Top positive review
Crash is back!
Reviewed in the United States on June 30, 2017
I got my copy in a day early so I've had time to get up to "The Native Fortress" in Crash 1 and about halfway thorugh Crash 2, and I feel safe to say that Vicarious Visions has created an extremely faithful, almost to a fault, reproduction of the original Crash games that should please any fans of the classics.
Gameplay wise, these are basically one-to one recreations of the original trilogy. I'm sure there's probably some small tweaks here and there that I don't notice, but it feels the same as playing the original games. The only really noticeable gameplay change is that Crash 1 now saves after every level, which is a welcome change from the bizarre save system the PS1 version had. You can also use the analogue sticks now, and I found myself switching between the d-pad and the analogue sticks depending on the situation, which was useful. Being so faithful though, means that some of the less savory bits of the original level designs are still problem points here. This isn't so much a problem for Crash 2 (I haven't played either version of Crash 3, yet), but Crash 1 has some needlessly brutal levels, such as The Native Fortress, which is so cheap and full of fake difficulty I moved on to Crash 2 instead. This is no fault of the remaster, I had problems with these levels in the originals too, but coming from today's platformers it may be jarring for new players. Crash 2 is still a phenomenal game, and it doesn't so much have bad levels as it has little gotchas here and there that feel a bit cheap, such as a jump in one of the snow levels where you basically have to be off the ledge before jumping to make it, or some spots in the levels where you're running away from something where you just can't see an obstacle coming up and have to memorize the layout after a few failures. With that said, the parts that are great are still great. Crash is still a joy to move and play as, spin attacking enemies is still super-satisfying, most of the levels are pretty well designed, and the boss fights are fantastic.
The visuals are incredible. Every level is filled to the brim with as much detail as possible, and yet it stays completely faithful to the original artistic idea of Crash Bandicoot. Some pretty amazing lighting is on display and you can now see every hair on Crash's hide, which is impressive to look at. What really takes the cake though, is the animation. The original games were a lot more expressive than other PS1 games of the time, featuring some pretty advanced lip sync for their era, and the remaster team has taken that up a notch for the N. Sane Trilogy. Every animation, be it an idle, a victory pose, or the beautifully reworked cutscenes, is fluid and full of character, looking more like something out of an animated movie moreso than a video game. The sounds are all there as well, from the amazing music to Crash screaming WHOA and everyone's favorite, BOODABOOGA.
Overall, this is a great value, considering you get three full games in one package, each remastered with astounding care and attention to detail. Some aspects of these games haven't aged well, so newcomers may want to try it at a friend's house or wait for a drop, but if you're a lifelong fan of classic Crash, feel safe jumping right in.