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Review: Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy sees Sony cash in on nostalgia

The snarling marsupial from the ’90s has been brought back to life by Naughty Dog in a fun, fast-paced but ultimately dated remake

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 July, 2017, 6:32pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 July, 2017, 6:32pm

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy

Naughty Dog

3/5 stars

Not every bit of the past should be dug up for the sake of nostalgia. Which is to say, not every game from your younger years should be remade, despite those rose-tinted memories. Sometimes it’s best just to leave them in their dusty CD cases.

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Crash Bandicoot was all but the PlayStation mascot when Sony first entered the console arena in the 1990s. He was the fast-paced, snarly marsupial who powered through levels in the vein of Mario and Sonic. Crash helped lead the way in 3D gaming – a revelation, at a time, that pretty much revitalised the platformer market.

The original Crash trilogy (available for the PS4) has now been given a long-awaited remake. The visuals are sleek and cartoony. It’s that perfect blend between Saturday morning animation and fully realised platformer backdrops. The games are exactly how I remember them – fun, frivolous and fast-paced – and when compared to the originals, Naughty Dog’s efforts are to be commended, with plenty of graphic pizzazz harking back to those days of button mashing after school.

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Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the sad state of the game play. Games have come a long way since the ‘90s, and of course it seems like we’re on the cusp of a major VR immersion breakthrough, but you wouldn’t think that when loading up Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy.

The three games here are dated, without a doubt. If we’re being honest with ourselves, they never were that great to begin with, relying on their 3D graphics, cheeky tone and nods to pop culture to get them through.

When stacked side-by-side with the multitude of other remastered releases, everything from bad mobile games to sleek indie releases, Crash just doesn’t hold up. He’s an ageing rodent in an era of photorealistic humans.

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But that isn’t to say the Crash trilogy isn’t fun – its light thrills, easy-to-overcome platforming challenges and generally friendly tone are a welcome respite in an era of dark and post-apocalyptic gaming. There’s also the nostalgia factor, which is really what Sony is cashing in on here – gamers trying to buy a bit of their past back.

We’re all for that, but maybe Crash wasn’t the ideal choice – how about finally giving us a Metal Gear Solid remake, or hell, even Tenchu?