Sunday, August 31, 2014

Review #147: Crash of the Titans

 And thus ends the Crashtravaganza.
 After Traveller's Tales pseudo rebooted the franchise with Twinsanity, there was only one way left to go.... reboot it again. Seriously.

 It's hard to pinpoint when it takes place, if it even takes place in the previous timeline, but the basic outline is that Crash and the rest of the bandicoots are enjoying another day in their care-free life when Cortex and Nina arrive in a machine and steal Coco away. The story tries to be funny, but it never manages to be Twinsanity-funny, but it does have its moments. Another thing to keep in mind is that this is a hard reboot. Crash now has a life bar, Wumpa Fruit now simply restore Crash's health, crates as you know them are gone, gems and crystals are gone and every single character has change both physically and personality-wise, this is not the Crash you know and love in any shape, way or form.
 Oh boy, has gameplay changed. The game no longer features a HUB or anything like that, and instead became a linear, stage-based platformer. There are no real secrets hidden on alternate paths or anything like that, the bonus areas are laid out pretty much in the open, as are the collectible voo-doo dolls and the Mojo. Oh, yes, Mojo, instead of Wumpa fruit, you can now find Mojo stashed behind objects, laying in plain sight or dropped when enemies are defeated, and collecting a certain amount of Mojo will unlock new combos(Yes.) or abilities. Crash now runs on a life bar, so he can take much more hits than before, and just his luck as the game now has a lot of focus on combat. There's also a multiplayer mode that places the second player on the role of "Carbon Crash", a white Crash that can, basically, do everything Crash can do. Pretty cool.

 When it comes to fighting enemies, Crash can, initially, land a 3-hit punch combo, a Strong kick attack that breaks the enemy's guard, double jump, block and sidestep. This is most definitely not the Crash that you used to know. The combat is fairly functional, it lacks depth, but it's quite decent and Crash will earn new abilities throughout the game, like the classic Spin attack, that initially leaves him dizzy after a while. Regardless, some of the combat sections can feel a bit long in the tooth, even though the combat works well, it can grow old really fast when not spread out. As for the platfoming, it works really well, and while there aren't any challenging platforming sections, it works pretty well and the environments through which you jump around are fairly good-looking.
 Then we have the Titans, bigger enemies that Crash can ride. There's about 15 different Titans, with different skills, attacks and combos, which means there's definitely some that you will like more than others, but you'll never get to keep one for long. In order to ride a Titan, you must first hit them until you stun them(Gauged by  6 green stars that appear over them when you hit them), and once they are dazed you can press the circle button to ride them, or if you leave them dazed for too long, they'll die. There's a rather small issue with this, when you are left with Crash on-foot against more than one titan, it becomes frustratingly impossible to deal with them. Y'see, Titans will pursue you at the same time, and while you hit one of them, the other will hit you. Sure, you can block the attack, but while you are blocking, the Stun gauge on the other Titan will decrease, leaving you at an impasse that will most often than not end with your death. At least when you respawn, whatever you had killed remains dead and you can now try to get the attention of only one of the Titans and stun him.

 The game is downright gorgeous, environments are beautiful and characters look great. The camera is so pushed away that the only times you'll get a good look at Crash is during cut-scenes, but whether you like the redesign or not, the fact that the model looks great is undeniable. As for the stages, they are fairly creative, and going through them is fairly enjoyable, the stages set on the Giant Tree being a good example of how good stages in the game can look. Music... tries to imitate the style of the older Crash games, but it never manages to reach their level, personally, I think the Twinsanity-styled music would've suited better. Voice acting is another strong point, while a lot of the jokes fall flat on their face, the deliveries are strong.

 A lot of people probably wrote off the game as soon as they saw the redesigns, I know I did, and the few videos I had seen seemed lame, but after playing the game first-hand I can say that it's a very good game. You know it did something right when my biggest gripe with the game is that it doesn't feel like a Crash game.
 7.0 out of 10.

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