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It’s about time after time
A new Crash Bandicoot game you say? It’s about time to rage quit another hard platform-jumping game and throw controller to the wall — or, is it? Well, I didn’t knew the answer, until I played the newest installment Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time. I played first half the game on PS4 Pro and the second half on PS5, because why not? The real reason was, that this review process was interrupted by multiple health-related issues, then PS5 launched, where I jumped-in immediately, so I continued my gameplay from that console.
Yes, it’s about time to stop gabbling and go into this review already.
The story and previous games
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is direct sequel to the previous trilogy and a new release to the series in over 10-whole-years! Previous original release (not counting remakes) was Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, which It’s About Time continues directly from. I know, all the names and releases might get little bit confusing, because the series started all the way from 1996 on PS1 through PS4, and some releases in U.S. and EU got different names on them — AND! — there’s also other Crash -games that are out of the main series. Sigh.
But, that doesn’t mean, you can’t play this newest game! Not at all! Crash Bandicoot games used to have rather simple storylines and they can be read online quickly, if you wanna catch up. If you really wanna jump-in, then you should play Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy (PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Windows), the remade first three games.
About the story, yes. One huge difference It’s About Time has to the previous titles; the story got much more content this time around. I mean, there’s even some plot twists and all!! The amount of cutscenes also seems more than tripled with new characters included.
For not spoiling anything, I keep it short and simple: *inhale* The well-known villains Neo Cortex and Dr. N. Tropy have escaped their interdimentional prison, now plotting to conquer all the dimensions! Thankfully, Crash and his sister Coco aren’t alone dealing with this problem. Guardians of the time and space have also awoken, due to this multiversiuminal (<- made up word) disruption, since the two fugitives left huge hole in the universe as they escaped. The guardians are four Quantum Masks, that can embody Crash and Coco with special abilities to bend mathematical rules of spacetime, which is very helpful in this crazily over-the-top platforming game. *and breathe again*
I love the whole plot and storytelling, specially those overlapping plots (i.e. what happens elsewhere at the same time and how it affects your current gameplay). The gameplay and story got more longetivity by throwing twists and turns in it, which did felt as they belong than forcefully trying to make the game longer.
Gameplay, Controls, Graphics and Sound
Comparing to the previous release (N. Sane Trilogy), It’s About Time is pretty much the same with the gameplay. I did feel this being more easy title, than the N. Sane Trilogy, becauase I couldn’t completely finish that title, but this one was much more ease to play through. The game also does include lots of new stuff like those masks that grants superpowers, N. Verted mode (that changes the levels to create more challenge), new character Tawna, Timelines (playing levels with other character’s perspective), Flashback tapes (to play levels that tell stories Crash and Coco’s past) and many other new and old things were added to keep the gameplay interesting. I must say, I was first time ever interested to collect everything and try to beat the game 100%! Everything felt balanced and the levels got harder peacefully.
Controls were almost the same, but of course including the new moves that comes with each mask and character. I have to mention something about the characters, though. All of them moves differently and it was painful trying to quickly be comfortable with them. It took time to memorize their moves and what they can do and what they cannot.
Graphically this is like playing an animation movie. Everything’s such lush, colourful and rich. Level design stays true to the Crash Bandicoot series and I don’t think it needed any major changes. The levels and areas varies greatly from theme to theme, sometimes I just stopped playing and gazed the scenery.
The sound desing was interesting, all sounded familiar, but new. All the new music and sound effects did remain the signature Crash Bandicoot style. In video games, the music or certain sound effects might get repeatedly annoying, but I didn’t feel any of that, because it varied greatly and didn’t felt copy-pasted.
Compiling it all together
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time has lots of characters (new and old) and fresh exciting story. I did find the story and the countless cutscene animations overly intriguing for the first time. The cutscenes didn’t always feel ultra short, like they previously used to be, but were long enough to grant a little break and gaze the beautiful and sharp animation. I think the new character Tawna should’ve had more exposure and levels to play, because her skill and moves were cool.
For the first time I think there’s so much content in a Crash Bandicoot game, that I’m not gonna explain them all here, but let players discover them by themselves. I did play this long hours and for a long period of time, because I did wanted to collect things and find secrets. Don’t be afraid to jump off the screen or try some odd stunt moves, to check does it hide a secret, because I did just that all the time, and was surprised to find hidden things.
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time has a long lifespan and great replayability value. Yes, I did lost my nerve sometimes, but it wasn’t like it made me rage quit and throw the controller out of the window, because the game is developed to help if you fail too many times. It’ll add checkpoint boxes or grants you Aku-Aku mask for make it little easier to reach the next checkpoint.
This is very good sequel to the main series and I (who’ve been playing Crash games since 1998) truly recommend this to your platforming collection.
(Review copy kindly provided by Activision)
“Graphically this is like playing an animation movie. Everything’s such lush, colourful and rich”
Play as newly designed Crash or Coco on their journey to save the multiverse or as as the fiendish Dr. Neo Cortex, Dingodile or Tawna, each equipped with their own unique playstyle.
Uncover four powerful Quantum Masks, the guardians of space and time, that must be reunited to restore order to the multiverse.
Many of the levels in the game feature the perspective-shifting, core precision platforming that fans know and love, while others will introduce players to massive bosses, high-speed mount rides and thrilling chases.
An all-new style of play called N. Verted mode gives players alternate perspectives, sound effects, music and in some dimensions, additional transformations to experience
Try your hands at the Modern and Retro modes or compete head-to-head with up to four players in either Bandicoot Battle competitive mode or Pass N. Play co-op mode – because sharing is caring.
RELEASE DATE: October 2, 2020
GENRE: Action / Platform
LEAD DEVELOPER: Toys for Bob
PUBLISHER: Activision Publishing, Inc.
PLATFORMS: PS4 (played on PS4 and PS5)
Xbox One / Xbox One X/S
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