Growing up in the 90’s I never owned a PlayStation, until the PlayStation 2 was released, so I never played the Crash Bandicoot games when they were new, so does playing them for the first time today change things around for me?
Having seen the games before and playing a few levels over the years, I had an idea of what to expect, coming into the game, but I was not prepared for just how much the collection would offer. Across the three games, there are over 80 levels, which was so much, it took me quite a while to make my way through them, but thankfully the game varied itself with some boss fights and plenty of hidden secrets to discover. What surprised me the most though, was just how large the game was, sure level count was high, but I was not expecting the levels to be as big as they were, especially towards the end of the third game.
Perhaps the most disappointing part for myself, was that the gameplay was not what I was hoping, for what I was wanting out of the games, again, not having played them in the past, I was coming in fresh, but what was offered felt very 90’s. The problem with this is other games that have done the visual overhaul, have also refined the gameplay, or made significant changes to it as well, but here, the game still feels clunky, as if it was simply given a new coat of paint. As I progressed through the games, they started to feel more modern and that would have more to do with the initial development than anything else, but it was a shame that moves and such were not made the same across all the games, something the upcoming Spyro trilogy is going to do.
The addition of the two new levels, well I say two, but one is a completed version of one that was worked upon by Naughty Dog, do slot right in, but Future Tense, the first wholly original level to Crash Bandicoot in quite some time, requires a lot of skill to finish. The level inserts a lot of hazards and enemies from across the games, so if you jump into that level, as your first one, you will likely find yourself dying a lot. The strange part is, the rest of the games, each build you up, letting you experience one type of location and such and then once you have played enough of that, it moves on, but the addition of these two levels, just throw that build up out of the window and sure if you are a die hard Crash fan, you might be ok, but for anyone new to the series, you will struggle.
One aspect that I found myself enjoying quite a lot was the amount of detail that the levels had, of course, this is a port of the PlayStation 4 version, but I had expected a lot of detail to vanish when it made its way to Switch. The very first level in the very first game, sets a benchmark that the rest of the game achieves quite well, though there are a few issues throughout, but overall the Switch version is just as fun to play as it is to look at. Given the lack of power the Switch has, the only real issue that I noticed with the visuals is in the text, be it floating in the air or attached to a wall, it was usually quite blurry and sure, there were some other issues here and there, but for the most part, they were easy enough to overlook, unless you were specifically looking for them.
The Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy for Switch is perhaps the best way to experience these classic games, sure you don’t get all the fancy visuals from the other versions, but it still looks damn nice. The biggest complaint I have about it though, is that the overall gameplay still feels stuck in the 90’s which when you compare it to the upgrade of the presentation, it feels like it was only half done.