Review: Crash Bandicoot 4

It's about time! Crash Bandicoot 4 is here and this is the first real sequel in the series after 22 years! Crash Bandicoot 3 already appeared in 1998. After that we only saw spin-off games until the N. Sane Trilogy appeared.

The N. Sane Trilogy breathed new life into Crash Bandicoot. And Vicarious Visions and Activision managed very well to keep that old feeling. Now, in 2020 the fourth part in the Crash Bandicoot series will be released. Crash Bandicoot 4 is not from Vicarious Visions, but this time from Toys For Bob . We know this studio from the Spyro – Reignited Trilogy, among other things . The studio is therefore not afraid to display the purple mascot in this new Crash game. A nice nod to another timeless classic. Could we see a new Spyro game after this as a sequel to the original trilogy? Let's hope so!

Hey Spyro!

Old and familiar?

Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time appears more than 22 years after the third part and from a completely different developer. Will it just happen to develop a sequel that takes the same energy as the original games? Surprisingly, the answer to this question is yes. The newly added elements feel natural, but offer just enough innovation to make it a sequel anyway. A very nice result, especially when you consider that most game series feel completely different when they change developers. Something that also happened with Crash Bandicoot in the past. Our favorite bandicoot seems to have found his spirit again.

New in Crash Bandicoot!

The big addition to this Crash Bandicoot game are the new Quantum Masks. Each mask has a unique power that you must use to tackle the new dangers in this platformer. Crash and CoCo can both wear these masks, as soon as you put on a specific mask you have the powers that the mask brings.

With the help of Lani-Loli you can conjure objects out of and into existence. Objects are displayed as a blue shadow. By activating the mask, the objects are conjured into the real world, while other objects are then conjured out of the world. It is an interaction so that you have to conjure objects out and into existence on certain platform pieces while jumping.

With Akano you can keep spinning to destroy boxes, among other things. While spinning you will also stay in the air longer, so you need Akano to cover longer distances in the air. Kupuna-Wa slows down time allowing you to bring falling boulders to near stop and jump over them. Ika-Ika can completely reverse gravity allowing you to walk on the ceiling to avoid hazards on the ground.

Above all, don't worry! Aku Aku is still there to provide Crash with extra lives and power-ups. The other masks with special powers are not found in random places. You will only find them if you really need them to progress through a certain part of a level.

But where do the masks come from?

Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time takes place right after the events of Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped. dr. Neo Cortex, N. Tropy and Uka Uka escape from time prison and tear a hole in everything that keeps time and space in its proper place. This brings Crash and CoCo into contact with the powerful masks that can bend the laws of reality, but these are not the only helpers the bandicoots will need.

Thanks to the rift in time and space, we come across Tawna, among others. Luckily, she blasts into our reality just in time to save Crash and Coco. While Crash and CoCo have exactly the same playstyle, the new playable characters such as Tawna, Neo Cortex and Dingodile add new elements to the battle. Again, you don't have a free choice about which character to play. This depends on the level. Tawna, for example, includes a walljump and a grappling hook that she needs to move through the level. No other character has this ability. Neo Crotex can turn enemies into platforms with his pistol, and Dingodile has a cannon that allows him to suck up boxes, suck up TNT barrels and blast away.

Something that Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time is especially not, is monotonous. Thanks to the different characters and masks, no level is even remotely the same as the previous one. In addition, there is also a new N. Verted mode for every level you have completed. In this version you play the same level, but with certain filters that affect the gameplay. For example, you have a level in black and white and everything is colored by destroying boxes.

More difficult, but still not

With all these new elements mixed up, this installment in the Crash Bandicoot series seems more difficult than the original games. And sometimes this is true. After the intro level, which is strongly based on the very first level from Crash Bandicoot, the pace picks up quickly. To keep you a bit from all the dangers, the game offers two ways to play the game. You can play the classic way like the original trilogy, but also the modern way.

The modern way means you never really go game over. You don't have a certain number of lives, but always return at the last checkpoint. So you never have to start all over again. Although this is a very handy mode to play relaxed through the game, it takes away the old feeling a bit. There's not really the same urge to get it right the first time, because I only have so many lives. The sense of danger is less, which was iconic about the trilogy. Of course you can play the classic way, but why would you voluntarily make it harder for yourself?

In addition to the new play mode, a better shadow has been added to the game with a yellow circle around it. This allows you to see exactly where your character is going to land. It used to be difficult in the Crash games to estimate exactly where you would end up because the perspectives change every time and sometimes are not very favorable for the platform.

Verdict

Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time really feels like a natural sequel to the N. Sane Trilogy and the original trilogy that ended over 20 years ago. Usually you would say that the quality of the games goes down after a trilogy because the creativity and possibilities are hard to find. This certainly does not apply to Crash Bandicoot 4. Toys For Bob has perhaps made one of the best successors to a classic series that is renewed, but still feels nice and familiar.

After Crash Bandicoot also Spyro?

 

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