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Review: Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time

Review: Crash Bandicoot 4: With few imperfections, an enjoyable, goofy, deviously challenging and occasionally genius sequel.
4.5/5 - (63 votes)

Crash Bandicoot 4

Review: Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time –A flawed gem With some imperfections, Toys For Bob delivers an enjoyable, goofy, deviously challenging and occasionally genius sequel.

After both the critical and commercial success of the Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy and Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled, our favorite marsupial is back with a vengeance as Crash Bandicoot 4. It was only a matter of time before Activision would release a new part and now Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is finally in our midst. The developer on duty is Toys for Bob, who previously produced the excellent Spyro Reignited Trilogy. Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time markets itself as a sequel in the purest sense of the word. More, bigger and better. The game does not forget its past, but adds a lot of new elements to the series. The question is therefore whether more and bigger automatically means better? You can read whether that is the case in this review.

Where is that mask now?

The game builds on the events of Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped. Neo Cortex, N. Tropy and Uka Uka have been incarcerated for 22 years. However, this will change when Uka Uka, with his last bit of energy, manages to open a hole in reality. N. Tropy and Neo Cortex immediately seize their chance to escape and leave Uka Uka exhausted. They call that stench for thanks. N. Tropy immediately starts work on a Rift Generator to open even more portals to other dimensions to conquer not only the world, but the entire multiverse. So it is again up to Crash and Coco to prevent that. You are not alone in your journey through alternative dimensions. You will encounter many well-known characters from the series and you will receive help from the powerful Quantum Masks.

Crash Bandicoot 4

However, that help is not readily available. You have to find the masks first. Each mask gives you access to new powers. For example, with ‘Akano (that’s how it really is written) you can cause a whirlwind, so that you can cover very long distances. While with Kupuna-Wa you can slow down time. This is especially useful with fast moving platform segments and those annoying Nitro boxes. However, once you’ve found a mask, that doesn’t mean you have constant access to it. The masks can only be used in certain parts of the levels. In the beginning you have to deal with one mask, but as you progress, you have to use multiple masks alternately in the levels. However, the game builds up that difficulty level slowly,

That’s a good thing, because a lot is coming your way. Basically, this new part also remains faithful to the formula as it was conceived in 1996. In other words, you still play a 3D platformer from different perspectives (front, back and side view) while smashing crates and collecting Wumpas. That is interspersed with vehicle segments and pieces in which you are chased by, for example, a large monster. Here too, however, innovations are made to the formula. For example, it is now possible to run with Crash along certain walls, hang on rails or swing on ropes. Combine that with the aforementioned masks and you have many more options for reaching the end of a level. You would think this makes it easier, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Crash Bandicoot 4

Crash Bandicoot 4 – Frustration is lurking

The levels are set up much grander. Where you could clear a level fairly quickly in the Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy, you often spend much longer here. The motivation for doing this is understandable, as you need the space to play with all those new skills. However, it is also exactly the reason why the shoe starts to wring here. Previously it was rare that you had to collect more than 150 crates, now it often starts from 200. The more you have to collect, the more chances you have of missing crates and you have to start over. The same goes for dying. Yes, there are checkpoints to fall back on, but because the levels take longer, the distance is often too great. Especially if you want to get everything, the game can get frustrated that way pretty quickly.

Now the Crash Bandicoot series has never been easy, but this part takes it one step further. There is of course nothing wrong with a tough level of difficulty, but it must be fair and that is now less often the case. The danger regularly comes from corners that you cannot see, the camera does not always cooperate and some things are placed very unhappily on purpose. Think of explosive crates at the end of a difficult part. Fortunately, at the start of the game you can opt for a modern playing style, where you have unlimited lives and you always start again at the last checkpoint. It is therefore recommended to go for this. The masochists among us can choose the retro option, where you have a limited number of lives and have to start over when they run out.

Crash Bandicoot 4

Crash Bandicoot 4 – Charming charm

It’s About Time contains so much charm, however, that it quickly brushes away those small imperfections. The game looks great. As said before, the levels are large, with panoramic views and filled to the brim with details. From small animals in the background to beautiful effects. The story also gives the game an ideal excuse to come up with very varied worlds. You first sit among the pirate ships and dark caves on a tropical island and then end up in a Day of the Dead parade. You keep looking forward to the next world and if a certain level is frustrating, then the excellent design is enough to let you relax again. Furthermore, the delicious slapstick comedy smooths out the last sharp edges of the game.

Finally, the game’s replayability deserves a huge compliment. You can switch between Crash and Coco right from the start. During your adventure you can also work with Tawna, Dingo and Neo Cortex. They all have unique skills and their own levels, called Timeline Events, in which you experience events from their perspective. However, it is a shame that the levels are over so quickly and it is a strange choice that you have to play the last part again with Crash or Coco. You can also collect Flashback Tapes, which give you access to unique levels and you can replay existing levels with a twist in N.Verted mode. In the meantime, you can unlock skins (the game does not contain microtransactions, but Activision more often adds them after release) and you can play in Bandicoot Battle and Pass N.

Crash Bandicoot 4 – Conclusion

It is rare that the title of a game has been so well chosen, because indeed, it was high time for a new part in the Crash Bandicoot series. While playing it soon becomes clear that the developer Toys for Bob really made the game for the fans. Sure there is money to be made, but there is so much love in the game that it has basically become a tribute. In addition, innovations are not shunned and thanks to the slow ramp-up of all those extra possibilities, you will be prepared in time for the crazy end. There are some minor irritations and imperfections, but they are soon covered with the mantle of love. The virtually endless replayability is the proverbial icing on the cake.

Pros

  • Crazy story with a lot of slapstick comedy
  • Colorful worlds and characters
  • Large levels full of details
  • Varied gameplay
  • Virtually endlessly replaceable

Negatives

  • The camera sometimes works against you so that you do not see dangers coming
  • Distance between checkpoints is often too great
  • Difficulty is often offered cheaply

 

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