Crash Bandicoot goes N’Sane in PAX East 2017 Demo

Crash Bandicoot

One of the biggest announcements coming out of last year’s PSX event was the remaking of one of the most classic video game franchises in recent memory. Crash Bandicoot: the N’sane Trilogy was given the big announcement at the PlayStation Expo in San Diego, and it ignited waves of nostalgia and excitement across old and new players alike.

The franchise, known for being a fun, witty gameplay experience, was a huge cultural phenomenon in 1995 when the first game launched with the PlayStation One. It is also seen as one of the biggest precursor’s to Naughty Dog’s rise to being a legendary, world-class video game developer, as from this point, the studio went onto to make the Jak And Daxter games, and the milestones that are The Last of Us and the Uncharted Quadrilogy.

Crash Bandicoot would have a plethora of games released, with some claiming to meet and even exceed the bar set by platforming greats, like Super Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog. Crash would have other installments, such as Crash Party and Crash Team Racing as well. As Naughty Dog went on to mature itself and make more ambitious experiences, the rights of the character were given to Activision. Here Crash, along with former Insomniac Games’ mascot Spyro The Dragon,  would be relegated to Activision’s SKYLANDERS franchise, as well as a number of forgetful games. Now with the Crash Bandicoot: N’Sane Trilogy is set to breathe new life into video game’s favorite bandicoot.

Crash Bandicoot: The N’ Sane Trilogy is three of fully remade games, built from the ground up with fresh visuals and adapted to modern play styles. The level designs and their orientations remain intact, with the only difference being an entirely new visual graphics engine. At PAX East, the game was being demoed at the PlayStation booth, and as a loyal, die-hard, PlayStation Gamer, I simply had to check it out.

The first impression is the visual fidelity of the new Crash Bandicoot. It looks absolutely gorgeous and is reminiscent of the more recent Ratchet And Clank video games. Crash has actual, flowing fur. Concrete doors and floating platforms have a sensation of weight. And water has a flowing sheen to it.

There were three levels to choose from, but I chose to do the second one, where Crash is fighting up a river and towards the end of the level. Initially, playing with Crash took some getting used to, as the platforming gameplay, while very memorable, was also tricky to get ahold of once again. Crash Bandicoot arrived in a golden age of platforming games, but in recent years, players have been more accustomed to shooters and explosion-fests. Of course, Crash Bandicoot dials it back to simpler times in video games.

As I navigated the level, I faced man-eating vines, jumped over concrete platforms, and avoided falling into the deadly water. The trademark sound effects, such as acquiring Wampums, are still there, along with other familiar sounds. Even the trademark animations, from Crash running to his spin attack, are all lovingly recreated. It truly does feel like a game built to be accurately recreated.

I proceed through the level and eventually got to a jet ski. I hopped on, revving my engine and roaring through the obstacles along the way, such as whirlpools and mines. I was able to hit jumps and grab hard to reach cardboard boxes.

To my surprise, I managed to find a hidden area, which did look vaguely familiar. I avidly played Crash Bandicoot 2 and Crash Bandicoot: Warped, though, hardly played the first game. Though, for some reason, this area, high above the trees, felt very familiar. I grabbed a few wampums and proceeded throughout the level. Once again, I boarded a jet ski, dodged obstacles, hopped out, and fought more man-eating vines.  Eventually, I made it to the end of the level, where Crash does his trademark dance, and celebrated making it through another stage.

My final tally was solid, though, I did miss a handful of crates, which prevented me from unlocking secrets and getting 100% completion. However, Crash was always about revisiting these levels and figuring out all the secrets to uncover. With that, my demo ended.

Crash Bandicoot: the N’ Sane Trilogy will be launching exclusively on the PlayStation 4 this Summer of 2017.