Platform: Xbox One
Available on: PC/Xbox One/PS4/Nintendo Switch
Genre: Platform game
Developer: Naughty Dog/Vicarious Visions
There is no more potent drug than that of nostalgia except when that nostalgia has been captured in 4k or HD, that's what the developers over at Naughty Dog thought, and that's why they remastered the iconic trilogy that is Crash Bandicoot. The granddaddy of all platform games for the PlayStation generation. It was actually the first game I ever played and completed on the original PlayStation.
The old grey box that brought gaming to the next level just like Crash brought platform games into the new age. The colours popped, the games were vibrant and the imagery astounding for its time. As I said it was a new age of gaming for a new generation of gamers and it was the platforming pinnacle for many a gamer for the longest of time, so to bring it back had more than a few risks involved.
The quality of the games themselves is without question, but would it resonate with a new audience like it did with the old? That was a big question mark over the returning franchise and the answer was a resounding yes. There was never a game or franchise more adept at making one doubt their abilities as a gamer. Looking back at the child in me that ventured through the insanity laden world that Crash calls home would have scoffed at the notion that a 32 year old me would encounter the very same issues that he did but he was wrong.
In the mouth of Crashness
By this I mean that you would think with age Crash would become easier, less unnerving, but that couldn't be any further from the truth. Just like all those years ago Crash remains the same unwieldy beast it has always been, the contrast and resolution may have changed but the trials and tribulations remain the same, from its original incarnation to this day Crash is still one of the greatest tests of any players mettle.
There is no game that’s better at making you question yourself, and freezing you in a state of pause, not to forget the sweaty palms. The claminess is still strong with this title, it keeps you on edge for the duration of the journey every bit as well today as it did back then and that is the biggest testament I can pay to the crew over at Naughty Dog. I truly believe that this franchise is future proof in the same way that Super Mario Bros. or Sonic the Hedgehog is, it fully deserves its place amongst the other greats in the platforming pantheon.
Not only does it evoke the very same emotions it did back upon its initial release but it is not just the aforementioned nostalgic drug that Crash rests its laurels on, it is its own unique style of storytelling and the qualities it offers up as a gaming experience. Although Crash is not without a small hint of repetition the way it keeps you coming back for more is one of its true strengths. It keeps each level as unique as possible even though some are just more difficult versions of previous---hence the repetition---they test you differently each time, whether that be with new enemies/obstacles, longer levels or different camera angles, Crash always keeps you guessing.
It takes with one hand, but gives with another
At first glance Crash may seem to be a devourer of lives and that it surely is, but what it also has going for it is the fairness it offers up to the player throughout the experience. If you get stuck in a section they will move up the checkpoint or give you an Aku-Aku mask, the developers were very clever to do this because this adds another element to not just the enjoyment of Crash, it also counteracts the feeling of infuriation you feel after watching your Bandicoot buddy meet his demise countless times.
They give you everything to clear the game in a way that it never loses its appeal along the way, it is a war of attrition that is filled with the necessary game clearing nutrition, which is a hard balancing act to pull off but if my personal experience has taught me anything that would be there is no-one better than Crash at not just balancing but running on the finest of tightropes. The franchise shares this ability with its titular character, it walks that fine line without ever slipping, not even after all this time.
It gives as much as it takes and it offers up a lot more than what it seems on the surface, there are so many little hidden elements that lay within its greater narrative, it is layered like a good cake, but every layer here has a purpose, there is no icing or cosmetic garnishes on this, every mouthful is packed with everything a growing gamer needs. It is not just some sweet dessert, it is a staple that should be encouraged for every player's dietary requirements. I truly believe it not only entertains the player but it also improves the player as a whole.
A Crash course in gaming
When you come out of playing Crash everything seems to have been amped up, your sense of timing and your eye-hand coordination will be markedly improved but it is not just the physical that the trail blazing Bandicoot offers to you, it will also improve the way you problem solve and formula read in other games, it makes you think as fastly on your feet as any game out there and in comparison other games feel almost in slow motion.
Crash is the extreme sport of gaming, high risk, high reward, a fast paced game that ignites a gamer's flow state in a way only a few other titles have the ability of doing. Crash just like a lot of other titles in this mold are in many ways the gaming experience boiled down to its rawest of materials. I think it is this simplicity that keeps the player coming back for more, don’t get me wrong, Crash is as difficult and as frustrating as any game out there, but to master all it takes patience and a willingness to send poor old Crash to his doom in a myriad of ways.
Even with all the challenges Crash throws your way, it is completely conquerable and although it does have more than an element of the formulaic to its gameplay Crash has not lost any of its charm, just like a fine wine brewed up in the laboratories of Neo Cortex himself, Crash has only gotten better with age, and even with its janky jumping, strange sense of physics, the Bandicoot still has his mojo and I believe that Wumpa Island and the Warp room lay in wait for a whole new generation of gamers just waiting to be discovered, and when they find them they won’t be disappointed.
First image taken from here
Second Image taken from here
Third Image taken from here
Fourth Image taken from here
Be sure to sign up on the site for all things Casual, and create your own Casual Game Community profile.
Have a great content idea that would be perfect for CGC? Contact us here and we’d be happy to chat!