Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time (Xbox Series X) Review
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time released last year for PS4 and Xbox One and now it has a shiny new coat of paint on Xbox One X/S and PS5. While the game looked brilliant already compared to the original trilogy released on the original PlayStation console, it clearly had some room to grow because this new version of the game shines new light on things you might have missed before. The stage select overworld has so many pop-up book aesthetics about it that I easily missed half of the details in each of them that I now notice with the 4K upgrade. This next-gen upgrade isn’t strictly keeping to a visual upgrade as the game runs from one world to another at a buttery smooth 60FPS.
For those gamers who haven’t given the latest Crash Bandicoot game a try on Xbox One or PS4, this title picks up where the original trilogy left off. Neo Cortex, N. Tropy, and Uka Uka escape containment together by bending space and time to create crazy rifts that Crash and Coco must chase them through as you play through one stage after another. Crash and Coco must traverse the multiverse in an effort to collect all of the masks scattered by the villains of It’s About Time. The Quantum Masks bring tons of platforming changes to the table in addition to their important role in the plot. One Quantum Mask will have you bringing invisible platforms into play as you jump from one reality to another, while another Quantum Mask will grant you super strength as you spin like Taz the Tasmanian devil from Loony Tunes. The Quantum Masks actually make Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time stand above the other Crash sequels, proving why it deserved the direct sequel treatment when it released as opposed to the spin-off sequel treatment that so many other Crash games have been subject to. Players who never checked out the original Crash Bandicoot trilogy on PlayStation can now get a shiny upgrade in the N. Sane Trilogy, leaving platforming fans no excuse not to get into the infamous Sony Bandicoot now that he’s multi-platform.
Frustrating Death Runs Have Never Looked So Pretty
Just like the older Crash titles, there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments in Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time. There are lots of opportunities to get frustrated by this 3D platformer as well, but I was laughing from some of the most inconvenient deaths, the design of several wacky characters, and the story that unfolds between stages. These titles have been funny since the very beginning, with PlayStation taking jabs at Nintendo when they initially released. That’s never been more evident than it is with Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time on Xbox Series X/S and PS5.
Each stage select screen offers a pop-up book themed aesthetic from the Japanese vibes of Tranquility Falls to the pirate swashbuckling of Booty Calls. These give you an idea of what to expect from each stage on the overworld, while the surrounding visuals make the stage select screen feel far more alive than it ever had before It’s About Time. The pop-up book overworld brings the environmental storytelling to the stage select screen in ways that the original trilogy wasn’t able to do. The tentacles that interact with the Pirate overworld in particular play with the pop-up book pieces in fun ways, while Tranquility Falls will show you why you need this Xbox Series X/S and PS5 upgrade if you’re still playing Crash 4 on earlier consoles. With the release of Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, Crash Bandicoot’s latest installment is coming to the Nintendo Switch and Battle.net as well. The SSD’s of the new Xbox and PlayStation consoles will make getting from one stage to another really quickly while jumping into a level will be seamless.
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time did the original Sony mascot justice for modern times and now Crash is going next-gen with this fresh 4K 60FPS upgrade for PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. As a life-long Crash Bandicoot fan, it’s amazing to see the old PlayStation mascot go from low polygon to 4K and I’m looking forward to seeing Nintendo’s plumber get the same modernized experience. What’s old is new again and if you’re a Crash fan that missed out on the original release of It’s About Time, this re-release on Xbox Series X/S and PS5 is the perfect excuse to jump in. The beautiful lighting and shadows breathe even more life into this seasoned franchise than the original release, mostly thanks to the improved 60FPS performance. While the lighting and shadows of It’s About Time were already improved from the N. Sane Trilogy, you’ll notice some jagged edges in the original release where you won’t in the Xbox Series X/S and PS5 release.
What’s Old Is New Again…. Again
Knowing Crash, he would’ve snoozed on his own launch date but I’d expect him to be ready to try It’s About Time with this new coat of paint. While the improved performance of Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is noticeable right off the get-go, it doesn’t take long to get occasional frame rate dips when the screen is really cluttered. Considering how rarely this was an issue, I can easily see it being patched but for now, there are small dips from time to time when things get chaotic.
Wumpa Fruit has never looked as delicious as it does in 4K. While the water could stand to look better, everything from the character design to the beautiful attention to detail in the stages and the pop-up book overworld, Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time would look like a Pixar movie if not for the button prompts. The storytelling and characters are hilarious, the attention to detail is incredible. PlayStation’s original mascot is no longer a Sony exclusive and now there’s no excuse not to try the renaissance of Crash Bandicoot that is It’s About Time.
***Xbox Series X code provided by publisher***
- 4K visuals
- Smooth 60FPS
- Laugh-out-loud moments
- Faster load times
- Character/map design
- Small framerate dips
- Water could have used an upgrade