In 2020, the Crash Bandicoot franchise made its long-awaited comeback in the form of Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time. Developed by Toys for Bob, Crash Bandicoot 4 was hailed by many as a return to Crash’s glory days, delivering challenging platform gameplay, eye-popping graphics, and new abilities for Crash and Coco to utilize during their adventure. Now the game has made the jump to next-generation consoles, and as expected, Crash Bandicoot 4 on next-gen is the superior way to experience the game.
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time on next-gen consoles is literally the same game that launched last year in terms of content, meaning those that already played through the original release won’t have any new levels to complete or challenges to overcome. Instead of adding content to the game, the next-gen version of Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is mainly focused on improving performance, and it certainly achieves that goal.
Whether one is playing Crash Bandicoot 4 on PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X, they will notice that it mostly manages to maintain 4K resolution at 60 frames per second. This is a slight improvement over playing the game on a PS4 Pro or Xbox One X, but those who played the game on a standard PlayStation 4 or Xbox One will likely be able to appreciate the improvement even more. Crash Bandicoot 4‘s graphics have always been impressive, but the game looks even better on the newer consoles.
The developers didn’t completely rebuild the graphics from the ground-up for Crash Bandicoot 4 on PS5 and Xbox Series X, but it’s still a noticeable upgrade. Now, there are some levels that seem to struggle with keeping the game at a steady 60 fps, though generally speaking it does perform better than its last-generation counterpart.
While the prettier graphics are appreciated, the biggest upgrade that fans will take note of is how fast the game loads. Crash Bandicoot 4 is a tough game, especially when players are trying to complete bonus objectives and get 100% completion. Crash Bandicoot 4 players are going to die a lot, but the next-gen version makes sure that they get back into the action as quickly as possible. The load times in the original release weren’t egregious by any means, but they’re basically nonexistent when playing on PS5 or Xbox Series X.
Essentially, Crash Bandicoot 4 on next-gen consoles is the same game that fans will remember from last year, but with better graphics, more reliable performance, and almost zero load times. This means that players are in for one of the better platforming games of the last decade, with a lot of fun, inventive levels and an amusing storyline to keep players engaged with the action from start to finish.
Crash Bandicoot 4‘s story remains a highlight of the experience, as it cleverly moves the franchise forward while also including plenty of familiar faces from its past. Dr. Neo Cortex is perhaps the MVP of the story, as he has some of the most entertaining cut-scenes and funniest lines of dialogue, though there’s a lot to be said for Tawna as well. Better yet, players get the chance to play as characters like Cortex, Tawna, and even old baddie Dingodile in some levels, so these characters get to shine in Crash 4 in ways they were never able to in the older games.
The levels with Cortex, Tawna, and Dingodile help keep Crash Bandicoot 4 fresh from start to finish. The levels with Crash and Coco are typical Crash Bandicoot platforming fare, with a mix of side-scrolling and 3D challenges. Cortex’s levels are all about turning enemies into platforms to help him get through the stage, while Tawna’s grappling hook gives her some more functionality when compared to Crash and Coco. Dingodile’s stages blend third-person shooting gameplay with platforming, as he can suck enemies up with his vacuum gun and then use them as projectiles.
Crash Bandicoot 4‘s gameplay has plenty of variety and will keep players entertained. Since Crash Bandicoot 4 is such a great game to begin with, it’s great that the experience is retained for the next-gen version, but it should be noted that the next-gen version also retains the flaws from the original release as well.
Crash Bandicoot 4‘s co-op and multiplayer are still a weak point of the experience. The Pass n Play co-op mode does nothing but outline the characters in neon colors when players can simply pass the controller back and forth in single-player instead without having to look at ugly bright lines. The versus multiplayer is still underwhelming as well, and it’s hard to see how anyone could bother spending all that much time with any of the available multiplayer modes. It simply has players repeat levels they already completed in single-player, but with added modifiers to make it a competition, which is not all that compelling.
The game also retains the obscene requirements for players to unlock Crash Bandicoot 4‘s secret endings. For those who may not be aware, unlocking Crash Bandicoot 4‘s secret endings requires players to speedrun stages without dying, among other difficult tasks, and while it’s certainly possible to do, it’s an extreme challenge that most people will likely give up on. It’s a shame that the game’s secret endings are locked away like this, as they feature key story beats that set up a Crash Bandicoot 5 game. Anyone interested is better off looking up the endings on YouTube.
These are minor complaints in the grand scheme of things, as most people aren’t going into a Crash Bandicoot game to play its multiplayer and at least the secret endings are easily accessible online for the people who don’t have the patience to achieve 106% completion.
If one has managed to get their hands on a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X console, they can’t go wrong with Crash Bandicoot 4, as it’s a tremendous platforming game and one of the genre’s best. Those that already own the last-gen version of the game will be happy to know that, unlike other Activision titles, the Crash Bandicoot 4 next-gen upgrade is free, so there’s no reason not to try it out.
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is out now for PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X, with a PC port coming on March 26. Game Rant was provided with an Xbox Series X code for this review.