The first Crash Bandicoot 4, released shortly before the arrival of the new console wave, is set to arrive shortly on PlayStation 5 and Xbox series machines, but Activision is curving with the simultaneous release of the Nintendo Switch port. I threw it. The arrival of this release is good-Crash 4 is a worthy successor to the original trilogy that feels loyal to its roots while offering some new ideas along the way. Far from perfect, it’s a solid platformer shining on the new host console.
This work is limited to PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch only. Support for the series is planned, but it’s not easy for publishers to distribute smart delivery codes to journalists if the title is already published. I hope it will be dealt with soon. Still, the PS5 and Switch are an interesting combination in that Crash Bandicoot 4 can be seen through the system’s lenses, but both are powered by Unreal Engine 4.
To evaluate the upgrades and changes in this new version of Crash 4, let’s briefly summarize the Xbox One and PS4 results. Enhanced Pro and OneX rendition users provided the best experience with frame rates reaching 60 fps, both limited to 1080p, the same as the vanilla PS4, but the Xbox One S played games at 900p. Delivered. The base version looks fine, but it works at unstable and unlimited frame rates.
In terms of image quality, the PlayStation 5 version improves this as expected by jumping to 4K rendering, but dynamic resolution scaling shows a slight dip below that. However, Switch offers a very different visual experience. In docked mode, the average resolution ranges from 720 to 792p, while portable is close to 540p and in some cases below that. Most dips seem to appear in more demanding cutscenes. However, Unreal Engine’s temporary upsampling capabilities capture data accumulated from previous frames and integrate with the current frame to provide a much higher level of fidelity.
But what else has changed with the PS5? Well, the visual receives a sophisticated extra touch. The details have been slightly improved and all the issues observed in the original version have been resolved. As you can imagine, it looks great. Load times are also dramatically faster, but they may not be as fast as games built from scratch for your system. It also has 3D audio that becomes available with headphones. But perhaps a more interesting story is how the game was pushed into the Nintendo Switch.
It’s running at half the frame rate, but it’s still a recognizable game. There is an upper limit of 30 fps here. This takes precedence over the standard PS4 and Xbox One unlocked alternative games. Similar, but with many cuts. First and foremost, dynamic lights are actively culled on the Switch. As a delay renderer, this usually doesn’t regain much performance, but it’s more difficult because the switch is very bandwidth-limited. This applies to everything from additional scenery lights to large flashes under the influence of a storm. Basically, most of the time the lights are drawn very close to the camera, but in other particular sequences they are completely absent, especially in cutscenes.
Second, the mesh details are totally reduced. However, the changes are smart and don’t necessarily have to be addressed except for a direct comparison. This is a smart optimization to reduce geometry throughput. The shadow resolution has also been significantly reduced and the shadow map details are lacking. This is another wise choice and is usually one of the first visual features to shrink on less powerful hardware. Beyond this, the quality of the water rendering will be degraded and the surface will not distort the underlying object. Texture details are also reduced. Again, this is expected with the huge difference in system memory in mind.
However, the unexpected and unfortunate thing is that post-processing effects such as motion blur and depth of field have been eliminated. I know motion blur can be a bad lap, but the object-by-object implementation is perfect for this game and is very much overlooked at low frame rates. Of course, all of this sounds like a lot, but I think the developers did a great job overall because the game holds the visual signatures you expect. It’s obviously a step down from other versions of the game, but it’s done wisely. Even loading isn’t half bad. It’s certainly not as snappy as the PS5, but it’s comparable to other versions of the game.
I mentioned this earlier, but the main difference between docking mode and portable mode is in image quality. It looks sharp on a portable screen because it doesn’t seem to have a temporary path docked, but it’s more sparkling. It’s an interesting change in that sense, but it works well in this case.
Performance is mostly locked at the expected 60 frames per second on the PlayStation 5, and frame rate drops are mostly limited to cutscenes. So it’s noticeable, but it doesn’t affect how Crash 4 plays. The switch, on the other hand, can be limited to 30 fps, but the results are very consistent. Performance irregularities typically occur in the form of a few frame drops and 16ms spikes. The frame pacing is incorrect. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen on a regular basis in normal play. This is also a UE4 project, so I think you’ll see it when you convert Tony Hawk’s ProSkater 1 and 2 when you arrive at Switch. Returning to Crash 4, Portable Mode behaves as if it were docked. However, if you have performance issues with your full power experience, these will scale when you play games on the go. However, except for these short sections, it’s still 30 frames per second, which is pretty stable.
Overall, it was really fun to go back to Crash 4 and the ports to both ends of the hardware spectrum are handled properly. PlayStation 5 brings out the aesthetics of CG cartoons and makes them look good, but at a basic level, it solves all the issues that occurred in the original release, runs more consistently, and is console-specific. Some upgrades will be added. The Switch version is just as good as any other equivalent conversion. It makes the expected cuts, but maintains the appearance and consistent execution of the part even when the frame rate is halved. The important thing is that this game is a lot of fun to play. It’s not a symbolic return for the franchise, but it’s well worth seeing if it’s the latest and greatest game or if you’re playing with Nintendo’s own console hybrid.