When Sony released the PS4, backwards compatibility was – and still is – missing from its list of features, but that hasn’t stopped developers remaking games from the past and giving them a full release! Like a lot of people, I have fell into that trap and went out and brought the remastered version of Crash Bandicoot.
This particular remaster was rumoured to be coming for years and years and even after it was announced at E3 2016, it still seemed like forever before it was released. But finally it was, a remake of the original three games of Crash Bandicoot, twenty one years after Crash first graced the original Playstation.
Now while there have been a slew of remastered titles over recent years, Crash Bandicoot is one of the few games that fully deserved a remaster. Being released over two decades ago and not having a main series release since 2004, it seemed like time that Crash made a comeback. Though welcomed, he did came onto the scene with a few talking points.
Eyebrows were first raised about the game’s difficulty. Having recently dusted off my PS2 and replayed Wrath of Cortex, I can confirm that Crash Bandicoot has always been a difficult game; especially when it come to the later levels. However, the remaster seems to challenging from the very start and only gets worse. Rumours are that the shape and size of Crash’s hitbox has been changed, meaning that the platforming is harder than in the originals because you have to be a bit more accurate on where you land. In addition to that, the camera angles haven’t changed, which still make the missions when running toward the screen stupidly annoying (make sure you have plenty of lives).
The recaptured charm of the game will bring you back in with the nostalgia feels instantly. The HD update also extends to the music which makes you feel like a nine year old trying to beat the game with the help of an adult again. Sadly now you’re the adult and there’s no one to help you with the bosses. This is no doubt in part because of the amazing work that Vicarious Visions have done in this remake, taking the foundation of the originals and updating everything around that core.
Starting off, the first game relies heavily on the nostalgia to keep you hooked as extra abilities – such as the double jump – don’t come in until the second installment in the franchise, Cortex Strikes Back. However as soon as you do, the nostalgia combines with these feature introductions and this improves significantly gameplay; enabling the body slam and slides, to become a game that even newcomers will find inviting. Similarly with the third Crash title, Warped, it continues to tap into the yesteryear goodness, but thankfully goes a little easier on the player than the other games in the N.Sane trilogy.
The length of the games can vary and it can all depends if you’re a PS trophy hunter or not. A simple playthrough would only take a couple of hours each but to achieve full completion will take a lot longer, which may or may not involve lot of teeth grinding and require a hell of a lot of patience.
The hardest part of this review was trying not to look at these games through rose-tinted glasses (Luke did that already anyway). As with most people my age, Crash was a game that was part of me becoming the gamer I am today, but I honestly feel like this game is one of the best remasters out there. Now with a 21st century look & feel so not to put off a younger generation of gamers, this is a bundle of games that are suitable for multiple gamer demographics. It’s a challenging game that will test your skill… and your patience.
The negative is that there is only so much that could be done to keep this as a remaster and rather than a complete remake, unfortunately. Looking back, the original games weren’t blessed with good game design. The camera angles make you scream at the TV and some of the level designs seem to only serve the purpose of selling replacement controllers.
Overall, this is a game made for the nostalgia. While it’s an easy and quick game for any new fans, it’ll be rare that this will be bought by anyone other than those who played the originals and wanted to relive those feelings. Despite Crash’s updated appearance, there are much better designed and visually more appealing games to play for those not old enough to pine for the good ol’ days. If you do end up picking this up, it my hope that this remake won’t drive you N.Sane.