How were they able to remake a trilogy but flop on a new entry? I’ve been very slowly working my way through Crash 4: It’s About Time and have just gotten to the Cortex boss fight (where he says “It’s about time”). The game is pretty and certainly hits several marks that make it a decent platformer. That said, a few things that bother me…

The controls. The way Crash controls is somehow abysmal considering how tuned they got with the N. Sane Trilogy (it wasn’t perfect, but it did the job). There is a sense of fluidity when it came to Crash 2 and 3 that felt satisfying to control. Sadly in Crash 4 this was all but lost as if Crash was built to control for the levels, rather than making levels to fit how Crash originally controlled (basically bypassing much of the existing level design). Every action seems to restart momentum, which has this weird sense of hitting the breaks anytime you want to do something that isn’t a spin. Sliding, double jumping — every action especially when performed in a combo constantly hits you with this slow down. It requires a different approach, where the only way to really move forward is to run and the only way to jump long distances is to heavily delay your second jump input. It felt more like in the original games that sliding and double jumping were more fluid, constantly keeping your speed while combining actions to increase it in short bursts (ala slide spins in Crash 2). It’s just overall dissatisfying to use in Crash 4, and it probably my biggest fear for any possible “Spyro 4” where the characters becomes forced to control in a restrictive manner.

The only other problem with Crash 4 is one I feel most people took issue with: the collectibles. I do love to collect things, it’s why I always preferred Spyro over Crash. It felt more fun to collect everything, without the annoyance of pixel perfect platforming. I won’t go too deep into this because I feel everyone’s already covered this by now. I just wish the levels were more satisfying and fun, which is all but impossible when there are items hidden off screen and forced revisits with almost no additional shake ups. When the original Crash games tried to “hide” stuff, they did so in a rather obvious or satisfying way. Like a “ah, yeah, that makes sense”. Crash 4 feels rather arbitrary and disappointing. When you collect every box you see, do the full bonus stage, and see the box counter still missing 2-30 boxes, it just isn’t satisfying at all.

All of this makes me fear what Spyro 4 could have been (or still could be). I might make it to the credits of Crash 4, but there is no way I try to complete it fully. Which is a sure-fire way to tell you’ve failed at making the game you set out to build. I’ve been recommended countless times to play A Hat in Time, so maybe after Crash and Kirby the Forgotten Lands I’ll play that. I never finished Banjo and Kazooie because I disliked how leaving a level made the entire thing reset, so here’s hoping I can enjoy a new collectathon soon.

(PS. I’ve been otherwise invested in FFXIV and doing a NG+ run of XC3, though I’m stuck on how I want to actually continue my NG+ run since Soul Hacker from 0 is quite painful.)