Thursday, July 5, 2018

Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy Review (XONE)

In my mind, Crash Bandicoot has always been the enemy. I was firmly on the Nintendo side of the Great PS1 vs. N64 Console Warz and the orange bandicoot and gray box you played it on were hated rivals back in the day. Long after I got over my extreme Nintendo fanboyism I have somehow still managed to completely avoid playing any Crash games besides Crash Team Racing. I even stubbornly refused to play the initial release of the Crash N.Sane Trilogy on PS4 for some silly reason. I'm ready to put all of that behind me now that the Crash N.Sane Trilogy is on Xbox One, however, and have finally given the original Crash games the attention they deserve. My conclusion: This is one of the best remasters ever and the old Crash games are pretty darn fun. See all of the details our our full Crash N.Sane Trilogy review for Xbox One.

Game Details

  • Publisher: Activision
  • Developer: Vicarious Visions
  • ESRB Rating: "E10" for Everyone 10+
  • Genre: Platforming
  • Pros: Tons of content; great visuals; fantastic throwback gameplay
  • Cons: Wildly inconsistent difficulty; Crash 1 is kinda lame
  • MSRP: $40 
Buy Crash N.Sane
Trilogy at
As I mentioned above, this is my first time playing these games in any form so I'm blissfully unaware if they feel different or of the physics changed or the hit boxes aren't as good or whatever. I also don't have any fond nostalgic memories of playing the games clouding my judgement. I can comment on them purely based on what they are rather than whay they were. If you're looking for a comparison to the original releases, look elsewhere. If you're a Crash newbie and just want to know how the Crash N.Sane Trilogy plays in 2018, you've come to the right place.

The Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy is a collection of the first three Crash games - Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, and Crash Bandicoot: Warped - from PS1. Technically it lies somewhere between a remaster and a remake as certain elements from the original Naughty Dog-developed games such as the level geometry were used as blueprints for the levels but the gameplay mechanics and visuals had to be built from scratch by Vicarious Visions for these new versions of the games. The result is a stunningly accurate re-creation of the original games, warts and all, with a surprisingly gorgeous current-gen coat of paint.

The sheer amount of content available in the Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy is undeniably impressive. You are getting three full-lengthy fully-realized games full of dozens of levels and hundreds of collectibles and hidden secrets all for just $40. Seeing it all can take dozens of hours for completionists. I also want to add that it comes with 3000 GamerScore on Xbox One - 1000 points for each game - which is very appealing as well.

So how do these three 90's Crash games actually play? Pretty darn well, actually. The original Crash Bandicoot games were touted as being 3D platformers, obviously to put them in the same breath as Mario 64 and other similar games on N64, but the truth is that they're really much closer to 2D platformers than the more open sandbox-style the term "3D platformer" has come to represent. That isn't meant to pooh pooh the Crash games, though, as their 2D-style platforming from a 3D over the shoulder perspective works really well and makes them feel unique among the platforming genre as a whole. The games have a variety of level types in addition to the straightforward "3D" ones, too, including 2D side-scrolling levels, levels where you ride animals, levels where you're running towards the camera while being chased by something, and even some vehicle levels. The games constantly throw new stuff at you which keeps them interesting.

The individual games themselves also feel pretty distinct from one another, too. Crash 1 is the most simple with only a spin attack and jump ability while Crash 2 adds a slide and belly flop and Crash 3 adds even more gimmicks. The fine control and overall feel of the games, as well as the level designs, evolved as well with Crash 1 feeling pretty rough while the other two games are much more refined. The result is that Crash 1 has a lot more wonky levels with seemingly impossible jumps and frustrating enemy placements compared to the following games which are a lot more polished and fun overall. All three games have fairly wildly inconsistent difficulty at points, though, which can be frustrating. That's just how games used to be, though, so you can't really complain.

While the gameplay is true to the old days, the presentation is fully up to current gen standards and looks and sounds fantastic. Crash looks wonderfully fuzzy and is very expressive and the worlds you play in are bright and colorful and nicely detailed. The sound is excellent as well with newly recorded voice work to make it consistent between all of the games and the music is ridiculously catchy.

All in all, the Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy is an outstanding blast from the past that is easily one of the best remasters ever. The presentation is polished to near perfection and the gameplay holds up remarkably well even all of these years later. For me personally, I'm glad to finally get to play them and see what all of the fuss was about and anyone who hasn't played them already - either out of being too young to play them originally or out of pure stubbornness like me - will have a great time discovering these games in 2018. Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy on Xbox One is a great collection and is highly recommended for a purchase.
Disclosure: A review code was provided by the publisher.