When they put effort and love into it, Activision knows how to craft a good remaster. Last year’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered, by Raven Software, was a stunning remaster of the 2007 classic. The team at Raven put a lot of work into recreating all the assets to bring the game more in line with today’s graphical standards. Fans and critics initially praised the remaster, which sold quite a few copies of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. In a few weeks, Activision and Vicarious Visions are hoping to repeat that success with Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, the long-awaited return of the PlayStation icon.
We went hands-on with the N. Sane Trilogy at E3 2017 to see how Vicarious Visions’ remasters are going. Considering that the game launches in a few weeks, what we got to play was a near-final build containing the original Crash Bandicoot trilogy. Despite the original games being over twenty years old, Vicarious Visions has done a tremendous job sprucing up these games for a 2017 release.
Textures and lighting have been completely overhauled. Trees and grass move as Crash runs by, reflections shimmer off the ice and the Bandicoot’s fur is so full that you can’t help but want to pet him. The team has also been hard at work adding in modern amenities. A new auto-save feature has been implemented to alleviate frustrations, Coco Bandicoot is now playable across all three games and every level now includes a time trial.
While Vicarious Visions had to rebuild all three games from scratch, the developer has been careful to preserve the level and gameplay design. All the platforms, box placements and hidden collectibles are exactly where they were in the original games. Despite being twenty years old, the gameplay still holds up and we highly recommend playing the game with the DualShock 4’s D-pad like you would have with the originals.
The one significant new addition to the N. Sane Trilogy is Coco Bandicoot, Crash’s sister. Initially only playable in Crash Bandicoot: Warped, Vicarious Visions opted to make Coco playable across all three games. Though she doesn’t play any differently from Crash, she does come with her own set of animations. Players will be able to swap between both characters at any point in-between levels.
We were able to play a handful of levels across all three games during our time with Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and came away quite impressed. While this isn’t the next game in the franchise many fans have been waiting for, this is a remaster of three excellent platformers. Vicarious Visions has left Naughty Dog’s original vision intact, and have, instead, focused on sprucing up the game for a modern-day release. Plus, who knows, perhaps the N. Sane Trilogy will finally pave the way for a brand-new Crash Bandicoot adventure.
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is out June 30 on PS4.