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Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time (PS4 / Xbox One)

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Just now, Jovahexeon The Undyne said:

I'd argue that a game should feel fun and fulfilling all the way through. Completionism included, especially since they clearly added all that stuff in to try and justify selling it at full $60 price upon release.

Abd unfortunately,  Crash 4 missed that mark horribly. 

Well i got like 70 something hours out of the game only to reach 100% completion so definitely got my money's  worth lmao I'm not even saying "well the main campaign is good and the bad stuff you don't HAVE to play so shut up" of course ideally the entire game should be good, it just seems to be the only thing fans wanna seem to focus on whenever talking about it 

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On 4/3/2021 at 7:47 AM, Soniman said:

Well i got like 70 something hours out of the game only to reach 100% completion so definitely got my money's  worth lmao I'm not even saying "well the main campaign is good and the bad stuff you don't HAVE to play so shut up" of course ideally the entire game should be good, it just seems to be the only thing fans wanna seem to focus on whenever talking about it 

I mean, that's good for you, but the main issue is that they resort to a lot of repetition and pin point perfect requirements to pad out the experience. 

It feels much more like needless, especially with all the issues @Ryannumber1gamer mentioned. Now, it's not impossible to enjoy the game, let alone the experience,  but given the series' history, it's quite telling that this one is the game that even some of the most die-hard Crash fans have critiqued regarding the full-on completion.

As for why fans are so hard on it, it's because it essentially combines the worst aspect of each game. All boxes without dying from Crash 1, terrible box hiding from Crash 2, and some relics not being geared all too well for what they ask of you.

But unlike Crash 3, you actually need the platinum relics. And the worst part is that the reward for 106% completion is unbelievably weak for all the chores you have to do to get there.

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I'm glad for this review. I've heard horror stories about the game's difficulty, but always wondered if it was "eventually get the satisfaction of mastering the game mechanics" or "I'm glad I never have to do that ever again." Seems like the latter.

And yes, I agree with everyone that said that a game should be judged on its 100% (or 106% in this case) requirements, because I'm one of those people who gets a nagging sensation in my head if I don't play something all the way through.

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4 hours ago, Soniman said:

If all the unfun stuff in the game is optional than I consider it a win imo. I'm not a time trial guy at all so I really only care about perfect relics at this point and seeing as how they finally fixed the polar sections I'll probably get back in and try it. I think %100 completion is a good middleground between feeling accomplished but not killing yourself with frustration.

Though I know Crash fans to love go for full completion so i do think it's something TOB should consider going forward, for me personally this is probably still my favorite Crash game rivaling 3

You see, this is where I disagree, though. Crash games have always been designed to be an rewarding experience if you go the extra mile to do it. It’s literally been there from as early as Crash 1. The games are always relatively simple to get from Point A to Point B, and to the bare minimum, and thus also very quick, but the point where the real fun begins is taking on the additional collectibles.

And the problem is here, it’s strictly all or nothing. If you even want to consider doing say - the perfect relics - they aren’t worth anything unless you also get the platinum relics (which side note - if you’re good enough to get the perfect relics, I’d say you could probably do platinum relics, as perfect relics are considerably easier, and this is from someone who both despises time trials and speedrunning, and only managed gold relics in the original trilogy). The only thing required for 100% is all clear gems. 

But the issue here is that you can’t just judge this game on a casual run. Like it or not, Crash games have been designed from day 1 to be two experiences - a quick run through a simple platformer, and then a lengthier run picking everything up. Crash games are relatively simple when just blitzing through them, but pick up in both fair challenge, and fun factor when you go for everything, it’s one of the series greatest strengths.

There’s no doubt in my mind Crash 4 is a good game, I said as such in my post. Even my gigantic list of complaints is jankiness only really noticeable when the game asks you to start doing things perfectly. But that’s the problem, this isn’t a fair challenge like previous Crash games. This isn’t a skill based game where you can at least take all of your failures in stride and say “fair enough, that’s my fault, I need to do better”. The game asks you to do ridiculous things on the regular, while also not being remotely stable enough to facilitate your runs. When you start losing perfect relics because of these glitches, or because of these issues, that’s when you’ll get where I’m coming from, because it’s just a horrendous feeling to be stuck on a level for ages, nearly pull it off, only to die yet again due to the game’s own faults.

Unfortunate to say, but completion is always baked into Crash’s core, and that is exactly why so many Crash players always go for completion, the series actively encourages it, and Crash 4 is not different. The difference is Crash 4 is not only padded to absolutely ridiculous degrees (there’s zero reason for both all the clear gems, and the perfect relic, given getting the perfect relic will usually give you all gems, barring the hidden gem, meaning one or the other could’ve been cut), but Crash 4 is also filled with so many gimmicks and just...weird programming decisions that it becomes a gigantic trial in patience as you keep dealing with both your own mistakes, and the mistakes caused by the game itself being super weird, and that is a legitimate failing on the game’s part, and one caused by TfB just not knowing when to say enough is enough.

135 hours for a Crash game is absolutely ridiculous, especially when the main game only lasts around 7-10 hours Max, and that’s on Toys for Bob.

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1 hour ago, Azure Blue Tori said:

I'm glad for this review. I've heard horror stories about the game's difficulty, but always wondered if it was "eventually get the satisfaction of mastering the game mechanics" or "I'm glad I never have to do that ever again." Seems like the latter.

And yes, I agree with everyone that said that a game should be judged on its 100% (or 106% in this case) requirements, because I'm one of those people who gets a nagging sensation in my head if I don't play something all the way through.

It’s a bit of both, to be honest. Trust me, now that it’s over, I will never touch completion in this game again. If and when I play Crash 4 again, it’s going to just be a start to finish playthrough and that’s it.

That said, there is still a learning curve that when you master the mechanics, you’ll get significantly better at the game itself. Learning how to speed through levels by mixing the triple spin and slide spin, learning how to take full advantage of the variations of Crash’s jumps and combining his moveset, etc. It’s just that A. The additional characters don’t have many mechanics to master because they’re both simple and janky, and B. The game’s own weird jankiness and glitches can still interfere with your moveset mastery (the one that disables your double jump specifically). It’s a tricky topic.

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20 minutes ago, Ryannumber1gamer said:

The game asks you to do ridiculous things on the regular, while also not being remotely stable enough to facilitate your runs.

Ooh, and this isn't even counting all the bugs or programming mishaps that apparently got patched out around the ports' release.

Seriously, boxes would absolutely REFUSE to break,  the standing still Spin would be finicky with actually working, and the riding levels were far worse to even register box breaking (and they're still arguably bad at that), Crash Landed was a buggy mess, and so on so forth.

Seriously for a game that was asking us to bring our best, they sure weren't doing that themselves when it came to completion in this game.

I'd actually say I had a more fulfilling time completing freaking Wrath of Cortex.

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The game clearly isn't designed to do everything at once, especially in last gen consoles where reloading a level can take nearly 30 seconds. I'm 100%ing like 2 or 3 levels a day (when I have time to play these days 😅) at most and even then it gets frustating sometimes. I don't know why in the heavens TFB decided to make the fucking platinum relics required to 106% the game instead of the gold ones like Crash 3. If only getting all the plats gave something actually worth it... I'm doing it just for the sake of it, since you can watch the "''""reward"'""" on YouTube LMAO I never cared for time trials in ANY game, and I'm certainly not gonna start loving it now, especially after they had the "brilliant" idea of replacing the dash with that triple ass spin. Why? And the cycle of the things? @Ryannumber1gamer is right. I get what the devs were saying when they compared Crash to a rhytm game, but damn, not only you have to be perfect, but the level has to be running the right cycle aswell and you can't miss the tempo at anytime. It's not fun.

N-verted levels should've been one level per world, not ALL of them, because by Christ some of those filters are disgusting. Cool of Beenox for trying something there, but it simply didn't added much value at the end of the day. The only N-verted mode I actually really enjoyed was the paint splash one in the pirate's world.

As for the perfect relics, these are the ones I actually enjoy to be honest. I like taking my time with a level instead of rushing it (which is why I dislike time trials). I believe I had one or two instances where a glitch fucked up my run, at most, I know they exist, but I can't really complain about that myself since I really didn't experienced any of these you're saying... And since they patched that goddamned hitbox in the Polar stages, I had a fair experience through and through. I absolutely love Cortex Castle, no lie. Wish there were at least one more level like it, using every mask at once.

Other than that, I think the game is pretty sweet, perhaps the best Crash game just to beat. I wasn't so sure about the new slide, but I ended up liking it better than the OG. And the double jump is finally good. The different gameplay styles are what I always thought the vehicle levels were in Crash 3: not as fun as playing as Crash, but not totally terrible either. It's okay-ish.

The game's presentation is gorgeous, easily my favorite in the franchise. Great tropes and level design, amazing animations and detail, the art style is superb and while the new designs aren't everyone's cup of tea, I actually love them. The voice acting helps to sell the story and keep it entertaining and funny, even if it's pretty dumb at times. The soundtrack, while I enjoyed most songs and especially the throwbacks (that Snow Go bit in Stay Frosty gets me everytime), doesn't quite reach that level of quality of the old games, but it's still good. Stay Frosty, Booty Calls, Tropy's theme, Out for Launch, Run It Bayou and Off Beat are some of my favorite tracks. 

For the sequel, man, there's so much they can improve easily. First thing I would do is add a box counter for each Checkpoint, so you would at least know if you missed a crate up untill that point and not just at the bitter end of the level. And since they liked to hide crates in crazy places, why not give Aku the ability to point at crates like Sparx does in Spyro? It wouldn't be cheating if he just points at the right direction... 

Oh, and no more N-verted modes and platinum relics requirement to 100% the game... Keep them as extras challenges to unlock cool stuff like power-ups, skins, maybe even game mods, why not? Big head, moon gravity, roller skates, super slide, shit like that. 

And bring Pinstripe and Tiny back you cowards.

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I grew to really hate the N Verted modes not because the filter was disgusting (although quite a few look pretty awful), but because they have the worst habit of hiding crates. In certain worlds like N Gin and the 11th Dimension, they would so easily hide in the background, especially in Tawna's levels. 

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They went too far with the crates location, both in regular and N-verted levels. I don't mind the hidden gems being hidden as fuck TBH, but the crates shouldn't be like that, Crash was never about that, save one level in Crash 1 and another one in Crash 2. And while I know I'm minority (of all the 38 levels, I think I've missed crates in 5 levels at best), I can still see why people despise some of them. I play each level like, SUPER slow, like you wouldn't believe. I take everything in, I pan the camera at every spot and even then, I had my gf pointing at crates I've missed because I was focusing on a moving hazard or something else. Toys for Bob please turn that shit down in Crash 5 or add the Checkpoint counter at least. Nobody deserves replaying a whole level again because they didn't saw a crate right at the beginning...

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Activision cannot seem to make a good decision without adding a “but” somewhere along the lines. This seems so in line with what I expect from them, so we’ll see if this is going where I think it’s going. I remember when EA moved the dead space company visceral to work on Battlefield before killing them off. Hopefully this isn’t that. Hopefully 

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3 hours ago, Graystripe2000 said:

You act as if that’s the only thing they’re doing.

Getting moved to the Call of Duty mines has quite consistently been Activision's calling card for when rough times are ahead for a company. If not eventually just breaking down and getting closed inevitably. 

And yes, they do have an unhealthy obsession with CoD. It might not be the only thing that Activision do, but it's essentially the black hole in the company that consumes dev companies over and over again.

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4 hours ago, Graystripe2000 said:

You act as if that’s the only thing they’re doing.

No, I act like Activision taking talented development teams fresh off of working on interesting and varied IPs that were successful in their own right, rewarding them for their success by dumping them into an anonymous support role for yearly Call of Duty titles since that's where their talents will be the most profitable, then shitcanning half the staff/shutting the studio down entirely at the slightest sign of financial benefit (since the studio doesn't need to be as large or creatively focused if it's just making stuff for CoD), is something that Activision has done for over a decade now; and if Toys for Bob somehow breaks up the streak started by Raven Software, Treyarch, and Neversoft (or the Infinity Ward collapse following MW2) it would be basically unprecedented.

 

In fact, it's a particularly odd rebuttal for you to try and make when Activision also just did the same fucking thing with Vicarious Visions just a few months ago immediately after THPS 1+2 released to it's own high acclaim and sales success (so Tracer's ass can be more perfectly rendered in Overwatch DLC, presumably); to say nothing of the reports following this that Toys For Bob has already had a massive brain drain very recently, likely not being a coincidence that it happened in lockstep with this repositioning as a support developer.

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Toys For Bob, Beenox and Vicarious are all supporting bigger Activision projects now. There's been a number of departures from all 3 studios in the wake of this. Spyro Reignited and Crash 4's art director even jumped ship and is working on Sonic Prime.

There is basically no chance of another Platformer from Activision at this rate. Your best bet is them deciding to outsource Crash to someone else.

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I’ve gotta wonder if those old rumors about microtransactions being a thing in Crash 4, but getting taken out due to backlash to CTRNF were true after all and played a role in this, if “not meeting sales expectations” are indeed the reason. 

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This really sucks. I'm not going to say Crash Bandicoot is dead just yet but... it's not looking incredibly good for him unless Beenox is the only developer left to make the series, or Activision just outsources it. I waited so long for him to make his grand return, hoping every single E3, and it just ends like this. Fuck Activision. I wish Crash wasn't owned by this shitty company. I feel bad for the developers too, but at least most of them still have their jobs. 

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12 hours ago, Dejimon11 said:

RUH OH RAGGY!

Yeah, he confirmed that everyone he's worked with was let go. There's a rumour going on that the art director of Crash 4 left TFB recently. I imagine the skill and style these professionals have are not ideal for something realistic and dull like CoD. I don't blame them for jumping ship when they got the news, their amazing talent would've been wasted in something like CoD. I'm sure as hell they'll find job soon, when you're good, you're good. Still a shame, because these guys nailed Spyro and Crash and I think everyone, even themselves, wanted more. 

It's been a great 4 years at least. 

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So did Crash, Spyro, Tony Hawks and the like not to very well? Or is is just that Activision are more focused on COD dominating the gaming conversation? 

Either way, if a lot of the above is true (because let's face it, internet badmouth chatter is noisier than what we fully know goes on behind closed doors) then it's such a waste of talent and rebuilding of IP's. However... this IS the business of Activision we're discussing so I wouldn't put it past them.

Whilst I'm aware they bundle quite a lot of their internal studios together to support each other (which lets be fair, did happen with Crash & Spyro), The post from the TFB account about them looking forward to supporting COD season 3 is not encouraging and certainly a sly PR move. 

 

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13 minutes ago, Son-icka said:

So did Crash, Spyro, Tony Hawks and the like not to very well? Or is is just that Activision are more focused on COD dominating the gaming conversation? 

I can't speak for Crash, as it was up in the air. It was alleged that Crash 4 didn't do well at all, but many fawned it off due to the fact that after this claim, the PS5, Series X, PC and Switch ports were announced, which is a heavy investment into a game that didn't do well, although the possibility remains that they were in development already and too much was invested to just cancel. All we know is it can go one way or the other there.

N Sane Trilogy, CTR: NF, and Reignited all did incredibly well. There's a reason why Activision randomly mandated that they wanted at least one remaster out per year.

Tony Hawks however did incredibly well. Like, for a dead franchise that was buried due to Activision's poor, rushed decisions with it, Pro Skater 1 + 2 was a massive comeback for a dead series, becoming the fastest selling title in the franchise.

This isn't to do with sales, definitely not in Tony Hawks' case. Activision's just being greedy as per usual. COD is their biggest franchise, so they're trying to pour everything into that boat, which is fucking awful, frankly. Talented studios just getting poured into a game franchise that frankly already has an over-abundance of developers as is. 

The one thing I don't get is Blizzard though. The tweet above claims that everyone has essentially been moved to COD, but that isn't the case, as we know for a fact Vicarious has been moved to support Overwatch 2 (Which in hindsight - they probably got moved over due to OW2 hitting developmental troubles, as seemingly indicated by it's delay and Kaplan's leaving).

Anyways guys, don't worry - we still have Crash on the Run, a game with so much dignity that we're already adding the Noid as a mini-boss!

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2 minutes ago, Ryannumber1gamer said:

The one thing I don't get is Blizzard though. The tweet above claims that everyone has essentially been moved to COD, but that isn't the case, as we know for a fact Vicarious has been moved to support Overwatch 2

It's likely a case of considering Activision and Blizzard two different regions of the same company.

And "Vicarious" technically no longer exists as its own thing now.

It's just a part of Blizzard.

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1 hour ago, Ryannumber1gamer said:

The one thing I don't get is Blizzard though. The tweet above claims that everyone has essentially been moved to COD, but that isn't the case, as we know for a fact Vicarious has been moved to support Overwatch 2 (Which in hindsight - they probably got moved over due to OW2 hitting developmental troubles, as seemingly indicated by it's delay and Kaplan's leaving).

Anything popular with a live service model (cough!Microtransactionscough!) is probably safe, which is why Blizzard likely is safe, since OW has done fantastic in that regard. Activision seems to be more wary of products without them in since they don’t make ALL the money 

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