Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time (PlayStation 5) Review

By James Grech 29.05.2021 2

Review for Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time on PlayStation 5

Those who have been living under a wumpa crate may not know much about Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time.
Published by Activision, the game was originally released in October of 2020 on the last generation of consoles. The game brings Crash, Coco and the rest of the 'Bandi-verse' into the 21st century for a new Timey-Wimey adventure. In March of 2021 it was brought to PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch and PC. With faster load times, better visuals and the integration of the PlayStation 5's Dualsense adaptive triggers, it's no surprise that the PS5 is now the best place to play Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time.

From the get-go, it is clear that this is a true to form Crash game. This 3D action platformer does the genre justice by sticking to its roots and adopting new ideas. The score, the level design and the silliness are all ripped from the original trilogy and brought to life with modern inclusions that only add to the core experience. Fans of the original trilogy will absolutely be pleased with how at home this title feels.

The Saturday morning cartoon plot is as charming as it is serviceable. Bad guys want to do bad things. The twist here is the introduction of a multiverse. There are alternate realities, dimension hopping and even more sentient masks! This makes for a pretty standard weekend for the Bandicoots. This setup has given developer Toys for Bob a vast playground to create in and it's to their credit that this game is full of diverse, beautiful and sometimes familiar worlds that are so easy to get lost in.

Screenshot for Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time on PlayStation 5

Don't be fooled by the cartoony levels and gorgeous world design, however. This game is hard. As Crash and Coco jump through platforms, run from giant monsters and destroy every crate they see, the looming threat of death is waiting for them. One misstep and Crash will fall into a spike trap or be eaten alive by a living plant quicker then he can say "WOAH". Despite the difficulty, it was rarely unfair. While sometimes a bad camera angle or particularly long and tedious sequence make the game feel frustrating, this is somewhat alleviated thanks to the option to play in the new modern mode. Dying no longer costs lives, which means players will never be kicked from a level. Instead, dying just resets Crash or Coco back to their last checkpoint. The bandicoot of choice will also have a little ring marker below them when they jump to guide where they will land. If a sequence becomes overwhelming, the game will throw in more frequent checkpoints and a free Aku Aku mask to protect players from one enemy hit. This optional mode doesn't make the game easier, but rather more manageable.

Screenshot for Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time on PlayStation 5

This is where the PlayStation 5 upgrade really has its chance to shine. The incredible load times that come with this version of Crash 4 means getting into the game, loading into levels and respawn times are outstanding. It may be off-putting to play a game with this degree of challenge, but with this load time improvement it is so much easier to get back into the action and learn from mistakes. After seeing how quick this version loads, players would be hard pressed to go back to an older version.

The game's visuals also get a nice upgrade with this version. Having already been a beautiful game on last generation consoles, the 4K support and 60 FPS just enhances everything that Toys for Bob lovingly crafted in this game. Top it off with 3D audio compatibility and this game just feels alive. The only thing the PlayStation 5 version could have done more with was the Dualsense's adaptive triggers. It works well but only in a limited capacity and could have been given more focus. Nevertheless, it is so easy to get lost in this game, thanks to the level of detail, that is brought to life by these enhancements.

The gameplay is responsive, creative and smooth. The introduction of four new masks that help the Bandicoots throughout the game elevate the already enjoyable experience. Whether it be reversing gravity or slowing time, these masks add a uniqueness to each level that feels like they could have existed in the original trilogy. Each level also combines different elements like grind rails, vehicles and the familiar 2D platformer challenge areas. All these elements combined mean that the Bandicoots are rarely doing the same thing for too long.

Screenshot for Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time on PlayStation 5

As Crash and Coco get through each level, they are given the chance to earn six diamonds for their efforts. Collecting wumpa fruit, discovering secrets, destroying crates and, with some luck, not dying too many times, unlock these crystals. Collecting enough crystals in each level earns the Bandicoots new skins and outfits.

Eventually, the game opens up and the abundance of replayability becomes clear. Levels will become playable in what is called 'N. Verted' mode, which mirrors the level and adds unique characteristics, with an additional six crystals to collect. Some levels also have hidden VHS tapes which unlock 'Flashback' levels. These levels are played from unique points on the world map and are really challenging, even for a Crash game. Finally, there are some levels scattered around the game where players don't play as Crash or Coco, but instead as Tawna, Dingodile and everyone's favourite madman, Dr. Neo Cortex. Each of these three characters play differently, and although their gameplay isn't as sharp as the Bandicoots', these levels are a fun distraction. All of these levels can also be replayed in a time trial mode which can earn Relics. There is a lot to do in this game and completionists are going to have their hands full.

Screenshot for Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time on PlayStation 5

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time is a great game. Although its difficulty can be frustrating and some lengthy sequences are tedious, the world design is crisp and filled with humour, the levels overflow with creativity and most importantly, completing a level is satisfying. The plot is thin, but the cartoony vibes provoke a great mix of nostalgia and charm. The PlayStation 5 upgrade significantly improves load times and takes the game's visuals to another level. Crash fans have much to love in this long-awaited sequel. Although newcomers to the series may be turned off by how punishing the game can be, this title is an adventure worth embarking on.

Developer

Toys for Bob

Publisher

Activision

Genre

3D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I'm looking forward to picking this up soon Smilie

I really need to get this game on PS4, especially for the PS5 greatness!

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