Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy review for PS4

Platform: PS4
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

2017, the year of the platformer is running wild thus far, and we can?t have the year of the platformer without one of the greatest platform mascots of all time. Crash Bandicoot was my very first Playstation game in 1996 and the franchise holds a special place in my heart. During the mid 90s, platformers were a dime a dozen (anyone remember Croc?), but among all the different choices, Crash stood out. Crash began to rival Sonic and Mario, which up until that point had never been done and is a pretty remarkable feat. So like any huge success, Crash began to see sequel after sequel, with each game getting worse and worse and before you knew it? Crash Bandicoot games were no longer being produced. 2008?s Crash; Mind over Mutant, would be the last we see of our favorite marsupial until e3 2016. Eight years is a long time and I think the desire for new platformers was growing so Activision did what they had to do? put Crash in a Skylanders game. I kid, while that did happen and it was a nice add on to what looks to be the last Skylanders game, they also announced at e3 2016 that they were working on remasters of the original Crash trilogy (aka the good Crash games).

As your resident remaster reviewer and huge Crash Bandicoot fan, writing this review was a must for me. On top of all of that, Activision announced that this trilogy remaster wasn?t going to be just any old up-res or straight port, this was going to be a built from the ground up complete remaster, and they did not disappoint. Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy includes completely redone versions of the first three Crash titles (Crash Bandicoot, Cortex Strikes Back and Warped). Activision basically took the game?s engine and level designs and just built the game from there. Playing the N. Sane Trilogy won?t give off any vibes of a 20+ year old game, and if you didn’t know any better you would think these were all new titles.

I really have to give kudos to Activision and Vicarious Visions for the treatment they gave these classics. Not only are the games completely redone with all new graphics but they took the extra incentive to add some new features. You’re given the ability to use Crash?s cousin; Coco, in what they say is a time traveler option (which is a nice touch to make it work, storyline-wise). It?s been a very long time since I played the original Crash Bandicoot, but upon playing it here, I began to have flashes of some of the frustration that I had as a kid in 1996. The original Crash is the toughest of any Crash game and they made a point to add in some assistance for people that struggle with it. Extra Aku Aku (BUDDABUGGA!), additional checkpoints, and I?m sure other stuff I didn?t even notice. What I liked about these assists, is that they only seem to assist you when you continuously struggle within a level or area.

If you haven?t already figured it out, I love this set and maybe I?m bias, because I loved these games during their original release, but I can definitively say that these are some of the best platformers you can buy for the PS4, regardless if you’ve played them before. One annoyance I had, which is extremely minor and can be patched, is that the intro before the start screen can not be skipped. Every time you boot up the game you have to sit through Cortex narration and old graphics Crash jumping into a machine and changing to remastered Crash. Like I said it?s a really minor gripe but it became an annoyance with how much I was playing the trilogy.

Another addition that most players will take advantage of, and not even realize, is the ability to use the analog stick. You see, when Crash Bandicoot was first released we were still using just D-pads on the playstation (ancient times to some). So now in the N. Sane Trilogy you can control Crash using the analog or D-pad. Although, the results of using the analog stick are hit and miss. Some levels just work better with the D-pad while others feel great with the analog stick, so your mileage will vary. I should also mention that all the music in the game is remastered as well, which sounds better than ever and the game also supports the PS4 Pro, but unfortunately I don?t currently own one (or a 4K TV for that matter).

If you’ve had the hankering for platformers as of late, like I have, this set is an absolute no brainer. For $39.99 you get three of the best platformers ever made, and they’re completely remade for the current gen? you can?t get a much better value than that. Sony, the past two years, has done an incredible job getting some of their older franchises redone for the current gen, and both games launched at $39.99 to boot! (Ratchet and Clank is the other title I?m referring to, which is also a great buy). Hopefully the N. Sane Trilogy brings Crash back to us for good, because replaying these fantastic titles has brought on an itch for a brand new Crash Bandicoot title, Sony and/or Activision are you listening??

Grade: A