Is This How a Remaster Should be Done?
The Crash Bandicoot N. Sane trilogy has just released, and it's all anyone can talk about. Coming with generally positive reviews, it’s setting a new standard for future remasters.
Vicarious had a large hurdle and challenge when announcing to do the original trilogy. Would it follow traditional remasters and just receive a HD lift, or would we get a complete remastering of the game?
What we got was how Vicarious put it: a remaster +.
So what is the end result, and does it set a new expectation for us as consumers when it comes to remakes?
When given the go ahead to work on this project, Vicarious was given all the codes to the original trilogy. This was to ensure that they could make everything as closely as possible to the originals. Taking these codes and using a modern engine, they began remaking the original assets of the first three games.
This meant they were essentially remaking the original game's foundation. Since it was technically the same exact thing, it still closely embodied the original, but they were also able to include many things that weren't in the originals: more detailed environments, and extended and beautiful draw distances.
Everything in the trilogy looks exactly the same, just with modern detail and lighting. Besides the games themselves, there was also the audio that had to be redone.
The music and voices in the remasters are splendid (and sound better than originals in my opinion). A lot the music is going to be nostalgic to anyone that’s played the originals, but yet again, it's not exactly the same. The music has had a bit of a lift, and each piece has been redone for this remaster splendidly.
The iconic boulder chase level has more pop to it, and will entice you to begin jamming slightly. The voice actors do a decent job, some more than others. Jesse Harnell returns for Crash, coming from voicing him off of Mind over Mutant, and Lex Lang returns as Cortex, returning to him from Crash of the Titans (does his voice splendidly I feel).
All in all, most the voice actors have done a previous Crash game, so they know their role, and it's usually the writing over the voicing. But coming from the original trilogy which were a little more barebones narratively, they do a good job. The remastered music is where the audio shines in this trilogy and it's amazing.
Of course the big aspect of the game is the gameplay. When remastering this trilogy, the question begged was: are they all going to play the same? Or have a new gameplay style? When the originals were made, Naughty made the gameplay around the platforming worlds themselves. This resulted in each Crash game feeling different when played.
Vicarious has taken the gameplay of Crash 3 and wrapped it around each of the three games. Yes, Crash 2 and 3 have new mechanics such as sliding and spin gliding, but the basic jumps of the third game now apply to all three. This may not sound informative, but if you're coming into this trilogy off a nostalgic bend, then you're gonna definitely tell there is a difference in the jumping mechanics once you start the original Crash.
It’s not bad, but has taken a lot of people some time to get used too. It does make it easier transitioning into each game, since the jump will be the same, but it's obviously different in Crash 1 where you can feel it needed a different jumping program.
One question that arises is: Is this how all remasters should be done now?
We are in a generation full of rehashes and remakes. We had a remaster of the Last of Us a year after its initial release, giving us a better presentation. Now this month we received a remaster of the original Crash trilogy from Playstation, which is about 20 years after the original Crash was released.
Both remakes had a ground up complete remastering of the games themselves, overhauled music and voice acting, and tight gameplay carrying across all three. So is a completely redone gaming the way remakes should be done? Or should developers just make the game look prettier and try to pass that up as a remake?
Vicarious has made a remaster that is more than a just a reskin, which is how all remasters should be handled from here on out. Developers shouldn't just throw a new coat of paint on and call it a day, they should begin following Vicarious’s steps. Studying what it is and was, dig into it’s file, remake the same exact thing with new details, remaster it audio, and tighten up the gameplay overall. This is how you make a remaster in my opinion.
Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments down below!