Crash and I have never had a good relationship. While in Italy almost everyone played (and rejoiced) for the graphic prowess of the first PlayStation (showing off many titles including, in fact, Crash Bandicoot), at the same time, in my case, I was used to playing other platformers that I considered more interesting than the title so praised by players and critics: for example Super Mario 64 on Nintendo 64. It was 1996. We are in 2021 and 25 years later I find myself playing the fourth chapter of Crash Bandicoot but this time with a difference that, at the time, even assuming it could seem a real utopia: play (after the N'Sane Trilogy) this unreleased title in the series on Nintendo Switch with guilty delay given that the title has previously arrived on PlayStation 4 e Xbox One only to be released recently on PlayStation 5, Xbox One Series X, PC and Switch. So, how did this experience go with Crash Bandicoot 4: it's About Time for the big hybrid N? Let's find out together.
The game takes place shortly after the events of the third chapter: Neo Cortex, Uka Uka e N. Tropy They are prisoners in a dimension that does not belong to him and without any possibility of returning to earth. Uka Uka, the well-known evil mask of Cortex, making the most of his abilities is suddenly able to open a time gap that allows the bad guys to escape and organize in this way to obtain a revenge against the much hated Crash. Although Neo Cortex appears perplexed by this possibility, Nefarious Tropy realizes that this sudden action has actually awakened something bigger and more powerful: quantum masks which, if collected, could potentially be able to dominate not only the antagonists but also the whole universe. Will our heroes be able to save us from enemies and carry out this feat again?
There are two methods of approaching Crash Bandicoot: o it is played passively in a quick run (but personally I do not recommend it) by advancing level by level without paying particular attention to the boxes to be destroyed and the apples to be collected, or, as I would like to advise, collect everything by destroying everything and possibly taking as many apples as possible. Of course, doing so could affect your sanity and platinum the game is not an easy task, however the level of challenge will be much more satisfying. However, we must take into account that gameplay isn't all plain sailingIndeed, it is easy to find yourself in trouble as not all speakers are obvious and not being able to bring home the result just because you are missing a speaker could be quite frustrating. However, Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time can put you through several hours of fun - or swearing - due to the numerous deaths that, probably, and inevitably, you face (there is also a countdown that counts them). .
The title is divided into 38 levels and for each world the related boss battles. Similarly to previous video games in the series, the player can take the shoes of Crash, Coco and other different entities of which, in order not to spoil the surprise, I am not talking here, even if some of them are well known and already seen in the titles of the past. The platform phases with the unpublished characters, however, do not differ much from the canonical style of the video game. Each of them has its own special feature useful for overcoming some of the difficulties of the level dedicated to him, but the focus always remains the same: destroy crates, collect apples, try to get a gem and advance to the end of the level.
However, despite the present fan-service and some not-so-accurate design choices, not all evils come to harm. É quite obvious that the developers of this new chapter have been lazily inspired to the three video games in the saga without making excessive changes to the main gameplay. They have focused, however, diabolically, to bring back a style of play with an amplified difficulty, especially when you go in search of specific hidden gems, or the chests themselves, thus making it, in some ways, frustrating. If you are part of that category of players obsessed with collectibles, the final feeling you get is still one of annoyance. Attention, I refer to my specific case, not everyone could agree and I understand it. Just as I understand that if you actually manage to collect all the boxes, gems and apples, a pinch of satisfaction could be obtained, but at what cost? If you don't have the right patience, the average user, however obsessed with trophies, may tend not to be incentivized to restart a run. Furthermore, the feeling you get when playing it is of a title that, by the standards of the platformers available in 2021, seems quite anachronistic.
Already in 2018, when the remake with the three main titles came out, they seemed to have aged rather badly, especially from the point of view of the game mechanics. I understand that the intent was to make a platform that has the original titles as a lure, however in 2021 this type of approach is old and static when compared to other video games of this genre. The small changes due to the four special masks that give fundamental special powers to pass the levels are not enough.
The title allows the player to choose which mode to use: the "Modern"Which consists simply in advancing in the game but with numerous advantages at one's disposal, such as infinite lives (even if every death is still counted) or the possibility of starting from the checkpoint, and the"classical" indistinguishable from previous chapters e thought specially for those who want have an approach more "hardcore". The first is instead designed mainly for that range of beginner players. If selected, after a certain number of deaths you are given "aids" such as the masks of Aku Aku. If you are instead lovers of the challenge, I would recommend the counterpart "classical”Which sets the gameplay to a classic setting, with limited lives and Wumpa fruits with a utility, since earning 100 gives you an additional life. In short, the classic Crash. If instead we talk about the longevity, Crash Bandicoot 4: it's About Time settles on good levels: between collect all the boxes, gem and time trials certainly the title can keep you glued to the screen for at least fifteen hours. There are also bonus levels in the form of old VHS (which are scattered around the various levels) where, through flashbacks, some of the facts inherent to the first title of the series are told and, specifically, to the creation of Crash and Coco. by Dr. Cortex. So a note of merit concerns this new form of collectibles that reveals a bit of the lore of the past and that is present exclusively in this title. However, on Nintendo Switch, the collecting factor suffers terribly from the burden of not having trophies to unlock. On the other hand, there are skins, small costumes that can be unlocked according to the gems collected and that Crash can wear during the game. A fairly superfluous feature unless you are a lover of these aesthetic trappings. Also interesting is the "Mirror" mode present in the game: in this version we are at approaching levels from another perspective. Basically, we start from the end of the level to go through it in the opposite direction.
The title certainly offers many interesting perspectives and Crash seems to have been reborn after many, perhaps too many, years since the last chapter of the saga. This, in addition to being a good, is also, unfortunately, a bad thing given that the weight of the years is felt and the game, despite being a novel, could appear anachronistic to the eyes of older players. However, it is a good compromise for the arrival of the new videogame generations (even if this gap had been partially filled by the remake of a few years ago) with Activision that seems to be serious, this time, to focus on the rebirth of this brand.
For the Nintendo Switch port, graphically, a really excellent job was done (just the few cutscenes suffer from a slight lag) and both in portable mode and in the docked version I did not find any particular framerate problems. If you want to buy it, the title is available in Nintendo eShop at the price of 49,99 €.