Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time - Everything You Need to Know
Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time - A Review
Crash Bandicoot is one of the most iconic video game characters of all time, and his adventures have entertained millions of fans since his debut in 1996. After a long hiatus, Crash returned to his roots in 2017 with the N. Sane Trilogy, a remastered collection of his first three games. But fans wanted more, and they got their wish in 2020 with Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time, a brand-new sequel that continues the story from where it left off in Crash Bandicoot: Warped. But does this game live up to its name and its legacy? Is it really about time for Crash to make a comeback? Let's find out in this review.
What is Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time?
Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time is a platform game developed by Toys for Bob and published by Activision. It was released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in October 2020, and for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and Windows in March 2021. The game is the eighth main installment in the Crash Bandicoot series, but it ignores the events of the games that followed Crash Bandicoot: Warped, and acts as a direct sequel to it. The game's story follows Crash Bandicoot and his sister Coco as they travel across different dimensions and times to stop Doctor Neo Cortex and Doctor Nefarious Tropy from taking over the multiverse. Along the way, they encounter old friends and foes, as well as new ones, such as their former enemy Dingodile and an alternate version of Crash's girlfriend Tawna. The game features classic platforming gameplay with new twists, such as the use of four Quantum Masks that grant special abilities to manipulate time, space, gravity, and reality. The game also offers additional modes, such as N. Verted mode that flips the levels horizontally and adds different visual effects, and Flashback mode that reveals hidden tapes that unlock bonus levels set before Crash Bandicoot. The game also allows players to control five different characters: Crash, Coco, Cortex, Dingodile, and Tawna, each with their own unique gameplay mechanics and levels.
Why is it called "It's About Time"?
The title of the game has multiple meanings. First of all, it refers to the fact that the game is about time travel and dimension hopping, as well as the use of Quantum Masks that affect time-related phenomena. Secondly, it refers to the fact that the game is a long-awaited sequel to Crash Bandicoot: Warped, which was released in 1998. Fans have been waiting for more than two decades for a true continuation of Crash's original story arc. Thirdly, it refers to the fact that the game is a modern update of Crash's classic gameplay style, which has been refined and improved to suit today's standards and expectations. The game is both a homage to Crash's past and a leap into his future. Gameplay
How does the game play?
Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time is a platform game that follows the classic formula of the original trilogy, with some new additions and improvements. The game consists of 43 main levels and 38 optional flashback levels, each with their own challenges and secrets. The player can control Crash or Coco in most levels, and switch between them at any time. The main objective is to reach the end of each level, while collecting Wumpa fruits, breaking crates, avoiding enemies and obstacles, and finding hidden gems. The game also features boss battles, bonus stages, and time trials. The game has four difficulty modes: Modern, Retro, N. Verted, and Flashback. Modern mode allows the player to have unlimited lives and restart from checkpoints after dying. Retro mode gives the player a limited number of lives and forces them to restart the level after losing them all. N. Verted mode flips the levels horizontally and adds different visual effects, such as inverted colors, comic book style, or underwater distortion. Flashback mode unlocks special levels that are set before the events of Crash Bandicoot, and require the player to complete them with a perfect run.
What are the new elements in the game?
The game introduces several new elements that spice up the gameplay and add variety. One of the most notable features is the use of Quantum Masks, four ancient beings that grant Crash and Coco special abilities to manipulate time, space, gravity, and reality. The Quantum Masks are: Lani-Loli, who can phase objects in and out of existence; Akano, who can spin indefinitely and hover in the air; Kupuna-Wa, who can slow down time; and Ika-Ika, who can flip gravity upside down or sideways. The player can use these masks in certain levels to overcome obstacles and puzzles, as well as access hidden areas. Another new element is the ability to play as other characters besides Crash and Coco. The game features five playable characters in total: Crash, Coco, Cortex, Dingodile, and Tawna. Each character has their own unique gameplay mechanics and levels. Cortex can use his ray gun to transform enemies into platforms or bounce pads; Dingodile can use his vacuum gun to suck up crates and enemies and shoot them out as projectiles; Tawna can use her hookshot to grapple across gaps and attack enemies from afar. The game also features alternate timelines that show different perspectives of the main story. For example, one timeline shows how Cortex escaped from his prison dimension; another shows how Dingodile retired from villainy and opened a diner. These timelines offer new challenges and secrets for the player to discover.
How does the game compare to the original trilogy?
The game is a faithful continuation of the original trilogy, retaining its core gameplay mechanics and charm. The game pays homage to many elements from the previous games, such as references to characters, locations, items, and jokes. The game also improves on some aspects of the original trilogy, such as adding more depth and variety to the level design, enhancing the graphics and sound quality, adding more options and modes for replayability, and balancing the difficulty curve. The game also adds some modern touches to the gameplay, such as giving Crash and Coco more moves (such as wall-running, rail-grinding, rope-swinging, etc.), adding more checkpoints and hints for guidance, allowing players to customize their characters' appearance with skins and outfits, and integrating online features such as leaderboards and multiplayer modes. The game is a perfect blend of nostalgia and innovation that appeals to both old fans and new players alike.
Graphics and Sound
How does the game look and sound?
The game is a visual feast for the eyes, featuring colorful and vibrant graphics that bring Crash's world to life. The game uses Unreal Engine 4 to create stunning environments that are rich in detail and variety. The game showcases different dimensions and times that range from prehistoric jungles to futuristic cities, from pirate ships to snow mountains, from Arabian deserts to Japanese gardens. Each dimension has its own theme and style that reflects its culture and history. The game also features dynamic lighting and shadows that create realistic effects such as sun rays, fire sparks, water splashes, etc. The game also has impressive animations that capture the expressions and movements of the characters. The game uses motion capture technology to create realistic facial animations for Crash and Coco. The game also uses hand-drawn animations for the other characters, such as Cortex, Dingodile, and Tawna. The game also uses cartoon-like effects to emphasize the humor and action of the game, such as comic book panels, sound effects, and exaggerated expressions. The game is a delight to watch and play, as it captures the essence and spirit of Crash's personality and adventures. The game is also a treat for the ears, featuring catchy and immersive soundtracks that match the mood and atmosphere of each dimension. The game's music is composed by Walter Mair, who created original scores that blend different genres and instruments to suit each theme. The game's music ranges from orchestral to rock, from tribal to techno, from jazz to metal, from classical to pop. Each dimension has its own musical identity that reflects its culture and history. The game also features sound effects that enhance the gameplay and immersion, such as the sounds of crates breaking, enemies attacking, masks talking, etc. The game also features voice acting that brings the characters to life. The game's voice cast includes veteran actors such as Jess Harnell, Debi Derryberry, Lex Lang, Greg Eagles, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, and Richard Horvitz. The game's voice acting is full of emotion and humor, as it captures the personalities and interactions of the characters. The game is a joy to listen and play, as it creates a rich and diverse sonic experience.
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