A lot can be said about Activision. It is not a publisher with a good reputation among players, but they must admit that they have recently eaten their teeth while refreshing older titles. They found an easy way to recycle old games that produces great results. You can’t write much bad about the refreshed Crash, Spyro, Crash Team Racing trilogues or the still fresh Tony Hawku. These are the titles that form the backbone of a long-term strategy of reminding players of their favorite series in order to release completely new titles later. This is how we got Crash Bandicoot 4.
The creators of the new Crash followed the path of the creators of the last Terminator movie. They cut themselves off from what was before and continue with the story after the good last part. The action of the game takes place after the events of Crash 3, so any views released later are kind of erased.
We play the role of Jamraj and his sister Coco, loved by many again. Together we set off on a journey between dimensions to thwart the plans of the evil ones again.
Crash has always been a challenging platformer, and it’s no different here. The difficulty level is quite high, from the very beginning of the game. I was quite surprised by this, because I was counting on a smoother entry into this world. However, the creators have prepared a few facilities that I strongly recommend, especially to new players. First of all, we can choose between a modern game mode and a retro mode. In the latter, we have the traditional number of lives and when they are exhausted, Game Over follows and you have to start the level from scratch. In modern mode, we have no limit of lives and we can die as many times as it takes, each time respawning at a checkpoint. For purists, however, it is worth adding that in order to complete the game in 100%, you have to die less than 3 times in each level.
The second facilitation is a special shadow displayed in our form, which makes it much easier to navigate in 3D space. Thanks to it, we can see exactly whether we are above a given platform or not.
The world map is a direct reference to the first installment of Crash. We do not have a Warp room from which we teleport to individual levels. Instead, on the map, we move between dimensions and unlock subsequent levels in a linear manner. Such a procedure also makes each level in a given dimension consistent with each other. Ie. being in the desert dimension, all levels have the same styling. There is no such mish mash that could appear in Crash 2 or especially 3.
The levels are quite extensive and diverse. Their perspective often changes. Sometimes it is full of 3D, other times the camera will be projected from the side and a moment later it will pass into a fragment on the rails or escape towards the screen. The levels are quite long and passing one calmly will take us several dozen minutes.
Each level can be played either with Crash or Coco. In addition, we unlock new outfits for the characters, which do not give new skills, but allow us to personalize the appearance of our heroes. In the previous installments of the series, in order to diversify the gameplay a bit, stages were prepared that differed from the platformer gameplay. Here was the third installment, where Crash rode a motorbike or flew a plane. This time we do not have this type of add-ons, instead the creators have prepared dedicated levels where we will control other characters. So he will come back, min. Tawna or Dingodile. Each character with a set of their own skills and levels in which we can use them.
But that’s not the end of the attractions. At some point, we will unlock the possibility of passing the previous levels in a mirror image with various visual effects added. So there are plenty of attractions, and fans of collecting and maximizing games at 100% will especially be pleased. In order to pass the level in all possible ways, we have to pass it by dying less than 3 times, collect all the boxes, collect the hidden diamond or collect the appropriate number of wumpa fruits. And it’s all back in reverse mode! And let’s not forget about the time trials.
Thanks to this, we get a lot of content that will keep us entertained for many, many hours. While completing the game to the end will take several hours, maxing each level will calmly extend this time two or even three times. Of course, all of this is provided that we have a collector’s vein and appropriately developed character control skills.
The refreshed Crash trilogy was released on the proprietary Vicarous Visions engine. Toys for Bob, however, decided to use Unreal Engine 4. This makes the game look incredibly beautiful. Often, games with this type of style are said to look like computer animations and in the case of Crash it will not be an abuse. Nice, colorful graphics fit perfectly here. The characters’ animations are also impressive, although there is one thing that did not suit me completely. Namely, it seems to me that there aren’t many death animations for the heroes here. In previous editions, practically every closer encounter with the opponent ended with a dedicated animation. Here there are a lot less of them and we just see the standard death animation more often. It’s a pity, because these comedy animations were something characteristic of the series.
The game runs smoothly, at least on PS4 Pro, where it maintains a relatively stable 60fps. I did not play on the basic PS4, but I know that things can be different there and the game can crunch at times.
The creators have also prepared several attractions for more players. Here we find a special mode in which up to 4 players can race through the levels on time or who will destroy the boxes. But in the basic game, we can turn on the alternating mode at any time, in which we pass the controller over every death or discovered checkpoint! Yes, the fun that many of you used to play in the PSX era is now supported by the game. Great news that will make a typical singles game become a couch co-op.
The game has not been dubbed in Polish, but all the subtitles are available in our native language. So this is definitely a position that the youngest will be able to play, although the level of difficulty may deter them in their case.
I also have to complain about the loading time of the levels, but this is more of a complaint towards the generation of consoles slowly declining into history than the game itself. Loading the level for the first time may take a while, fortunately after that, possible deaths do not involve any loading time. Fortunately, this is slowly becoming a topic of the past, along with the new generation.
Crash is back! This is a very good platformer, perfect for fans of the series and genre. Definitely the best game of this type on PS4 and Xbox One recently released. I had a lot of fun with it and if this level is to be represented by the new Activision games, I will ask for more!