Damn. Life comes at you fast. One minute, you’re 16 years old playing a game where you’re an anthropomorphic marsupial trying to save his girlfriend from a hydrocephalic mad scientist, marveling at all the pretty polygons. Twenty years later and you find yourself about to do it all over again — only this time in glorious 4K.
Just in time to tickle our collective nostalgia bones, Activision is releasing Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy for PlayStation 4. For $39.99, you get the first three entries into the series remastered in sumptuous 4K, which is perfect for PlayStation 4 Pro owners.
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In addition to the new coat of paint, Activision and developer Vicarious Visions have introduced some welcome changes, such as a much-needed save and checkpoint system, time trials, online leaderboards and the ability to play as Crash’s sister, Coco, through a lot of the levels.
Before you start running, dashing and spinning down memory lane, take a couple minutes to enjoy the upgraded scenery. Instead of pointy polygons and muddy textures, the Trilogy looks like a lovingly-animated cartoon. The jungle is a sea of vibrant greens, pinks and blues that definitely took my breath away when I first started playing.
Crash actually has discernible fur, as do the other furry characters he encounters along the way. I did a spin attack on a sheep only to watch it explode into a cloud of gray fluff. The music also got an update — nothing too drastic, just a few tweaks here and there.
Aside from the audio/visual changes, this is still the same old Crash–for better or worse. The platforming is at its best during the second and third titles of the series, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and Crash Bandicoot: Warped. You can tell that Naughty Dog, the original developers of the games, had learned from previous titles, so there aren’t as many cheap deaths due to a jump that’s poorly timed.
That’s not to say that you won’t die many, many times. This is still an old-school platformer, so, yes, you’ll be cashing in the farm more times than you’d like to admit. But now, when you get scorched by one of the lab assistants in Cortex, it’ll be on you and not some inexplicable game quirk. The game retains its funny, if not morbid death scenes, so you can have a quick chuckle in lieu of rage quitting.
Overall, I’d recommend getting reacquainted or introducing him to the younger gamer in your life. The game mechanics hold up well for all three titles and they’re simply gorgeous to play through, especially on PlayStation 4 Pro. All in all, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is a lesson in nostalgia done right.