Game: Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy – Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back
Developers: Vicarious Visions
“Building bigger and better on a solid foundation”
Today’s review is centered around the second game of the trio from the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. I guess you can call this the middle child of the remakes, I thought of this when I had finished the game and was quite pleased with what I had experienced. As stated in the previous post(Crash 1 Remake) I never owned the original Crash Bandicoot games, so my experience will not have many if any comparisons to those games.
The first thing I noticed when I started the sequel to Crash Bandicoot 1 was that I realized that this is a remake more than ever. I say this because, in my experience there is usually a graphical jump between games, as I think maybe the developers just get better at designing their product with the continued lifespan of the system they are putting the game on. However this wasn’t really the case in my experience, this game looks pretty much the same as the first Crash game in the remake trilogy. I guess you could make the argument that they do use a bit more stuff in the levels than the first remake, but it still seems to me that the overall graphical power output is relatively the same.
Side Note: I wonder when the original games came out if there was a noticeable difference in graphics quality.
One thing I will say that I did like this go around compared to the original game was that they immediately let you use Coco, who is Crash’s younger sister. I actually preferred using her and for a while now, I’m not really sure why. At first I thought it was because her character model seems to be a bit more compact than using Crash and this would allow me to make easier jumps. If you remember the core dna of this game as with the first, is to progress through each level while breaking as many boxes as possible, collecting as much fruit, and dying as little as possible, while going as fast as you can to reach the finish line.
But when using Coco I could be wrong, but I don’t think her slimmer player model really makes a difference. Next I thought that it was because her clothing color scheme was better as I feel she didn’t blend in with the level as much when compared to Crash. But by the large death count when alternating between Crash and Coco for comparison I believe this is also a wrong idea. After using Coco more and more compared to Crash I realized I just prefer to play as Crash’s cute little sister over him.
Side Note: Coco is better than crash, plus all bosses are Crash only, so it’s only fair she gets all the normal levels.
Enough rambling about my reasoning on why I like Coco over Crash. Another thing I noticed this go around was that there were more cut scenes this time as such:
This doesn’t look like much because it is simply a picture, but when you actually get to witness this in game, it feels more like a Saturday morning cartoon more than ever. (4Kids TV anyone). And to make it feel even more like a kids TV programming that you can interact with, they decided to give it more of a story as compared to the first. Although not anything special, it still gives a solid reason to your actions.
It’s really simple actually, you are told that there are enemies that want to do you harm. So you work with Cortex to collect the crystals in hopes of stopping them. The end(I won’t spoil anything).
While the story is indeed simple and may even seem more so than needed based on how I wrote what it was above. I still think it is far above what was found in the first game. One flaw with the story this time around is that I feel was a bit of a mis-step was how the bosses were used. Outside of what I believe is that the last two bosses that you face, I am not sure why they were even there to fight you outside of I guess cortex telling them to, who is supposed to be working with you? Now I know I could be wrong here but it was just an observation, I was more focused on the battle itself, rather than why we were fighting.
Note: Overall I would say this time around the boss battles are better, I won’t spoil anything, but none took more than a few tries.
The core of this experience as compared to the first entry in the trilogy to me is definitely more fleshed out. The levels are less repetitive in general but there are definitely some offenders in this department. But while there are some that do repeat they usually aren’t copy and paste but should rather be thought of as an extension of each other. Also the level variety has gone up this time around, as in the gimmicks are better.
For instance this was one of the more frustrating levels:
By this image you may not be able to see, but I am playing as Coco and am currently hiding underground. Why is she hiding you may ask, well this is where the bees can’t sting you of course. Notice I said bees and not wasp, those bastards can bury underground and wreck you in real life. In all seriousness however, I actually struggled with this level more than I’d like to admit.
Now while the bee themed level, where you hide underground was pretty intense I thought it was still a solid level. One level that while I liked in theory, in execution I think they could have cut it out of the game, this is the level I speak of:
Yes there is a space jetpack level this time, and it is unique. So much so that it was pretty disorientating to the point where it started to give me motion sickness. I wish I could have just skipped this one, the difficulty wasn’t in the design of the level but my tolerance to its visuals.
I think that about covers it, the game looks about the same as the first Crash game in the trilogy, but does add a bit more to the background. The story is simple and easy to understand. The boss fights are more interesting this time around. The cartoon TV show aspect is stronger than ever. The level design is overall better than the first, but I do feel largely they weren’t as difficult. I don’t really have much negative to say about this game, from start to finish it was a better outing than the first game.
– Small improvements on a solid foundation, makes for a good sequel.