PS4 Review: Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time

Four he’s a jolly good fellow?

The devious villains Neo Cortex and Dr. N. Tropy have finally escaped their interdimensional prison, leaving an evil scientist sized hole in the universe. Now they’ve got their eyes set on not only simply conquering this dimension, but ALL dimensions, and it’s up to Crash and Coco to save the day. N. Sanity Beach is where Crash’s adventure first started, and where it begins in Crash 4. But there have definitely been changes since players first saw N. Sanity Beach all those years ago, and throughout Crash 4 you’ll notice changes to gameplay and even the art style.

The N.Sane Trilogy brought Crash back from obscurity and remastered his best games in one package for a whole new generation and then Toys for Bob remade the original Spyro Trilogy and Crash Team Racing, but I don’t think anyone actually imagined they would attempt to put in a whole new Crash game, but they have with Crash 4…the question is can they live upto such expectations and high standards set by the original trilogy?

The gameplay remains like the original games but there are some new modes, abilities and characters to play as too. Through the game, you’ll get masks that give you the ability to phase objects in and out of existence, spin hover, slow down time and flip gravity. It’ll definitely take a while to get used to using these masks but there are a great twist to the formula.

You’ll also play as the likes of Cortex, Dingodile and Tawna in levels that cross paths with Crash and Coco’s levels, these all handle very differently as Cortex can’t double-jump but can turn enemies into stone blocks or bouncy platforms, Dingodile is slow but can use a vacuum cannon to destroy enemies and crates and hover over gaps. Tawna handles like something out of an old-school beat-em-up. These add a good variety of different gameplay styles and makes you rethink the traditional controls from the Crash games.

Bonus stages return throughout the levels but there are others such as Flashback Tapes that you can collect which are like Bonus Stages but the difficulty upped by 1000% and there are also N.Verted levels which mirror the levels but also thrown in crazy art styles like looking like a colouring book or almost being pitch black and objects and enemies only showing up as bright lights. It’ll mess with you, seriously.

In terms of difficulty, this is without a doubt the hardest Crash game to date, especially when you add in the time trials and when all content is added up, there is a LOT for you to do before you nab that 100%, if you ever do.

For those of you who like to make things interesting, there are some multiplayer options where you take it in turns to either beat each other’s times and high scores, while you can also take it in turns in the main game either based on checkpoints, deaths or both. This is great for couch play and makes it fair between each player in the room, I wish more games did stuff like this.

Visually, Crash 4 is the best looking in the series and runs like a dream. I’ve played in on both PS4 Pro and Slim, while the Pro runs ridiculously loud I think that’s to be expected but it runs smoothly, while the Slim version was quiet but didn’t seem to run at the same framerate as the Pro version. This is just my experience, yours maybe different. Personally, I can’t wait to see how it runs on PS5. Voice-acting is classic Crash and the humour is superb, while the soundtrack is also impressive and can easily stand side by side with the original games.

The Verdict

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is definitely the toughest game in the series, but it’s also the biggest in terms of sheer content. The twists to the modern formula are welcome and proof that Toys for Bob are the best hands for the franchise going forward, that’s if we were to ever get a Crash 5. Let’s hope if that’s the case we don’t have to wait over 20 years for it…

Score: 9.0