of tacked on ideas in the hopes of making a bigger and better adventure.

Both two and three share the same structure, five rooms you can wonder around each with five levels capped off by their own boss. Every level has a pink crystal to collect and a number of others for either collecting every crate or finding a hidden route. Collecting one of five coloured gem (usually by performing some unusual feat) will then result in a new route being unlocked for a previous stage. It’s a cool idea that encourages you to replay old stages to collect everything.

Then of course there was the game that kicked it all off. Crash Bandicoot is perhaps the simplest of the three, removed of any special moves and even using the typical world map to select stages. The platforming here feels less precise (the original was made for the D-pad rather than an analogue stick) and the level design wildly inconsistent and at times downright painful. Jumps need to be absolutely spot on or else it’s another death for you, checkpoints often feel far too spaced apart (the game does throw you a Aku Aku mask should you die often enough but when most of your deaths are from falling down bottomless pits, they prove worthless) and the controls can sometimes be too imprecise for a game that has you bouncing off tiny crates one by one. Of the three, Crash Bandicoot comes off the worst even going so far as to have me dislike playing the final half of the game.

That being said, Vicarious Visions have done an awesome job remastering these three titles. While many remasters you see nowadays are of games barely five years old, the developer here had a much tougher job at hand giving Crash a look fit for our current generation of systems. The environments are stunning; lush, green jungles, the fur on Crash himself and the enemy animations all brought to life in a way the originals never could. The audio too has been fully redone with old tunes now given a fresh lick of aural paint so to speak. Bottom line is, this is how all remasters should be done.

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy fills me with mixed feelings. On one hand Vicarious Visions have done a brilliant job delivering the same three games albeit with a nice visual update. On the other nothing more has been done, resulting in a trilogy that’s very rough around the edges. While the first feels hollow with a difficulty that punishes unfairly and the third crams in far too much filler, the second manages to deliver a great time. Yes it’s great to see an old favourite given another chance but bare in mind these aren’t the same amazing experiences you once remember. They are fun at times sure but also a history lesson in how far we’ve come in terms of platformers. An okay summer distraction.

6/10
There have been no replies to this thread yet.
Sat 08/07/17 at 20:34:
Regular
"Ghosts Can't Die!"
Posts: 774
Remastering an older “classic” can prove a tough task especially when it comes to video games. And done well or not this can often lead to those once fond memories you had being fractured or sometimes even outright shattered. Whether this comes down to aging mechanics, things that weren’t frustrating back then, now being exactly that or just a disappointing job done bringing the title up to date there are a number of pitfalls to avoid. A large number.

Which brings us onto perhaps one of the most anticipated remasters I’ve witnessed, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. Now in the hands of Vicarious Visions (before it was the “can never do any wrong” Naughty Dog at the helm) N. Sane promises the first three titles in the long-running series rebuilt from the ground up.

I have to admit I do have fond memories of the original PlayStation trilogy particularly that of the second entry in the series Cortex Strikes Back. Riding baby polar bears, spinning crates, the 2D segments, the linear 3D environments and of course those infamous running away from a giant boulder or dinosaur stages that had you boiling with rage as you plummet down a pit for the 20th time. All those moments that made Crash so unique and that you remember so cheerfully are here and accounted for right down to the very last detail.

And this on paper is a very attractive prospect especially to returning fans of the series yearning for the bandicoot’s return. Not only are this group getting their wish, but they’re getting what many see as the best three titles in one package updated for current consoles. Unfortunately Crash has fallen victim to what many games tend to eventually – time. 1998 saw Warped make its debut on PlayStation and since then the platforming genre has continued to evolve and tweak itself in many interesting, clever and cool ways. Playing through these games may be a fun “I remember this” sort of trip but it’s likely to leave you thankful that things have moved on since the days of running blindly toward the screen and unforgiving level design.

That isn’t to say these are now suddenly awful games. Definitely not. Of the three it’s Cortex Strikes Back that stands the test of time best, levels enjoyable, the pace just right and blending a perfect mix of level design and variety. Crash Bandicoot 2 still holds up as a really fun, enjoyable platformer newcomer or not.

Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped meanwhile while still featuring the same fun platforming action that made 2 so much fun, is unfortunately bogged down by far too many gimmicky stages. Seeing Crash ride a motorcycle, swimming with his scuba gear or flying a plane may have been the cool thing back in the late 90s but are now just a chore to play thanks to clunky controls or just a lack of fun. Throw in the fact that these take up well over a third of the total stages in the game. Every new selection of levels you unlock, you’ll find yourself dreading the idea of playing through more of these. Whatsmore the game awards Crash with special moves the further you play through the adventure. A longer spin attack that can then be used to glide further when jumping, a bazooka and even a double jump; moves that in a way make obstacles seem irrelevant and easily avoidable. Overall Crash 3 feels like a sequel full of tacked on ideas in the hopes of making a bigger and better adventure.

Both two and three share the same structure, five rooms you can wonder around each with five levels capped off by their own boss. Every level has a pink crystal to collect and a number of others for either collecting every crate or finding a hidden route. Collecting one of five coloured gem (usually by performing some unusual feat) will then result in a new route being unlocked for a previous stage. It’s a cool idea that encourages you to replay old stages to collect everything.

Then of course there was the game that kicked it all off. Crash Bandicoot is perhaps the simplest of the three, removed of any special moves and even using the typical world map to select stages. The platforming here feels less precise (the original was made for the D-pad rather than an analogue stick) and the level design wildly inconsistent and at times downright painful. Jumps need to be absolutely spot on or else it’s another death for you, checkpoints often feel far too spaced apart (the game does throw you a Aku Aku mask should you die often enough but when most of your deaths are from falling down bottomless pits, they prove worthless) and the controls can sometimes be too imprecise for a game that has you bouncing off tiny crates one by one. Of the three, Crash Bandicoot comes off the worst even going so far as to have me dislike playing the final half of the game.

That being said, Vicarious Visions have done an awesome job remastering these three titles. While many remasters you see nowadays are of games barely five years old, the developer here had a much tougher job at hand giving Crash a look fit for our current generation of systems. The environments are stunning; lush, green jungles, the fur on Crash himself and the enemy animations all brought to life in a way the originals never could. The audio too has been fully redone with old tunes now given a fresh lick of aural paint so to speak. Bottom line is, this is how all remasters should be done.

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy fills me with mixed feelings. On one hand Vicarious Visions have done a brilliant job delivering the same three games albeit with a nice visual update. On the other nothing more has been done, resulting in a trilogy that’s very rough around the edges. While the first feels hollow with a difficulty that punishes unfairly and the third crams in far too much filler, the second manages to deliver a great time. Yes it’s great to see an old favourite given another chance but bare in mind these aren’t the same amazing experiences you once remember. They are fun at times sure but also a history lesson in how far we’ve come in terms of platformers. An okay summer distraction.

6/10

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