Coco is a Fully Playable Character in Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
Ben Sheene / Jun 13th, 2017 No Comments
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is a few weeks away but at E3 2017, Activision and Vicarious Visions unveiled one surprise they’ve managed to keep a lid on since news of the trilogy was announced on Sony’s stage last year.
Coco Bandicoot, Crash’s younger sister, is a fully playable character across all three games in the trilogy.
Coco in the Spotlight
Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back is the first appearance of Coco in the original trilogy but she functions more as a companion and story element. Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped allows players to control Coco but in a limited capacity. In the game she is playable only during riding and racing levels, which are a departure from the platforming of Crash-centric levels.
Vicarious Visions showed off a handful of levels at a pre-E3 event held by Activision. Orient Express, the first level of Warped where players control Coco, was shown off with its N. Sane upgrade. This demo was the first time I have been hands-on with the N. Sane Trilogy and I’m definitely impressed with the amount of polish.
Riding The Great Wall of China on Pura is crisp and tight, just what I expect from one of PlayStation’s original flagship franchises. For old fans, it will be hard not to feel right at home. For newcomers, there is a level of visual polish and personality that should draw in those who are curious what all the fuss is about.
Playing with Personality
Gameplay then shifted to a level frosted with ice. This gave Vicarious a chance to speak more about integrating Coco into the the Trilogy. The initial takeaway is that Coco does not control any differently from her big brother. The team spent enough time crafting and recreating the feel of Crash without the original source code and limited level architecture.
Instead, Vicarious wants to flesh out Coco as an actual character with a personality rather than a simple palette swap. Coco has more grace than Crash and this is exemplified in the way she locks her hands behind her back and appeared to skate across the ice.
Carrying her pink laptop, Coco represents an attention to detail that has sparked the debate as to whether the N. Sane Trilogy is a remaster, remake, or somewhere in between. Death animations are spruced up while keeping the original’s fun and cheerful spirit.
After falling down a pit, Coco’s shoes comically fly up from the void. Instead of spinning with her hands like Crash, she spins with her feet, adding a pink blur to her attack. Instead of a body slam, Coco uses a leg drop to crush enemies. Along with a host of idle animations, Coco is less a tack-on and more of a new way to enjoy a classic.
Adding Some Flair
The classic boulder level (the one featured in Uncharted 4) was also shown off by the team. Coco’s face expresses worry as the boulder nears her and gets humorously flattened if rolled over. While the original PlayStation was certainly no slouch, it’s a bit magical and rewarding to see the flourish 20 years of tech can add to Crash.
Nothing drastic has been altered from the original experience but Vicarious updated the game with some quality of life improvements. Players can obviously save more freely instead of relying on memory cards of old. Enemies also telegraph attacks a bit better to help players recognize when they will attack or be open for a hit.
New lighting effects, textures, characters models, and cinematics allow the game to coast into the modern era rather than feeling ripped out of it. Especially worth noting is the remastered game soundtrack which has brought Crash’s music to life in a new way. Original voice actors including Jess Harnell, Lex Lang, and Debi Derryberry have also returned to record new dialog. The care going into the N. Sane Trilogy makes it feel like this is the same quality Naughty Dog would have used 20 years ago if the technology allowed it.
I asked Vicarious if their approach to integrating Coco could be applied to other Crash characters, such as a playable Neo Cortex. Of course the team is focusing on getting the game out and showing Crash and Coco as the stars. While those thoughts should be put to rest there may be a glimmer of hope to add more to the game if fans are demanding enough.
After all, isn’t that the entire reason the N. Sane trilogy exists? More than anything, this remake or remaster or whatever you want to call it plays like a labor of love aiming to reignite interest in a console icon. And if Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy does well enough, that new Crash game may not be far behind.
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tags: activision , Crash Bandicoot , Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy , e3 , E3 2017 , news , Vicarious Visions