Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy: First Impressions
After many years, Crash Bandicoot is back, and he's returned just as tough, addictive and nostalgic as you remember!
One of the most significant improvements developer Vicarious Visions has made in the N. Sane Trilogy was redesigning the gameplay to work with analog sticks on the PS4 controller. When the original games released over two decades ago, they pre-dated analog sticks which were later added to future PS1 controllers, known as the Dualshock, and became a customary way to play games ever since. The games were designed to be played on the Directional Pad (D-Pad), along with most platformer games of the era. However three generations later, its standard for games to be played with analog sticks and while Crash plays naturally and still feels weighty with analog sticks, I have found myself to occasionally switch back and forth between d-pad and analogs depending on the type of level.
As the original games were designed at a 4:3 ratio, the switch to a 16:9 ratio make the levels seem much larger than ever before, while still keeping the same scale of the original. Every single asset in the game has been made from the ground-up taking advantage of modern technology with beautiful attention to detail. Environments are no longer static, meaning plants and blades of grass sway in the wind, new lighting techniques liven up each scene and reflect off of Crash's player model and environmental objects such as boxes and enemies, Aku Aku's feathers blow back depending on what direction Crash is running in, as well as Crash himself rendered in much higher quality than ever before, with fur shaders similar to what was seen on Ratchet in the recent Ratchet & Clank remake last year. .
One problem the original game had was it's difficulty level. Crash Bandicoot was a very challenging game, and while it still is to this day, Vicarious Visions have done their best to mitigate these issues and have included small things that can both help teach newcomers, and breathe a sigh of relief for the hardcore. For starters, hints are displayed on the loading screen and in early levels to give players an idea of how to play and tips on how to beat the level or boss they're about to start. Bonus levels can now also be replayed as many times as necessary, with them not taking away your lives if you fail.
So far this is shaping up to be one of the best and most faithful remakes of a classic I've played yet. My experience with the N. Sane Trilogy so far has been based on the first game, so expect a full review of the collection as a whole in a week's time once I have played through all three games.