Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time Xbox One Review

October 17, 2020 by  
Filed under Xbox One, Reviews & Features, Xbox

Publisher: Activision  Developer: Toys for Bob  Genre: Platformer

Players: 1-4  Age Rating: 12+  Other console/handheld formats: PlayStation 4

After having a Crash Bandicoot gameplay marathon with the N.Sane Trilogy, it quickly became obvious that the third iteration of the game was the easiest to complete of the bunch. I think that out of all the games I have ever played, Crash Bandicoot is the only one where the frustration is actually kind of fun, and is a game that I want to be difficult. Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped’s difficulty level was greatly reduced, disappointingly so, but thankfully in Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, the infamously difficult levels are back, with a vengeance.

Crash 4 continues on from where Warped left off, and this time around, bad guys N.Tropy and Dr. Neo Cortex have teamed up and are messing around with time, and it’s up to Crash, and sister Coco, to stop them, along with a few new allies.

Levels are much bigger and more challenging than ever.

If there’s one thing players cannot complain about is the lack of content – Crash 4 is chock full of stuff to do, including a local multiplayer mode for up to 4 players, 43 story levels, 5 boss battles and lots of content to collect and unlock, including alternative skins for Crash and Coco, 21 collectible VHS tapes – which allow you can play special Flashback stages – and an N.Verted mode that’s unlocked for all 43 story levels after you play them through once.

New characters Dingodile, Tawna, and even Dr. Neo Cortex, have their own sections of particular levels you have already played, allowing you a different perspective of Crash and Coco’s travels, and then there’s also gems and relics to find – 100 percenting this game will be nothing short of a miracle.

From the first level players will instantly feel in familiar territory; Crash 4 successfully recaptures the essence of Naughty Dog’s original trilogy. Levels play out pretty much the same as in those games – 3D linear sections combined with side-on 2.5D – with a few additions along the way, the biggest here being the introduction of four Quantum Masks. These masks give Crash special new abilities, such as phasing objects in and out of the environment, spinning continuously and gliding through the air like a floating spinning top, slowing down time, and reversing gravity. Each mask is gradually introduced, and once obtained will be used recurrently. Each mask is used to their full potential, with tricky sections of levels truly putting your platforming, and brain coordination skills, to the test.

Boss fights are tough and will take a few tries to get past, especially in Retro mode.

Levels range from mildly frustrating to infuriating, with later levels being extremely unforgiving, especially if you are playing in Retro mode. This mode gives you lives, and once they have been used up, you will have to restart the level all over again. There is a second Modern mode, the more forgiving of the two, as it allows you to play sections of levels over and over from a checkpoint, without having to worry about lives. During the final level, I had to switch to this mode because the level was so incredibly difficult, the only level this happened in during my playthrough. I would go so far as to say Crash 4 is certainly making up for the easy ride it gave players in Warped, by being the most difficult game out of them all. Needless to say, I enjoyed it all!

Animations are fluid and expressive and levels are bright and detailed, all connected via the Dimension Map, which acts as a hub world. Here you can select which level or boss you want to play, and can also access the Flashback levels – in which you need to bounce on and destroy a number of boxes – and also the levels of Tawna, Dingodile and Dr. Neo Cortex, each coming with their own unique skills. Tawna can roundhouse kick enemies, use a grappling hook and wall jump. Dingodile uses a vacuum cleaner to glide briefly and suck up and shoot enemies and crates (and also uses some surprisingly colourful language), and Dr. Neo Cortex can use his ray gun to change enemies into platforms to stand or jump on, and he can also jump dash. Aiming their projectiles however can be hit and miss.

While playing through Crash and Coco’s levels, at certain points an event will occur, and you can find out exactly what happened by playing Tawna, Dingodile and Dr. Neo Cortex’s levels, viewing said event from their perspectives. The only downside is that, after seeing what has caused the event, you then continue playing through the latter part of the level as Crash (or Coco), playing through sections that you have already been through instead of continuing play as your chosen ally.

Bonus stages make their comeback. There’s no shortage of things to do.

As if that wasn’t enough though, there’s also the aforementioned multiplayer mode, in which you and up to 4 players can play Bandicoot Battle. Here there are two modes – a checkpoint race and crate combo. The checkpoint race has players racing to each checkpoint as quickly as possible, and crate combo sees players competing to gain the most number of crate combos by destroying them as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, if you are expecting there to be split-screen gameplay, you’ll be disappointed, as you simply take turns at each checkpoint, passing a controller between players.

Crash Bandicoot games are the definitive trial and error games and Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is no different, testing your platforming skills to their very limits. Crash 4 can be infuriating and fun in equal measures, and upon reaching a goal, you truly feel as if you have achieved something; never have I ever celebrated reaching a goal as much as I did with Crash 4. With everything said, this was definitely a sequel that was worth the 22 year wait.