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N. Sane Trilogy - New Level + Fixes

Exciting news have been revealed during this E3, and there's no better way to get the conversation going than doing a trademark Crash Mania round-up, so sit back, get comfy, and let's talk about what's in store for Crash very soon.

The Future is Tense

Despite the lack of proper updates for the N. Sane Trilogy over the past year (besides finally giving the old Spyro cheat a purpose), support is still going behind the scenes, thanks in part to the recently announced multiplatform release. If you haven't checked any Crash news for months, it's worth noting that the game will be released on the Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Steam on June 29, marking the first time the original trilogy will be officially playable in some fashion on non-Sony platforms.

This is a great reason to celebrate, but it doesn't stop there. To coincide with the new releases, Vicarious Visions has developed a brand new level called Future Tense, which will be included for free in every version (including PS4, but I'll talk about the details in a just a bit). Technically speaking, this is the first new Crash level we've seen in years, and having something fresh to enjoy in this classic trilogy is pretty cool!

As the name suggests, Future Tense takes the futuristic city setting from WARPED for a classic on-foot Crash experience. The level will be immediately accessible as soon as you start a new game in WARPED, thanks to the addition of a new platform with a dedicated Warp Room. This means everyone can enjoy it from the get-go, but the level's nature will additionally reward players who've had some history with the game...

The design in this level isn't as unforgiving as Stormy Ascent (a level originally removed from the first game that made its way to the N. Sane Trilogy last year), but it's quite challenging in its own right, as completionists will need to make good use of Crash's super powers to find everything in the level. For example, some crates and switches are placed out of reach, requiring you to use the Fruit Bazooka and a little bit of planning. There have been reports of this level containing its own Death Route too, so it's not going to be a walk in the park if you want that second shiny gem. Logically, the new level will also come with its own Time Trial to enjoy (or dread, depending on how much of a perfectionist you are).

Interestingly, there are some brand new elements and obstacles in this level that you won't see anywhere else. You'll see some Lab Assistants hovering out of reach as part of the background which makes the level look a bit more lively despite the uninviting smog. Some returning hazards like laser beams can move, conveyor belts now run horizontally, and there are some peculiar rotating platforms acting as a very deliberate callback to a removed waterfall level from the first game, showing that Vicarious Visions has once again done their homework and is giving a shout-out to the hardcore part of the fandom. It's a nice touch that won't go unnoticed!

Oh, and that other DLC level from last year? Stormy Ascent is going to become free! Granted, it should have been free from the start, given that it's on-disc DLC, but hey, better late than never. If you never got around to playing it, soon you'll be able to experience this neat piece of Crash history.

Incidentally, if you're wondering which platform you should get the game on, there are a few things to consider. The Nintendo Switch, of course, has the benefit of being a portable console at the cost of a graphical downgrade (the characters lack the realistic fur and some of the lighting is a bit simpler, for example). However, on the Xbox One X, the game will run at a native 4K resolution (none of the upscaled stuff from the PlayStation 4 Pro). The Steam version will additionally run at 60 frames per second, provided your PC is beefy enough to meet the requirements. After all, those silky-smooth trailers had to come from somewhere, right? This leaves the PS4 version as a sort of middle ground as far as graphics go, but unless you really care about the extra resolution or frames, you'll be more than fine with it.

Fixes Are on the Way

Last year I made a few posts regarding some of the N. Sane Trilogy's oversights, and I've been not-so-secretly hoping these would get fixed someday, a feeling that was rekindled when Activision finally confirmed our suspicion of the game's multiplatform release. As I mentioned before, if there ever was a time for Vicarious Visions to give this collection an extra layer of polish, it was going to be now or never. I'm extremely happy to report that YES, they're fixing the N. Sane Trilogy!

The extent of these fixes isn't clear just yet, but here's a quote from Vicarious Visions as tweeted by JumpButton:

Shorter loading times are definitely a blessing, given that this is a legitimate problem for a game of Crash's quick session nature. At the moment, the games take considerably long to drop in and out of a level (and even longer to switch between games), so kudos to Vicarious Visions for whatever voodoo they're doing to fix this. The remaining fixes are still a mystery, but if they work out the issues with the bouncing distance and Crash slipping off platforms, the gameplay will improve tenfold and become that much closer to the originals. Personally, this is all I really ask for, but it will be interesting to see how many things I can cross off this list.

Those of us who already got the game on the PS4 can rest easy knowing that the original PS4 version will be patched, so you're not getting the short end of the stick if you were an early adopter of the bandicoot's long-awaited revival. The fixes and both DLC levels are already included in the other platforms, so there's no need to download a patch. Perhaps more interesting is the fact that there will be a reprint of the PS4 version with the DLC included on the disc too! According to an article by PS Nation, every new copy of the game from June 29 onward will have both DLC levels included and unlocked by default (look for the specially marked boxes), meaning you won't need an Internet connection to enjoy them. It's only reasonable to assume that these discs will also come with the upcoming fixes pre-installed (especially since the new level will be running on a newer, as-of-yet unreleased revision), though nothing's been confirmed yet. Either way, that's going the extra mile! Heck, if the new versions come with the fixes I've been hoping for, I might just grab myself a second copy to show my support.

In Short...

  • The N. Sane Trilogy releases on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Steam on June 29, 2018;
  • A new level called Future Tense will make its way to WARPED free of charge;
  • Stormy Ascent, the DLC level for Crash 1, will also become free;
  • The games are being patched to address some issues. Shorter loading times are among these fixes;
  • Every physical and digital copy for every platform (including PS4 reprints) will feature Stormy Ascent and Future Tense packed in. Both levels will be part of the game without the need to download them separately;
  • For current adopters of the PS4 release, an upcoming patch will install both levels after they're downloaded;
  • Presumably, the upcoming fixes will follow the same release format as the additional levels (packed in with new copies / downloadable for the current PS4 version);
  • The Steam version will run at 60 frames per second if your hardware is good enough.

Changing the subject slightly, maybe you're wondering why Crash Mania hasn't had any substantial updates in a while. While I'm here, let's close this off with how things are going for me and the site.

Updating Crash Mania

A lot of you have rightfully been asking where the N. Cyclopedia update for the N. Sane Trilogy is. Although I mentioned I would be updating the site less frequently from now on, the reason why I haven't added the new models is completely unrelated, as this is more of a technical difficulty. No doubt you've noticed how the N. Sane Trilogy makes heavy use of motion blur, and this makes it really difficult to get proper screenshots (and thus, decent model pictures). Lately, however, there have been some advancements regarding actual 3D model ripping for this game, and that might be useful if I can get the permission to use the respective tools or screenshots thereof. It's something I will look into. In the meantime, I've already added Crash's new model, and I'll be doing the same for some of the other characters soon, using some pictures found in one of the developers' web site. Unfortunately, I won't be posting the usual screenshots for these games until someone hacks the upcoming Steam version to eliminate motion blur (and that is still assuming someone with the proper hardware to run the games will volunteer to do this, as my computer's not powerful enough).

Naturally, once the new versions of the N. Sane Trilogy hit the shelves, I will be updating the game's overview accordingly. I just think it's the logical thing to do for a game whose developers put additional effort into after its original release. The current version of the overview will remain accessible for historical purposes, which is something I'll be doing for every other overview that might need a change or two.

There has also been a massive ressurgence of Crash merchandise that I've neglected to post so far, though that has more to do with a shift in priorities. Last month I had to update a lot of things behind the curtains (mostly due to the GDPR, or in layman's terms, the reason you got tons of emails from other sites about how much they suddenly care about your privacy). That only accounts for May, though. I've been spending the rest of my time on an entirely different project that has nothing to do with Crash. Normally I don't promote stuff here that's not related to this franchise, but since I'm bringing it up anyway, I might as well post a link to the web comic I'm working on so you'll at least know how I've been using that little extra time (and, of course, I'll be very grateful if you decide to check it out).

Shameless plugging aside, I've been thinking about adding the N. Sane Trilogy to the Record Book, seeing as how the official leaderboards have been hacked a few times anyway. I also haven't forgotten about the HD screenshots I promised for Crash of the Titans DS (I'd say I'm about halfway done with them). Knowing myself, I'll probably post them when you least expect. One thing's for sure, though: there is no shortage of stuff for me to update, and I think that's awesome in a way! If you're following Crash Mania on Facebook and Twitter, you'll know when the next update hits the site (or you can accept notifications when that new prompt appears).

Until then, have a great time with the soon-to-be-updated N. Sane Trilogy!

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