While some may argue that high-definition remakes are nothing more than a "quickie cash-in," let's be fair – there is some merit to those that are done right. Just look at Bluepoint's treatment of the Uncharted Collection on PlayStation 4, which is nothing short of amazing. For that matter, Nintendo managed to repackage the Metroid Prime series into a breathtaking Trilogy that's become a huge collector's item as a result. Done – and more importantly, priced – the right way, a remaster can be worth its weight in gold.
And that's the case with Crash Bandcoot N. Sane Trilogy, which takes the three classic PlayStation 1 games featuring the fuzzy hero and spruces them up, thanks to some tireless effort by the developers at Vicarious Visions. While it's not quite the perfect collection – a few mild nuances with gameplay can't be overlooked, and there's no sign of Crash Team Racing (yet) – it's still a worthy compilation that deserves to be celebrated, if only because, hey, Crash is back!
It's been years since we've seen the furry Bandicoot in action, with his latest release, Mind Over Mutant, not exactly paying tribute to his classic roots. But N. Sane Trilogy gets it just right, not only recapturing the vibe that the original games possessed, but also every ounce of its classic gameplay, as you spin, jump and slide kick your way to victory.
Vicarious Visions did a great job with the game's control in each chapter. Crash still feels like his old self as he runs (or rides) through levels, and even though some of them are more difficult than others – like those ridiculous challenges where you're running towards the camera and barely seeing obstacles that are just ahead of you – they still play extremely well. There are situations where the slightest hit causing death can still cause frustration ("I jumped on that damn turtle just right!"), but they're far and few between compared to the bliss that each game brings.
A Remaster Done Right
And there's plenty to uncover in each level, too. You'll find hidden paths that provide a number of goodies, bonus rooms where you can stockpile 1-ups and your helpful tiki mask, and other little secrets. In fact, you'll be a while just trying to uncover them all – but it's worth it, as the game comes with not one but three Platinum Trophies, so you can clearly cash in for your efforts.
That said, there is a hiccup with gameplay when it comes to the perspective at hand. Considering the game is an early example of a 3D platformer, and the camera is set up at a somewhat different angle than most, there's a good chance you may not judge the distance properly in some areas. Like, as we mentioned above, when you go to jump on an enemy and don't get the area just right, or if you accidentally fall down into a pit because it was further out than you might have thought. Fortunately, it's fairly easy to figure out where Crash's shadow is, so it's a mistake you won't be making too often.
That said, the games aren't easy. Some of the later levels will require a great deal of dexterity to get through, and even some of the boss battles can be a bit of a trial. So be prepared to die a few times until you get the hang of things – but not as many as Dark Souls. That's just a ridiculous theory.
Where Vicarious Visions really scores points is within the presentation. The graphics look absolutely exquisite – even on a normal PlayStation 4, if you didn't upgrade to the Pro just yet – and the level design is wonderfully remastered, with barely any glitches in sight. Some character models look better than others (like the weirdos that torment you in Warped), but overall, this is some superb touch-up work that serves as a benchmark for other remasters to come. Well done.prevnext
A Fun, Complete Package For A Good Price
For that matter, the original musicians behind the game have returned and remixed the soundtrack entirely, so it sounds exciting and new, and yet familiar at the same time. It pays off in dividends, and keeps you motivated enough to plow through a few more levels before you turn in for bed. (Who needs sleep, anyway?) The sound effects and voicework are also good, even if some characters sound a bit weird by today's standards. Hey, it's Crash – we're already used to weird.
Throw in a few more bonuses here and there, like the hidden goodies and the ability to play as Crash's sister Coco throughout, and you have a pretty abundant package for $40. I would've liked more options if possible, like the ability to switch between old and new versions (Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap spoiled me there) or behind-the-scenes stuff with the remaster – or, at the very least, the old-school Crash commercial where he mercilessly taunts Nintendo – but this is still a fairly good deal, especially if you missed the older games. Now, if we can just find out what this Lost Treasures DLC holds…
WOO-BAH-GAH! Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is yet another reason why remasters are justified. In the right hands – and with the right material – it can turn classic gaming into gold rather easily, and Vicarious Visions shows just the right amount of tender loving care to give Crash a new lease on life. Now we want to see him return with an all-new platformer worthy of his kind…and, for that matter, maybe other mascots can get a boost in their careers in well. A Spyro Collection would hit the spot.0comments
RATING: Four out of five stars.
Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher.prev