We’re just under a month away from the October 2nd release of Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time – or are we? If you preorder a digital copy of the game (past or present) and feel like you can’t wait that long, fear not because you’ll gain access to a two level Demo – one Crash and one Cortex – starting September 16th. But consider that an appetizer for this week’s main Crash 4 reveal! The final playable character, Alternate Universe Tawna, has been revealed along with some new details about how these alternate levels and N. Verted Mode will work!
So let’s take a look at the PlayStation Underground gameplay reveal and break down/ recap everything we learned!
An Alternate (Universe) Way to Play – Tawna:
Tawna might not be joining Crash and Coco on their adventure; but at least we’ll get to tag along for Tawna’s. In both design and backstory, this is a very different Tawna than we’re used to seeing. Between her wall jumps, strong kicks and grappling hook, it’s certainly easy to see why her gameplay style is described as ‘action hero’. This is Tawna from an alternate universe where (it’s strongly hinted that) Crash and Coco died. As such, she’s had to learn to fend for herself, and now that she’s found another Crash and Coco, she will do everything she can to make sure they’re safe.
It’s interesting how each additional playable character doesn’t only have his or her own playstyle, but also their own motives/ roles in the story – or rather outside the story. As we learned in this reveal, each playable character (besides Crash and Coco) will have an intro level of sorts to introduce each side character’s gameplay mechanics. Then, the remainder of their levels largely take place in and around the main story – always intersecting and having repercussions, but never being a direct part of it. Cortex’s levels will of course be him trying to hinder our favorite Bandicoots. Tawna on the other hand will be their guardian angel. Dingodile meanwhile will be somewhere in the middle – a sort of chaotic neutral bystander of sorts off doing his own thing.
New N.Verted Mode Details:
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about the new N.Verted Mode for Crash Bandicoot 4. Though with the reveal of all the other playable character stages as well as Flashback Levels – which I initially considered to be ‘endgame’ in terms of challenges – N. Verted Mode took a little bit of a backseat for me. Yes they were brand new ways to play existing levels and offered fun new challenges like playing with game speed or lighting; but nothing seemed too drastic with the examples we’d been given. For the most part, they seemed like fun and silly alternates as opposed to full on challenges. To me, the hardest N. Verted Mode variant seemed like the one that took place in almost pitch darkness. But even there, nothing seemed like it would be beyond what our muscle memory could handle. . . until this week.
At first, I thought this was a completely unique level, but then they revealed that this sprawling underwater level was actually an N. Verted version of a (non-underwater) level we’d see later in the footage. And that’s when I found myself conflicted. On one hand, this gave a much better illustration of how crazy things could get in N. Verted Mode and I was excited for the challenge. On the other, this isn’t just a slowed game speed. The level plays as if you’re actually underwater, which also greatly hinders the visibility in addition to reaction time. Sure mastering the baseline level might help you know what’s coming next; but any muscle memory you developed along the way is only going to hurt you. What at first seemed like a fun replay now looks to be just as challenging as the Flashback Levels!
Actually, yeah! This all makes me even more excited and – dare I say it – I might even try to Platinum this. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’ll have a better idea once I get to try out the demo on September 16th and get a feel for these characters. So stay tuned for my thoughts and impressions on that!