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- Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time was not only one of the best games in 2020, but it was also the strongest entry in the long-running and inconsistent series, even besting Naughty Dog’s original trilogy of platformers. But Crash 4 did lose out to those three classics in one major way: the load times, something that was nearly instant on the PS1. Booting into levels took far too long and turned hunting for collectibles into an onerous chore. But the Crash 4 PS5 upgrade solves that fatal issue by utilizing the system’s internal SSD, resulting in a more streamlined experience.
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Loading into a level on PS5 is approximately two-and-a-half to three times faster than it was on PS4. For example, most stages on PS4 take around 30 seconds to pop up whereas it takes around 10 seconds on PS5. The extra 20 or so seconds makes a big impact on the game’s momentum since 10 seconds isn’t quite enough time to grab your phone. The jump in load times between generations is not as fast as, say, Mortal Kombat 11’s upgrade or the PS5 version of Spider-Man: Miles Morales, but it’s in a decent spot for now.
And while the decreased load times would help any title, they’re particularly beneficial to Crash 4. Going through the game initially with speedier load times will obviously cut down on the waiting, but Crash 4’s focus on replayability and restarting levels makes the abbreviated load screens a game-changer.
The (faster) journey to 106%
Crash 4 has a lot of collectibles. Like a lot. On top of the four unique colored gems and 21 Flashback Tapes, each of the 38 regular levels has six gems, a Time Trial relic, and N. Sanely Perfect relic — a staggering list that sits on top of the 38 inverted levels that all have an additional six gems. That last collectible is, like its name suggests, insanely difficult to achieve and can lead to many, many restarts as players learn the optimal way to break every box without dying. But this is just one piece of collectible puzzle as relics require both speed and perfection and one of the gems only gets awarded for dying less than three times.
Perfection is required, which its sublime controls can support but not its previously awful load times. It’s hard to learn a path when there is so much tedious downtime between attempts. Crash 4 is an utter joy to play and that makes getting these collectibles worth it on paper since they give players a reason to keep playing. Platformers derive their replayability from collectibles more than most genres and Crash 4 was no different.
However, tediously waiting and waiting and waiting because of a missed jump can tamp down on that thrill and can make getting 106% a laborious task not worth doing, despite the game’s outstanding quality. And since platformers tend to thrive off their collectibles, putting such a barrier in front of those collectibles artificially made this game less replayable. Many players on the game’s subreddit have complained about this very shortcoming and some have even abandoned their platinum trophy journey because of it.
Only waiting around 10 seconds after a botched N. Sanely Perfect relic run or missed box makes that 106% more attainable (especially since players can transfer their PS4 saves) and lets completionists truly mine this game for all it is worth without the added annoyance of tiresome loading screens. Crash 4 looks even sharper on PS5 thanks to its 4K output and runs better, too, as it is now a consistent 60 frames per second instead of a variable unlocked frame rate. But these new load times, while still not instant, finally allows the game to realize its potential as a collectible-filled platformer by not putting truly N. Sane load times between players and that coveted full completion percentage.