Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy Review

Richard Walker

A true remake in a sea of remasters, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is proof positive of what can be achieved when time, effort and a clear love for the source material goes into resurrecting a fondly remembered series of classics. Vicarious Visions has truly outdone itself in completely rebuilding Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and Crash Bandicoot: Warped, you'd never know that the developer didn't have access to the game's original code.

Each game is exactly as you remember it in terms of how it handles, right down to Warped's version of Crash feeling slightly more lithe and responsive in comparison to the slightly weightier feel of the first two games. The attention to detail that's gone into the N. Sane Trilogy is remarkable, from Crash's revamped look to the addition of his sister Coco being playable across a number of levels, to the sheer level of lush visual fidelity that's been poured into every nook and cranny of all three games.


What's really great about the N. Sane Trilogy is how well each game still plays, 21 years on since the first game launched on the original PlayStation. Cortex Strikes Back is still arguably the pick of the bunch, while Warped starts to feel like diminishing returns, despite throwing in a lot of new ideas, including surprisingly not-rubbish underwater levels. All three games also serve as a reminder of how bloody tough they used to be too, these remakes remaining entirely faithful in that, and every other, respect.

It's a challenge that's more than welcome, however, and to have diluted the Crash N. Sane Trilogy in any way would have been a disservice to the original games. It doesn't matter that certain levels are hard-as-nails and will have you turning the air blue; that's how the games were, that's exactly how they should be. Vicarious Visions has clearly stayed true to what Naughty Dog achieved with the Crash Bandicoot series, while delivering an almost Pixar level of quality when it comes to the numerous idle animations, completely redone cinematic sequences and gorgeous presentation throughout.

The developer has even gone the extra mile in refining some aspects of the game, the trilogy's vehicle sections in particular receiving some tweaks to handling, such as Coco's jet ski levels in Crash Bandicoot: Warped, for instance. Those familiar with the original games will be able to detect the changes, while additions like new gem paths give anyone who rinsed Crash's forays on PSone, ample impetus to do it all over again. Not that the games needed anything more added, mind you. Each potentially clocks in at tens of hours if you're planning completist, 100% runs. Indeed, anything else is just doing it half-assed.

Every secret, every little incidental detail and more is perfectly, brilliantly recreated for the N. Sane Trilogy, Vicarious Visions leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that its resurrection of Crash Bandicoot is anything less than right on the money. It's nigh-on perfect. All three games now have Time Trials too, so going back and completing every level as fast as possible will undoubtedly please speedrunners, bagging various levels of relic as a reward. From Sapphire to Gold and Platinum, beating the target time to achieve Platinum is one hell of a tall order, but it adds increased longevity to an already incredibly generous package.


Thankfully, the achievement list demands only earning 'Gold or better' when it comes to Time Trials, so you won't have to torture yourself too much by striving for the perfect run on every single level. The list as a whole is inventive too, taking in every facet of each instalment in the trilogy with a blend of common objectives and unique tasks to fulfil in every game. An achievement list with a great spread that complements Crash's return beautifully. You couldn't really ask for much more.

This rings true for Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy as a whole. As remakes go, there are few given the degree of care and attention that Vicarious Visions has lavished upon this, raising the bar for how remade retro IPs ought to be treated. Still as addictive and fun as ever, the N. Sane Trilogy brings Crash Bandicoot to a whole new audience who weren't there the first time around, while giving those who grew up with Crash the chance to return to a much-loved video game icon.

Simply put, if you own an Xbox One or Xbox One X, you can't afford not to own Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. It's completely and utterly brilliant.

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy

An essential collection you simply must own on Xbox One, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is about as good as it gets where remakes are concerned, and a more than welcome comeback for a true icon.

Form widget
90%
Audio
80%

Remixed tunes, remastered audio, all exactly as it should be. Naughty Dog's Crash trilogy is still a treat for the ears.

Visuals
90%

And the eyes. Vicarious Visions really has done itself proud in remaking Crash from the ground up, staying true to the originals while adding extra visual flair. Beautiful.

Playability
90%

Still challenging, still massively gratifying, still enormously addictive. Again, the N. Sane Trilogy remains faithful to its source material, adding only a few tweaks here and there.

Delivery
90%

Three full games, completely rebuilt from scratch, impeccably presented and handled with due care. Nuff' said.

Achievements
90%

A great spread across all three games, with a hefty 3,000G to be earned. Each achievement list across the trilogy has a great blend of smart, inventive tasks and a smattering of overlapping objectives to complete in each game. Good stuff.

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