In the last several years, we’ve seen a handful of remakes starring our favourite marsupial: Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy and Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled. Both games introduced Crash to a whole new generation of gamers, while staying true to its platforming roots for long-time fans. As happy as I was to play those games, I along with many other gamers wanted more, and our prayers have been answered. Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is a brand-new, original entry in the Crash series.
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time Details
Platforms: PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
Reviewed on: Xbox One X
Developer: Toys for Bob
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E 10+ (Everyone 10+)
N. Sane new worlds
The game takes place after Crash Bandicoot: Warped. And, picks up after Neo Cortex, Dr. N. Tropy and Uka Uka were last stranded on a distant planet. After decades of trying to escape, the trio finally make their escape and in the process make hole in the fabric of space-time.
The only thing that stands in their way of total domination over the multiverse are two marsupials from N. Sanity Island, Crash and his sister Coco. I can easily say that Crash 4’s storyline is one of if not the best in the series with references to past games and funny dialogue.
New abilities, playable characters and unlockables
What’s great about Crash 4 is that Toys for Bob kept all the same great precision gameplay that made the series some of the best platforming games. Fans of the Crash Bandicoot series won’t be disappointed either. Toys for Bob went all out and gave us all new worlds, enemies, hazards, abilities, playable characters and techniques.
Quite possibly one of the biggest additions to Crash 4 is a little gold ring. This gold ring appears under that character you are playing anytime you jump. If you’ve played any of the previous Crash Bandicoot games, you’ll know this is extremely useful. Taking the guesswork of where you are going to land means a lot less frustration for everybody.
New playable characters
In addition to Crash and his sister Coco, there are a handful of playable characters in the game. While I don’t want to spoil some of the story twists, I can say that my favourite playable character is Tawna. Though, this isn’t the same Tawna you know from previous Crash games.
In Crash 4, Tawna’s alternate reality counterpart is a no-nonse woman who doesn’t take flack from anybody. Tawna can cling to walls, think Prince of Persia or Ninja Gaiden, and has a hookshot to latch on to things. While the game’s main focus is on Crash and Coco, the playable characters have their own stories that interact and cross paths with the main story.
As you rescue each of the Quantum Mask, you gain special abilities. These range from phasing items in and out of reality, to a Dark matter spin that deflects enemy attacks and allows you to jump further, to slowing down time, to reversing gravity. While having these 4 new abilities is great and gives gameplay a fresh feel to it, you can only use these abilities at certain parts of the game.
I would have loved the ability to be able to use any of the abilities as I unlocked them whenever I wanted. I feel that by doing this, it would give the player an opportunity to experiment and be creative with them in each level.
In addition to these new abilities, Crash and gang have some new moves in the game. Crash can now do wall runs, swing on ropes and grind on rails. It’s a nice way to add a fresh twist to Crash 4’s gameplay.
They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend but in Crash 4 they’re also a boy’s best friend too. What I am referring to are the diamond rewards that you earn from the six challenges each stage has.
There are a variety of goals that you need to complete in order to earn the diamonds, which you can count on will take you many attempts to achieve. And, to top it all off, when you die the items you have collected are gone. The diamonds allow you to unlock a wide variety of skins in the game.
Initially, I was expecting Crash 4’s visuals to use the assets from Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy. After all, they looked fantastic and I would have been content. However, Toys for Bob created a brand new engine and implemented a new art design. The biggest change I noticed is that the game now has an even more cartoon look to it and the animations are smoother.
Characters in the game are voiced well, surprisingly Crash doesn’t say a peep, and the dialogue throughout the cut-scenes can at times be down right funny.
Uninspiring multiplayer modes
Crash 4 also has a co-op and 2 versus multiplayer modes. The co-op mode is a pass n. play system where you and up to 3 other players take turns playing. Once someone dies, they pass the controller to the next player and so on.
The first versus multiplayer mode is a race against the clock to the end of the level while smashing crates that get in your way. The second versus multiplayer mode is called Crate Combo and it’s a competition to break as many crates as you can, the more crates you destroy the more points each one becomes worth.
In all honesty, these multiplayer modes don’t really offer any substantial value to the game. At most, you’ll probably try them a few times and then go back to the main game.
Crash Bandicoot 4 is one of the best platformers in recent memory
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time does a phenomenal job of capturing everything that I love about the first 3 games and add modern twists to it. It has gorgeous graphics and challenging gameplay that make it one of if not these best games in the series. While the difficulty does ramp up near the end of the game, I don’t feel that it’s something that players of all abilities can’t overcome.
The Quantum Mask abilities are a great addition to gameplay, and having the ability to wall run, swing on ropes and grind on rails really freshens up gameplay. Unfortunately, the multiplayer player modes don’t really add anything to the game and are easily forgettable.
In the end, I was surprised at just how much work Toys for Bob put into making Crash 4 its own unique game while still making it feel like it’s part of the series. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that Toys for Bob has matched and in some cases surpassed the Crash games that Naughty Dog developed back on PlayStation. Crash 4, is that good!
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF CRASH BANDICOOT 4: IT’S ABOUT TIME
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5
Overall Rating 4.1/5 (82%)
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Looks like a great title for this month of October!
Great review if a great looking game. I may grab it when PS5 launches! Hopefully it comes down in price a bit by then!
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