Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy Review
An absolute blast from the past, and finally on Xbox!

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Crash Bandicoot, the worldwide known and beloved by many, the one and only orange marsupial makes it’s comeback to our present day via an insane enhanced collection. Remasters are the new black, and this is sure an interesting one.

Size: 18.9 GB

Genre: Platformer, Adventure

Release Date: June 29th, 2018

Reviewed on Xbox One S; also available on Steam, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.

Developed by Vicarious Visions

Published by Activision


Story *spoilers ahead*


Crash Bandicoot


The Bandicoot Franchise main plot starts with this very first entry. We have our main hero, Crash Bandicoot, and our main evil antagonist, an insane scientist Doctor Neo Cortex. How do they connect with each other? The answer is simple; Cortex, like most evil characters, has some crazy world domination plans. Using his Evolvo-Ray device, he is willing to mutate the local wildlife into overpowered beasts and use our main hero as the general to lead them.

Cortex assistant, Doctor Nitrus Brio, makes a warning about the Vortex subject controlling machine not being ready to use, but Cortex ignores him and uses it on Crash. The result? Crash gets rejected by Vortex and therefore is allowed to escape. After such failure, Cortex plan B is to use a female Bandicoot instead, who had some feelings towards Crash, and apparently, Crash does too (love is in the air, how cute).

Crash recently earned freedom will be put to good use and will follow the adventure of rescuing Twana, the female Bandicoot, and defeating Cortex.


Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back


The story continues right after the previous game end. Cortex has yet again new world domination plans… this guy never learns. He discovers some powerful crystals and after examination, he realizes he needs 25 more in order to power his brand new and upgraded Cortex Vortex.

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Crash gets abducted and is tricked by Doctor Cortex into finding the remaining crystals in order to stop a massive destructive force.


Crash Bandicoot Warped


The third entry’s plot features a new character introduction; Uka Uka, Aku Aku’s evil brother. After the events of Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, Uka Uka is released from an underground prison he was kept it in, and makes an alliance with Cortex and Doctor Nefarious Tropy with the aid of a time-twisting machine that can help them get more power crystals and gems.

Warned by Aku Aku, Crash and Coco will have to gather those power sources before the villains do.


Gameplay


Crash Bandicoot is not just the name of a legendary IP that used to be owned by Sony and belongs to Activision nowadays; it could also be said to be a genre in itself due to its unique mechanics. This epic and consecutive trilogy gives us a good mixture of pure fun and most certainly challenging 2.5D and 3D arcade platform levels.

Throughout each stage, you rely on a fixed number of lives available. Getting hit by an enemy, obstacle, TNT crate or falling into the abyss will take one out of the count; but fear not since there are several ways to get more lives.

Platform at its finest

For instance, gathering 100 Wumpa Fruit is a way of getting one life (aka opportunity, one more try for each run). Some crates will also provide lives, as well as Wumpa Fruit or even better, a legendary Aku Aku mask. The Aku Aku Mask ignores any kind of damage Crash gets, except falling, and getting 3 of them will make the classically limited-time invincibility.

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Spin and win!

So far we’ve got boxes, wumpa fruit, Aku Aku masks and player lives. Anything else? Of course. There are also checkpoint boxes (making the game actually beatable and more player friendly), character collectibles for bonus levels and crate bonus levels.

At the end of each stage, a screen will show how many boxes you missed, since some are hidden throughout each stage.

A perfect run ain’t easy to get… Trust me. You need to gather every collectible, box and in addition to do, you will have to complete the level under a certain time.

One of those “perfect timing required” situations.

Featuring an overworld on the three games where the player can select the different stages, each one of these levels are presented with a different theme, not only because of the variety of locations but also with variable pacing, although always riddled with obstacles.

All the different scenarios sure provide fun; whether you are running towards the screen in a Tomb Raider like “escape the giant ball sequence”, riding a hog, polar bear or simply using a vehicle, speedboat… you name it. This incredible setting variety gives the game enough context and background for the crazy and casual plot it features while also completely erasing the eventual repetitive factor.

Coco can be used as a playable character for most stages! Pretty cool if you ask me.

The control scheme is pretty basic and intuitive, but the sense of control feels flawed sometimes, especially on the first entry. Many deaths felt unfair due to either the way Crash moved or the camera angles.

The precision required in most cases becomes, more than potentially, the cause of the famous rage quit phenomenon; the timing and correct positioning are decisive when it comes to achieving certain sections of any level. If you think about it, it’s amazing how a seemingly harmless or casual game can become so difficult in some cases. As I said before, the feeling and desire to do a rage quit was part of my experience with this game, but somehow, the wish of overcoming it prevented me from doing so… But just 90% of the time.

The replay value here is real; it’s 100% confirmed that you will have to revisit any stage in case you are into achievements or even if you want to get a higher completion level.

This time around, some new stuff has been added, like the ability to use Coco as a playable character on both Crash Bandicoot and Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back. New missions were added too; Stormy Ascent (deleted content on the original) and Future Tense (new content developed).


Graphics and Sound


Visually, this Trilogy excels compared to the original games. This isn’t a regular overhaul; it’s quite clear the amount of dedication and love that was put into it. Most parts have been crafted from scratch, instead of making HD versions of regular textures and effects. Character models look colorful and alive, as well as each stage, making a much more immersive world in return.

Design wise, each character model accurately reflects different personalities, especially Bosses, and they all fit in this mad, insane yet beautiful world.

Overall, compared to the original games, the difference is just massive and it looks stunning

Another positive thing to mention is that no performance issues were encountered at all during my playthrough, which is most likely to be considered as a miracle nowadays.

Tiny? Yeah, sure…

One of the greatest achievements of this collection is undoubtedly the nostalgia feeling, present in each moment and first appearing from the menu itself, accompanied by that unforgettable music, and carrying on until you stop playing.

The soundtrack completely suits the game theme and nature, and still holds up even after all this time.


Verdict


This N Sane Trilogy deserves a spot on one of the best comeback games via remaster category. It’s a set of classic games that everyone has the luck to play now but at a higher resolution while keeping the nuances and spirit of the originals. Personally, having the chance of diving deeper into such key games in the genre by using a current-gen console is something I really appreciate.

As a remastered collection, the only real flaw for me was the lack of an option to switch between old and new graphics just like Halo The Master Chief Collection offered, but despite that, it has every other thing it needs; the nostalgia that automatically hits you as the main menu loads, the challenges because of the mandatory and perfect timing demanded by the game, the high replay value and the value for money, which are just some of the main- and more than enough – reasons I would give anyone in order to justify a potential purchase.

Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy

9.5

Story

8.5/10

Gameplay

9.5/10

Graphics

9.5/10

Sound

10.0/10

Value For Money

10.0/10

Cool

  • Incredible Collection
  • New Content Added
  • High Replay Value
  • Visually Enhanced
  • First time on Xbox!

Not Cool

  • Difficulty might put off some