Crash of the Titans Xbox 360 Review

May 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews, Xbox 360

Over recent years, the cutesy creature genre (which is to say of the platformer variety) has largely become more grounded and more shooty. Ratchet and Clank, Jak, as well as Spyro’s newest are just a few examples of this. Yes, leaping around with seemingly all the joys of spring is dying out and Crash Bandicoot’s newest game, Crash of The Titans proves that the genre is continuing to erode.

The premise this time sees the creatures of crash’s island transformed into murderous creatures by regular baddie Neo Cortex. There’s plenty of humour throughout, which is hardly a surprise when it features furry things in it, and admittedly it did make us chuckle at times.

The Crash Bandicoot games were largely corridor platformers, which had you navigating narrow environments, avoiding hazards and jumping on bad guys along the way. Crash of the Titans is not like this, but is more of a fighting game, with a sliver of jumping and puzzle solving.

Crash fans who were drawn in by the previous offerings because of their simplicity needn’t worry though. Crash of the Titans remains as a simplistic game, with a combat system that should be easy to pick up for its primary target audience.

Combat never gets more difficult than hammering the X or Y button or rotating the analogue stick for Crash’s signature spin manoeuvre. Building big combos is encouraged and doing so will reward you more mojo, which we’ll get to a bit later on.

The biggest hook of the game though is Crash’s new ability to “hijack” any of his bigger opponents, by first beating them down and then pressing the B button to essentially ride them, allowing you to make use of their increased strength and their range of – previously painful for Crash – abilities. It’s all of these creatures different abilities that keeps the combat system both refreshing and enjoyable.

Of course these abilities come into play with the puzzle solving as well as the mutant slaying. Puzzles (if they can even be called that) are kept baby simple, with some that just require you to shoot targets and others that require you to smash through objects. It’s all about having the right creature for the right situation, simple really.

Back to the mojo, this is essentially power to upgrade Crash’s abilities, lengthening his health bar or extending the duration of his destructive spin attack for example, and is gained by defeating enemies and by the age old method of destroying objects.

In a rather outdated mechanic, the game features lives, so once you lose them all on a level you must restart the entire section again, however long it may have been, which proves to be very frustrating. A sensible checkpoint system would have been much more satisfactory.

The rare jumping moments that Crash of the Titans does have is often hampered by an unhelpful camera perspective, and since the camera can’t be controlled manually this is easily the games Achilles heel. But even so, if the game had of been a true platformer, it would have been a truly dire offering, but it’s not so we can forgive its disobedience for once.

Perhaps this lack of camera control has something to do with the rather surprising addition of a cooperative mode, which is played on a full screen. Having said that, there are some camera issues when playing the game in this way, as the game is always trying to focus on player one. In spite of this the mode offers some madcap fun, and of course as a result of this is a far gentler game as both players can focus their attacks on the bigger opponents, making for much easier jacking. A pleasant touch is that one player can jump into the backpack of another player, which is particularly helpful during the platforming moments.

It may very well be another nail in the coffin for the once bulging platforming genre, but Crash of the Titans is an excellent reinvention for the Crash Bandicoot series. The art of platforming is indeed dying out, but Crash himself has successfully managed the transition to the action genre.

Long live furry creatures!

8/10

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