Game Reviews

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time PS5 Review

Experience Crash at 4K/60fps.

by Dean James
Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time

Crash Bandicoot was one of the most iconic gaming mascots of the PlayStation 1 era before his game output eventually dwindled and later went on a complete hiatus for a number of years. The Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy rejuvenated the property yet again, which had players thirsting for more. That relief finally came last fall with the release of Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time as a continuation of the first three games and now the game has been brought to the new generation platforms with a few upgrades.

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time built on the style of the original trilogy that is so beloved and brought players arguably the best game in the Crash franchise to date. The game begins with some of Crash’s main villains escaping their imprisonment thanks to Uka Uka ripping a hole in the fabric of reality. Neo Cortex and N. Tropy also escape, with N. Tropy creating a Rift Generator that creates more rips in time and leads to different dimensions crossing over. This leads to alternate versions of certain characters showing up, such as Crash’s girlfriend Tawna.

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Taking down all of these enemies means Crash is going to need some help, which he gets from a number of characters. His sister Coco is still playable here in every level that Crash is playable and can be switched out with ease while on the Dimensional Map. The Dimensional Map is the equivalent of a level select for the game, which branches off in different ways the more you play. You will eventually unlock different stages to play as not just Tawna, but also the previously villainous Dingodile and the always troublesome Neo Cortex. Some of these even intersect with Crash and Coco, to where you end up switching to one of them part the way through and get a harder variation of the original stage.

Crash and Coco also need some extra help in their own stages, which come in the form of the four Quantum Masks. These ancient beings are reawakened and each provide the duo with a special power that can be used only in certain parts of the game. You have Lani-Loli with the ability to phase shift objects around you, ‘Akano with control of dark matter, Kupuna-Wa with the ability to slow down time, and Ika-Ika that lets you control gravity, which all are implemented very well in the game. Even though this may make you think they could make the game easier, the game definitely makes a point to not allow them to do that, with them instead fitting naturally within the stages they are found.

The game has more than just the Timeline stages where you play as characters besides Crash and Coco, as there are other level types located all throughout that make the game so content rich. Flashback Tapes can be discovered in each stage by reaching them before losing a life, which unlock tapes from back when Neo Cortex was originally experimenting on Crash in what are some of the most difficult levels in the game. There are also time trials for each stage and not too far into the game you will unlock N. Verted forms of stages as well, which are backwards versions of the stages with unique art styles to set them apart from the original.

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When it comes to new levels and such, unfortunately Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time does not have any with this latest release. It would have been nice to see something new content wise to bring back players that already beat the game, but the base game of Crash Bandicoot 4 already had an incredible number of different levels packed into one package when it released. Toys for Bob didn’t leave us hanging completely with new content though, as they did add in an additional costume to the game. Both Crash and Coco have received a special Bare Bones costume that is like a Day of the Dead themed skeleton costume. Otherwise, everything content wise in this game is going to be the exact same from before.

Platformers are all about precision and timing and Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time already handled exceptionally well as you played through the various stages in the game with the different characters. You always felt like you had full control of the specific character and any deaths that happen are on you rather than on the controls. Even with tight controls, players will want the smoothest experience possible to play through a game like this regardless, which this new release delivers.

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time originally released a little more than a month before the new generation platforms, which means it was limited to what the PS4 and Xbox One could handle. Even with the premium PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, the game occasionally would see a drop from a 60fps frame rate. The game still performed exceptionally well across the board most of the time to where it wasn’t a major hindrance, but now this new version takes the game to new heights when it comes to performance.

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When playing the game on PlayStation 5, Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time runs at 60fps throughout with a 4K resolution. This means that not only does the game run buttery smooth, but also looks even better than ever. The game already had a new art style and game engine that was developed exclusively for this game, which looked great then and still does now. This new version though just improves it further with the crystal clear 4K resolution.

One of the major reasons to play any upgraded version on PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S over the last generation consoles are load times and Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time really delivers in that area on PS5. When playing on the PS4 version, it took around 20 seconds to load into a level or 12 seconds to load back into the Dimensional Map when already inside a stage. In comparison, the PS5 cuts this time in more than half with only about eight seconds to load into a level and five seconds to load back to the Dimensional Map.

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time on new generation consoles also features the inclusion of 3D audio. This adds another level of the immersion factor with the game, especially if you are using a headset that can utilize 3D audio. This may not be a major selling point for most people, but it’s definitely not something to be completely overlooked regardless.

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While both PS5 and Xbox Series X/S get all of the performance upgrades, the PS5 version has an exclusive feature that utilizes the DualSense controller. One of the standout features of the DualSense are the adaptive triggers, which Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time takes advantage of in a few ways. You really won’t know this while controlling Crash or Coco since the triggers are not really used outside of the Quantum Masks, but it’s the side characters where it is implemented. You can tell a difference when shooting Neo Cortex’s ray gun or Tawna’s grappling hook, but where it is most noticeable is with Dingodile and his vacuum cannon. This may not be anything major, but it does give an idea what may happen with future entries built natively on this hardware with the adaptive triggers in mind.

For anyone that happened to miss out on Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time last fall, this is the perfect opportunity to try it out for the first time. Even if you have already purchased and played through the game in the past, the free upgrade to this version is very well worth checking out for the performance upgrades alone with what is the definitive way to experience Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time.

The Verdict

Crash Bandicoot is starting off his 25th anniversary celebration in style with an upgraded version of what was already a stellar game. The number of changes may be fairly minimal overall, but there is no reason not to experience Crash at his very best on new generation hardware with Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time.

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Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time

  • Available On: PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
  • Published By: Activision
  • Developed By: Toys For Bob
  • Genre: Platformer
  • US Release Date: March 12, 2021
  • Reviewed On: PS5
  • Quote: "Crash Bandicoot is starting off his 25th anniversary celebration in style with an upgraded version of what was already a stellar game. The number of changes may be fairly minimal overall, but there is no reason not to experience Crash at his very best on new generation hardware with Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time."
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