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Game Title: Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Company: Activision
Availability: Retail | Digital
Battery Life: 2.5 – 3.5 hours
Download: 5.2 GB

Remastering games became quite the fad this generation. A lot of developers got a reason to remaster their PS3/360 or even PS2/Xbox games onto current-generation hardware. Games like The Last of Us, Final Fantasy X, and even the Dragon Ball Z Budokai games got remastered and made available for current-gen gamers.

Some devs decided to take that one step further and remastered games from the original PlayStation for current-gen systems. Last summer, the original Crash Bandicoot games spun onto the PlayStation 4 as an exclusive title. Although many handheld fans were sore about it being console-only, they only needed to wait.

Alas, this summer, the Remasters came to other platforms, from the Xbox One to the Nintendo Switch. Now that the remakes are handheld, let’s discuss them. Here is my review of the Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy for the Nintendo Switch!

Story

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The story of these games centers around Crash Bandicoot, a test subject that’s being experimented on by Dr. Neo Cortex in his plan to create an army of Mutant Animals to take over the world. After escaping from his holding cell, he fights back against the doctor to stop him and rescue another test subject he’s taken a fancy for.

The plot of the series basically goes in a “Mega Man”-esque fashion. Crash fights Cortex, wins, Cortex makes another scheme in the next game, process repeats. He’s a very Dr Wily/Eggman-type of villain. As such, story isn’t too heavy in these games.

Gameplay

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Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy is a collection of the original 3 Crash Bandicoot games that came out on the original PlayStation: Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, and Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped. All of them retain their original content with the additions of Time Trials and a few DLC levels exclusive to the remakes.

The real beauty of this remake is how faithful it was to these three games. There was no level redesigning or control-changing going on here. Every level looks and feels just like it did on the PlayStation, but with a graphical facelift and a few enemies giving more warning for their attacks to lower the absurd difficulty these games had a couple decades back.

As such, players of the originals will feel right at home, feeling like they’re playing the same games, but with a visual and audio facelift. It’s the way a lot of fans want their remakes, and with that mentality comes perfect nostalgia for older gamers and frustratingly-faithful incarnations for gamers new to the Crash Bandicoot series.

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And that lies to the actual games. These are 3D action platformers that functioned almost just as much as puzzle games as they are platformers. This is particularly-strong in Crash Bandicoot 1, but all of these games were from an age where platformers were still very difficult and had a pretty steep learning curve.

As such, expect these platforming sections to be very specific and based on precision. Crash 1 is really bad about this, giving you only one or two hits per life and its levels are filled to the brim with precision jump pits where your timing is very critical and crucial just for getting from Point A to Point B. Remember Super Meat Boy? Imagine that, but 3D and with less spike traps and more bottomless pits and fire traps.

That’s where this collection really gets frustrating. Crash 1 was a very difficult and very picky platformer that gave you death from even the most simple of puzzles and jumps. Most jumps barely had enough room to be pulled off correctly and, outside of experts, will leave players with dozens of deaths in each level, even back in the first areas of the game. 2 and 3 fix this ten-fold with faster pacing, more fluid jumping, and better level design. But, you will definitely get frustrated while playing through the first game. Being faithful is great, but just as long as you know that being faithful to a brutally difficult game leads to the remake being equally brutal and difficult.

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That’s not to say it isn’t fun. As I said, Crash 2 and 3 refined the formula and made it a lot more fun, offering much faster pacing, better level design, and all around more for you to do. Whether you’re fighting off bosses, or going through a side-scrolling level section, you’ve got a lot of really good platforming here.

Now, let’s get into time. This trilogy have more than 80 levels, so you’ve got a fair bit to go through. Knowing this, though, each level isn’t really that long. As I trekked through Crash 1, I managed to only clear a few levels every hour and, when all was said and done, had put in well over 15 hours into the trilogy. So, its not like you’re getting overloaded with content, but there’s plenty of platforming to be had.

Controls

Controlling the game is simple, but input delay is a thing here. Players of the PS4 version will quickly realize that the Switch has a slight amount of input delay between hitting a button and Crash doing what you want him to do. This is an especially-important thing when it comes to specific timing. Imagine Super Meat Boy with input delay. It makes playing these games quite a bit harder if you’re coming from the PS4. It’s not a massive issue if you’re new to the trilogy on the Switch, but still something that can be troublesome.

As for the actual controls go, things aren’t too difficult. You move around with the Left Analog Stick or Arrow Buttons / D-Pad. Not all of the triggers are used. ZL is used for saving during the hub areas and R can be used in later games for crouching and sliding. The action buttons are the most used. B is used for Jumping and Y for spinning/attacking. Finally, the A button is used for crouching and sliding, just like R.

THere’s something else about controls, though. If you’re one of those people that likes to switch between Docked and Handheld play, do note that this game does not recognize controller changes. If you’ve got it docked and pull it out, you have to completely close the game and restart it for it to recognize handheld mode as a valid controller. This is in effect for all 3 games of the trilogy and is quite annoying when you go from TV Play to Handheld mid-stage.

Presentation

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Graphically, the visual upgrade the PS4 got is definitely still here, but with a catch. When this game is docked, it looks great, but in handheld mode, it looks a good bit blurry. We aren’t talking Wolfenstein 2 Blurry, but enough that it’s a bit strange to look at and get used to.

Performance is great, though. It’s a solid 30 fps and doesn’t have any drops, dips, or any of that. They really optimized these games well for performance. Just not completely for looks.

Battery Life

Battery Life isn’t wonderfully great here, but it is a visually-high game. Perhaps that was to be expected. But, anyways, here are my times, from 100% to 0%

Max Brightness + Wi-Fi – 2 hours, 41 minutes
Max Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 2 hours, 49 minutes

Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 08 minutes
Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 15 minutes

So, it’s not great, but not terrible either. Enough to get some nice bit of platforming frustration in on the go.

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In conclusion, Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy makes the jump to handheld fans optimized mostly well and gives handheld fans a shot at a trilogy that is oddly incompatible with the current PS Vita models in both new and old forms. While there are some issues with controller issues and one of the games being brutally harder than the rest, it’s still a lot of fun to dive into the Switch with Crash Bandicoot in a game outside of Skylanders.

Final Score: 7/10