It’s been a long time, but the legendary Crash Bandicoot has returned with an all new game. It’s about time needless to say, and it’s definitely up to the standards of the titles that came before it. I will note that I was going to throw this one a perfect score, but it is a tad overly brutal towards the end so I’ll talk about that more in a bit.
The just of the story here is that the villains have returned, finding a way out of their dimensional confinement and are causing some problems across the realms of time and space. You’re obviously out there to stop them, with Crash and Coco once again teaming up with a variety of other characters. It’s actually quite neat that other characters come into the mix, for some slightly different platforming styles.
There are some extra options that feature these individuals which I won’t spoil so that they can be freshly enjoyed. That’s part of the extra value here, the option to play some minor extra missions with different styles. Past that, you can also play levels again with the N.Verse setting that gives it a sort of echolocation vibe I suppose you could say. It’s weird, but something different for more value.
The core game does have some solid options for levels, there’s a good quantity of them too. I was really loving them too, but the last few levels are just insanely tedious and brutal. They don’t tonally make sense as they’re not really levels at one point. Just floating dungeons of hell, it was weird. Sort of killed the fun to me, as it felt so out of place with a good chunk of the game.
A weird choice and direction to take, which was definitely thoroughly disappointing. Now, with the campaign there are two ways to play. A classic hardcore challenge and a regular game type. I played regularly which was mostly a fair challenge except for the end of the experience. It was weird, as for the most part this mode dynamically adapted and gave assistance if it felt you were dying a lot.
That totally gets removed towards the end, such an odd change for sure. That aside, I thought the narrative was mostly handled well. Great cinematic segments with excellent cartoon style animations. I did have a problem with the tonal shift and extra content prior to the futuristic area that felt somewhat out of place. It was just an extra extension that felt it made things a tad bloated.
You’ll be moving across this lovely and detailed dimensional hub to visit spots. It’s got a classic style to it, and is very detailed. There are special missions to unlock, and many ways to interact with it. Each level is also filled to the brim with bonus areas, collectibles to gather and extra challenges. It’s surprisingly in-depth in that regard, many ways to play and continue to do so if you’re a completionist. The core movement is very much on brand, but feels fine tuned and great.
It’s got a good amount of precision for performing the very dynamic 3D platforming you encounter. They give you a variety of challenges, and perspectives in that regard. Sometimes there are sequences where you’re running Crash towards you, other times from the side or even slightly above. It’s quite amazing how they continuously provide distinct platforming on each level, yet make it feel familiar to what you’ve come across prior.
Every single area also carries its own themes, designs and enemies. In levels you’ll want to tread carefully, but checkpoints come in handy. The areas you see area also incredibly detailed, every scene is filled to the brim with things going on. From the foreground to the far backdrop there’s a lot going on and it feels lively. That’s the case whether you’re spinning around or grinding at a blistering fast pace.
The 60fps aspect is great in that regard, though I was slightly disappointed at the 1080p target on Xbox One X and other platforms. Still, looks great for the most part and it’s mostly cinematics where you can really tell the visual drop is present. Past that, they really do keep things fresh in this one from the areas you visit to the style of play. Whether you’re swapping between characters, riding some things or hopping about it keeps it consistently fresh.
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time delivers the sequel fans would expect, and one that’s really good for newcomers yet the strange twisted hardcore latter portion is a sore spot. It’s just so out of place, and I think a more fine tuned time would have been better. I was leaning on a perfect scoring for this one and it really did sort of decline my enjoyment having to deal with that tedious out of nowhere difficulty spike. That and the extra levels aren’t necessarily wildly enticing to play.
I thought they could have went in a slightly different direction for the N.Verse setups. Whatever the case, there’s a lot of content here and hours of collectible hunting if that’s your thing. It’s on brand with the series, brings back this iconic character and does so respectably. It even brings on some fun extra characters to play as, and Coco is always available which is cool.
They did well this one, just some spots of it don’t quite hit the mark. Really enticing locations, well done platforming that’s varied and a strangely insane hardcore twist towards the end. Still, I want to see more of it and hopefully this is them just getting started with the franchise. I think there’s more for them to deliver, and further stories to be told. It’s good to bring in some familiar styles, and I hope they go further with different foes next time around.
Read our Battletoads Review
View our Crash Bandicoot Hub
Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time Review on Xbox One X
Review Code Provided by Activision