Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy Review – Vicarious Revisions

It is the law that you must refer to the titular hero of Crash Bandicoot as a marsupial every time you talk about him. I don’t know how or why this terrible law was put into place by Bill Clinton, but he did it and we all have to live with it.

I’m glad I got it out of the way early.

Developer: Vicarious Visions
Publisher: Activision
Format: PS4
Released: June 30, 2017
Copy purchased

If you had a PlayStation back in the day, chance were high of you encountering Crash Bandicoot in some form or other. It was difficult not to at least have a demo disc with those famous first levels on it, Sony being keen to show just how good those graphics looked – and believe it or not, Crash Bandicoot was a stunner for its time.

Though it formed a big part of the push toward a new era of game design, Naughty Dog’s original mascot platformer was chained to relics that kept it firmly rooted in the past. Its chief problem was a need for precise platforming navigation in an environment that simply was not built for such precision.

With third-person cameras still in their infancy, Crash Bandicoot suffered from depth-perception inadequacies and awkward framing that often confounded a player’s attempts to finagle abrupt ledges.

Nevertheless, it’s hard not to retain a certain fondness for one of the last memorable platforming mascots, and despite the N. Sane Trilogy‘s replication (and slight amplification) of the original frustrations, there’s a nostalgic worth in coming back.

Containing Crash BandicootCrash Bandicoot 2, and Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, Vicarious Vision’s upgraded trip to PlayStation Past is a visually impressive reworking, taking every character and environmental detail to a gorgeous new height that bursts with color and lively animation.

Crash himself, no longer a manic-eyed jumble of jagged pixels, is fully expressive and looks fantastic with his fully rendered fur. Those notorious Temple of Doom levels are terrific with an HD coat of paint, while bosses are brimming with the kind of personality they just couldn’t communicate when bound to such crude polygonal representation.

Additionally, some rerecorded audio gives us consistency across all three games. The antagonistic Dr. Neo Cortex is now voiced across all three games by Lex Lang, who does a solid turn as the cranially impressive villain.

For the most part, gameplay is untouched. From a purist standpoint, this ensures the old Crash you loved feels like it should, though an unfortunate decision to alter the way jumping works based on Warped means the original Crash Bandicoot can actually be tricker to control than he used to be – this is quite an issue considering he already handled awkwardly as an early 3D platform protagonist.

Despite this additional hindrance, Crash Bandicoot is still a considerable amount of fun. Dated, occasionally infuriating fun, but fun nonetheless.

The only other notable addition is the ability to play as Coco in the original two games after dealing with the first boss. She can’t be used in certain stages, such as Hog Wild, but she’s there if you’re sick of jeans and want to see somebody in denim dungarees.

Personally, most of the enjoyment is based in nostalgia and I can’t help but wonder just how much I’d enjoy the game if I were playing it for the first time. It’s not that Crash has aged so poorly as to be unplayable these days – it’s still a highly adequate platformer in a world bereft of them – but I’m not sure my patience would have remained had I not known characters like Ripper Roo were yet to be encountered and I just had to hit those familiar beats.

N. Sane Trilogy, I’ll admit, is a difficult game for me to personally quantify, so aware I am that rose-tinted glasses are responsible for much of my retained fondness, while nevertheless wishing to compliment Vicarious Visions on a largely faithful remaster that genuinely impresses in the visual department.

It’s one of those games where you have to carefully weight the quality of the game itself against the quality of the remastering, and determine which elements deserve the most critical attention. Again, however, I need to reiterate that none of the Crash Bandicoot games are bad, and in fact the trilogy gets mechanically more enjoyable as each game continues, but that may account for the difficulty in my assessment – if the original title was simply terrible, it’d be far easier to write it off.

Ultimately, I can only say I had fun going back to Crash Bandicoot, even if I found myself wanting to toss my controller at certain points and that notorious sky bridge level is still one of the absolute worst pieces of interactive crap you could ever suffer.

Probably just best to go for the safe score, eh?

7/10
Good

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89 Comments on "Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy Review – Vicarious Revisions"

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SaintHeartwing
Member

Wait. Wait. WAIT. “Dated, occasionally infuriating fun, but fun nonetheless.” So the controls and stuff being dated are fine HERE. And you admit nostalgia might be playing a huge role, but it’s fine HERE…but it’s NOT fine with Yooka-Laylee? Isn’t that just a BIT of cognitive dissonance?

Raen
Guest
Raen

On top of the controls being dated, Yooka-Laylee was also ugly, empty, and had terrible dialogue. Crash looks stunning, has full levels, and has dialogue that doesn’t make the characters obnoxious.

VinLAURiA
Guest
VinLAURiA

They got rid of the Crash font. I’ll never understand why they did that.

Themoonlightwolf1
Member

I rate it approximately “not Spyro”/10.

Martina Veselá
Member

Who knows, maybe if this game sells well, Activision CEOs will finally pull their heads out of their asses and realize that there is a market for Spyro and old school platformers in general. I’d sure like a new Spyro… and new Jak & Daxter too, while we’re at it.

Joe Lomax
Guest
Joe Lomax
I understand the need to remake certain games. Possible reasons could be that the controls are now outdated, for example many fps games which had god awful clunky controls compared to the dual analogue stick/ WASD + mouse setup which became standard after a certain point. But a game like Crash Bandicoot? From what I’ve seen from various playthroughs etc all they seemed to have changed is the graphics and the ‘continue’ mechanic where if you lose all your lives you can restart the level. Personally I think that aesthetically speaking the lower polygon count of the earlier game adds… Read more »
Christo Hammond
Member

The main reason for remasters is to allow a new audience access to them. There’s not so many PS 1s floating around any more. Not so easy for people that missed it back in the day to play it now.

Kaye Faye
Member
They changed more, trust me. Mostly with Crash Bandicoot 1. But they changed the physics and certain control aspects just enough that the games feel a little bit more modern (And in the case of Crash 1, a lot more playable.) and there are also changes to Crash 1 that make it more in line with the other two. They changed 2 & 3 a lot less though… but still tweaked it a little. You’d notice it if you played the originals back to back with the remake, and I think it feels a lot nicer. Save for the Jetski… Read more »
S7ubbs
Guest
S7ubbs

The saving system was worth the remake alone. Trust me

Diet Doctor Dingus
Guest
Diet Doctor Dingus

I would honestly bite the nostalgia bullet and issue this game an 8.5 or even a 9. I personally had a damn great time with all of these games, ESPECIALLY 1&2. I even 100%’d them because I couldn’t get enough.

Sperium3000
Member

Oh, and just a heads up, I translated this review to Brazilian Portuguese to post it on this facebook group I’m a part of. As always, I put a disclaimer saying who actually wrote it and where it came from, so if you don’t like it just gimme a heads up and I’ll take it down.

Sperium3000
Member

Also I never had this depth perception problem everyone’s been talking about. Not judging or holding it over everyone’s heads or anything, just saying. It’s weird, guess it depends on the person.

Sperium3000
Member
I’ve been hearing how much these games haven’t aged very well like others of its time, the Mario 64 comparison pops up frequently. And my immediate impulse is to say “Have you PLAYED Mario 64 recently? ‘Cause guess what buckaroo, that hasn’t aged well either. Maybe the first levels where the world is open and enemies are placed in dumb easy ways, but as soon as the game demands precision platforming from you everything goes to shiiiiiiiiiiit…” But I digress. Crash 3 was the first game I played in the Playstation and I always loved this series. It’s funny how… Read more »
Joe90
Guest
Joe90

In my opinion, not a lot from that first wave of 3D games aged at all well, and it’s folly to try and force newer players to go back to them. Remasters like this are awesome because they can present the games of the past in a shiny new way, so we can judge them more fairly on their gameplay.

It’s why I was interested in a Final Fantasy 7 remake… Until they announced it was going to be an action game.

Sperium3000
Member

Rayman 2 is still pretty good I think.

JackieGoOutside
Guest
JackieGoOutside

I thought this would get a 7 since it would require them to screw up really bad to get lower.

I, personally, wouldn’t rate a remaster more than 7 unless it added more or it was significantly different from the original, no matter how much I would have rated the original. Fancier graphics don’t really change the fact it’s a game that has already been done.

Nick
Guest
Nick

I can’t wait to see all the butthurt comparing this and Yooka-Laylee.

Claire Robsahm
Guest
Claire Robsahm

Now when are we getting Spyro trilogy remastered, Sony? ;;

Sam Leheny
Member

Just remember kids, biased reviews are fine as long as the bias is transparent. Then it’s up to the viewer as to whether or not that bias is a deal breaker when considering the review’s validity.
I’ve got all the same nostalgia for this series as Jim does, so for me this was a very useful review.

TemplarGR
Guest
TemplarGR
Bias is fine. Reviews are opinions and every single opinion is biased. What is not fine, is bribery. In every form it can take. And sometimes, no, in fact, most of the time, reviewers attempt to hide their shady ways behind the excuse that “reviews are just an opinion”, while it is obvious to any adult with a functioning brain that this is a bought and paid for “opinion”. So yeah, while i do agree that reviews ARE biased by default, i hate it when people keep mentioning it all the time. PS: This doesn’t imply Jim is a corrupt… Read more »
Christoph Brinkmann
Member

Please be sure to let us know which reviewers were bribed. Do note that you’ll need to provide proof of said bribery, because, well, duh. I mean, certainly you wouldn’t just accuse someone of being bribed just because you disagree with their review, right? That’s just dumb!

BAH!
Member
BAH!

And I wager those “obvious” reviews are ones you disagree with? Because they can’t be ones you agree with, that’s just lunacy.

RT
Member

There’s no such thing as an unbiased review.

beepeess
Guest
beepeess

There is! Jim did it for one of the Final Fantasy games

MeerKarl
Guest
MeerKarl

While it’s true, people tend to forget about that, so a reminder is always good 😀

Maxine Caulfield
Member
Maxine Caulfield

You’re really not the one to decide what’s fine and what’s not, buddy.

Ps1
Guest
Ps1

Wtf? You high? This has to be one of the best remastered game ever.

Megaoverlord12
Member
I played a fair number on 3D platformers (all 3D Marios and Sonics, most of the Ratchet & Clanks, Jak 3, and Banjo-Kazooie); friend brought over his PS4 for our group of friends (who are MUCH less proficient with 3D platformers mind) and I to try it. We started with the first game and absolutely hated it. The level design feels cheap, with death pits seemingly hidden by the camera, and an obnoxious amount of pixel perfect platforming. The boar riding level can go and die. Not to mention that you have no idea whether you should bother trying to… Read more »
Concubinary Code
Member

Movement does feel a bit better in 2 thanks to new moves but the vehicle levels handle like ass unfortunately. I think the ski levels in 3 are the worst offenders.

Lana Lang
Guest
Lana Lang

Did Bill Clinton actually do that or are you trolling me?

MuddyScarecrow
Member

He’s absolutely trolling. This is like how he and Conrad constantly say that Tori Amos invented cynicism. XD

Brett-Sonoka Gau
Member

Good to know it’s exactly as good as BotW.

dr7sun
Member

Brace yourself for the irrational Zelda fans… 🙂

Roger Civit
Member
I’ve never been interested in 3d platformers, especially early 3d ones. The Ps1 was technologically challenged for its time and any PC back then, even though the idea of gaming pcs wasn’t a thing, was better than it as long as you had at least a Voodo1. 3d platformers’ camera issues, impossibility of knowing where you’d land due to perspective and the need for pixel perfect jumps – a mechanic inherited from the days of 2d platformers, where it made sense because you knew how much you’d jump in advance – made these games absolutely unplayable for me. If anything,… Read more »
Tonglongninja
Guest
Tonglongninja

You’ve got a skewed perspective as far as the tech of the time goes. In the west the PSX was out for a year before Voodoo became a thing, but considering widespread glide support was still a ways off, practically it was more like 2 years, and that’s if you were an early adopter.

The reality at the time was software rendering, and probably at 320×240. Compared to that the PSX was actually pretty competitive.

Aroooonnnn
Guest
Aroooonnnn

Not my first time i played back in the day…I used the ropes too hahaha

Foolish
Guest
Foolish

But Yooka Laylee gets 2/10?

DrLangeskov
Guest
DrLangeskov
I think I know why you are upset. You see these two “older” platformers that have very different scores. Both have that a nostalgia factor surrounding them. The one you like Yooka Laylee got a 2/10 yet Crash bandicoot got 7/10 and you think to yourself: They had the same issues yet he gave that one 7/10!! Bullshit!. The thing you are missing or didn’t read is context. I will give you a example of why context is important. Lets say someone punches you in the face. Are you going to punch them back? Or Talk to me? If you… Read more »
mjc0961
Guest
mjc0961

“I say watered-down because many factors lead to a score (those factors are explained in the words before the score)”

Oh man, I am absolutely loving this shade.

DrLangeskov
Guest
DrLangeskov

Talk to them XD*

Left4Coragem
Member

Yooka Laylee is a new game that chooses to not have modern mechanics to would make it better.

Crash is an old game with graphical improvements and its flaws are because it was the best that the developers could do with what they had.

In the same way i can give the first Doom a better score than Doom 3.

some nerd
Guest
some nerd

it’s like, his opinion, man

machine_dirty
Member

I was playing all of these games for the first time and I quite enjoyed them and didn’t have too many issues with the platforming due to having never played the original games(Those bridge levels are still tough though, but can be skipped over if you use the ropes).

Deus Ecks
Member

I think you mixed up the Coco paragraph and the “despite this additional hindrance” paragraph. Or are you saying being able to play as Coco is a hindrance?

justintimeforsupper
Admin

Yep, that was a mix up, he said. Got it corrected in the right order now. Thanks for pointing that out!

commanderkyubey
Member

I read that the same way, was kinda confused initially.

WhackedOffFanboy
Guest
WhackedOffFanboy

WTF? This package is a 6.9/10

Who’s sucking you of for the extra .1 score that has no significance?

Eggabooha
Guest
Eggabooha

I’d guess…. No one.

ObsidianWarPJs
Member

Excellent score snark aside, would folks recommend this for someone who never played the originals as a kid? Most of my platforming experience is in 2D Mario / Sonic games, though I’m finding I’m really enjoying Super Mario 3D Land.

mjc0961
Guest
mjc0961

I would go for it, but if you get frustrated with Crash 1, don’t quit the entire collection. Just move on to Crash 2.

machine_dirty
Member

I certainly would, I never played the originals growing up(never owned a PS1) but I still immensely enjoyed this game. I actually think people who never played the originals might have an easier time with the controls since they won’t have muscle memory issues.

Kirk Hammer
Member
Some of the levels (especially in the first game) are frustrating, but there’s a lot of solid fun to be had regardless of if you’ve played them before, and the presentation – music, animations and levels – are really quite charming. Plus you can play them in any order, so you can switch back and forth if you’re getting cheesed off with a particular part, and if you do like them there’s secrets and time trials to add replayability. (Disclaimer: While I 100% completed them for the first time as an adult, I first played them as a child so… Read more »
Tufan Ö.
Guest
Tufan Ö.

Thank you Jim. For giving me the once in a lifetime opportunity to use the word ‘marsupial’ within an actual context.

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