The remaking of one of, if not THE most profound PlayStation Classic of all time, Crash Bandicoot was quite possibly one of the worst kept secrets in the gaming industry for a lengthy period of time; It then went on to become one of the most highly anticipated video game releases of 2017, selling out it’s preorders in countless online and high street stores. Furthermore, the Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy was met with quite the reception upon it’s release, far surpassing the sales of Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games), the prior crown holder of single-platform sales of 2017. Yes, this flamboyant marsupial has evidently managed to whip us up in his spin once more in Vicarious Visions totally bonkers remake of three of the greatest platformers of all time. Although the N.Sane Trilogy consists of the following 3 titles: Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot: Cortex Strikes back and Crash Bandicoot: Warped, in this review I will be taking primary focus on the first title. The remake of a game in which many dedicated gamers of today initially found their footing – yes, now would be the time to tilt our hats to Naughty Dog.
The first thing that engorges your attention as our little orange menace gets washed up on N.Sanity beach is just how great the game looks and feels. Whilst we are met with a homey sense of familiarity, you can tell Vicarious Visions have done a good job of taking the title apart and starting a new. They’ve seemingly ventured back to the very basics and cleverly worked their way up to give it a successful “new game” feel whilst still allowing the trilogy to harness shed-loads of nostalgic value. Everything from the games levels themselves, the weird and wonderful wildlife to cute, cuddly Crash himself have all been revamped to fit in so well with more modern graphic styles. The entirety of the game is alive with colour and fun and it really transcends with the whole eccentric feel the Crash Bandicoot titles have always portrayed. However, as absolutely marvellous as the game looks, the refurbished graphics style does come with a major con. The late 90’s 2D graphics style that was used in the original Crash Bandicoot games meant that judging jumps and outwitting enemies was simpler task however, this isn’t nearly as effortless in the N.Sane trilogy. The re-defined and graphically enhanced linear levels themselves have acquired substantially more depth, making them seem not nearly as straightforward in progressing through as they used to seem back in the day.
The Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy prides itself on the barrage of nostalgia that hits players from the very moment they start up the game. As mentioned prior they’ve recreated the title in such a way that it can still be relevant in today’s more elaborate video game market whilst maintaining all the aspects that made it such a well-loved and yet incredibly frustrating title way back when. Vicarious Visions’ attention to detail has subsequently meant that this is true down to Crash’s clumsy manoeuvrability. Although you’re able to use both the analog stick and D-pad – although, force of habit had me using the D-pad, it is no easier and by no means any less frustrating when you clearly land a jump on a platform for a second before annoyingly falling off, or when you are using the underbelly of a tortoise to get some height on a jump and unexpectedly slip off. Seriously, after a few runs of Road To Nowhere or The High Road the trilogy itself isn’t going to be the only thing that’s N.Sane. Yes, thanks to the seemingly upped difficulty, the Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy is definitely going to be a game that is easier to play if you are already somewhat accustomed to the levels. But perhaps this apparent increase in difficulty makes it a bit more of a relevant title in today’s gaming market?
One thing I wasn’t particularly fond of in the Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy was the introduction of both manual and auto-save features. What made Crash Bandicoot so utterly frustrating initially was the absence of such features. It fuelled the player to strive for more thorough level completion in order to get those bonus rounds and secure a save point. That same incentive is a little lost in the remake and it’s almost sad that it’s taken away part of what Crash Bandicoot is. On the other hand though, i’m almost conflicted as with the N.Sane Trilogy seeming a lot more difficult that the original titles, manual saves after completing every level almost seem relevant and necessary if you hope to salvage any means of sanity. Besides, with the introduction of time trials over all three games in order to obtain relics, there is still some means of incentive to be thorough when playing through the trilogy’s levels so, in a way I suppose this does offer some amount of compensation.
Crash Bandicoot is at the very heart of a colossal amount of gaming addictions and Vicarious Visions and Activision have done a divine job in bringing PlayStation’s outlandish marsupial back into the limelight. Although the trilogy has undergone some tweaks that may take away the original Crash “feel”, it’s still a trilogy ripe with nostalgic value and ruthless enjoy-ability nonetheless. It’s great to revisit the simplicity of a platformer in which pre-existing players can enjoy revelling in the past and new players can get a taste for how much a straightforward platform title can wreak absolute havoc on your very sanity, leaving you fit to turn the very shades of Wumpa Fruit with utter frustration.