I was very excited for Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time. When the game came out I wasn't expecting it to be so difficult. Not in the 'die a whole bunch of times' way, but in the completing kind of way. I could get through the levels in the game fine, but actrually getting every box? That wasn't happening all that often. I replayed the first few levels until I did get all the boxes, but then I decided to just play through the story and worry about that later. I also had absolutely no plans to even attempt to get the N.Sanely Perfect Relics. The fact that there are people who exist that actually got those is amazing, but I do not ever plan on being one of those people.
As I was playing through the game, the levels got significantly harder. There is a death counter in the top right corner, and that number kept getting higher for each level, but it wasn't anything too bad. I was still trying to get all the crates in each level, but if I failed I wasn't planning on redoing the level, I just wanted to see if I could get them in one playthrough of a level. It was still a rare occurance, but the times when I managed it were really fulfilling. Then I got to an ice level with a section where you ride on a polar bear. When riding the polar bear you can't stop moving forward. The only control you have is moving side to side, jumping, and speeding up. There are a lot of crates to break in this section, and I was fairly confident that I had all the crates so far, so I went for it. This might have been one of the hardest challenges so far in the game. Anytime I missed a box, I would send Crash and Polar off a ledge or into an enemy so that I could try again to get the box. Since this was the first time with this playstyle in the game, it took a little bit to get used to the controls, so I missed a lot of boxes at first. By the time I got through the whole section with all boxes broken, my death counter was somewhere over 50. That was hard, but it was worth it, as I managed to get the box gem for that level.
Then the next level also had a Polar section, and I once again thought I should try for all the boxes. Once again, my death counter was above 50, but I did not get the box gem. That wasn't enough to deter me, but it was at this point that I new that going for all the gems was just not going to happen. In every Crash game before this one, I had gotten all the gems. I always found the challange of doing that a lot of fun, but this game very handily told me no. I was still planning on finishing the game of course. I was still having a lot of fun playing through it, but the frustration of those last two levels was enough to make me basically give up trying for gems.
The levels were still increasing in overall difficulty, but it wasn't anything I couldn't handle. I was quickly approaching what I thought was the last boss. The story was reaching a climax, the levels were getting agonizingly difficult, this had to be the end, right?
It wasn't the end. I don't want to spoil the game, but I thought the game was about to end a few times, and it kept not ending. More game wasn't a bad thing, but levels were just getting harder and I was reaching the end of my patience. Around this time I got a PS5 and got a little distracted by Demon's Soul's and might have stopped playing until a few days ago.
The theme for Band of Bloggers this month was Unfinished Business and Crash 4 was unfinished business for me. I wanted to see the game through to the end. The last time I had played I had unlocked what could only be the last world. Seriously if they managed to go another world past this one I was going to be upset, but thankfully they didn't. This was the end of the game and it was HAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRD!
I was dying 30-50 times each of the four levels. It took over an hour of play for each level, and it was getting draining. I was having fun, but I was also getting frustrated. I kept dying in certain places for reasons that couldn't have been my fault. Most of the deaths I accrued were absolutly my fault, but a couple of time the game physics just decided that it was my time to go. I remember specficially there were two fire crates that served as platforms. They spewed fire at specific intervals that required me to jump on the bottom one just before it started and just as the top one finished, so that I could safely break both and move on. This was in a bonus stage and I had done it enough times that I had the timing down pat. Just one time though, I jumped on the bottom crate and it didn't break. I broke the one above it and then fell on the flame that really shouldn't have been there since I jumped on the box and it should have broken, but it just didn't. And I died.
I finally got to the actual last boss in the game. The game gave me an option to fight the last boss and finish the game or to play a Cortex level. I don't really enjoy the Cortex levels, I am sorry to say, so I just went and fought the last boss. The last boss was a lot of fun, the ending funny and rewarding, and I was finally done.
One of these days I want to play through the game and at least unlock the costumes I missed. There are a lot of them and unlocking them doesn't sound like smacking my head against a brick wall over and over like some of the other challanges in this game.
Crash 4 is a fun game, but wow the developers went a little too far in certain areas. N.Sanely Perfect Relics are actual torture under the Geneva Convention and some crates are hidden a little maliciously. That said, the game is great to play casually if you aren't worrying about completion of gems. The story is charming and I really like how it ended. Heck, even the credits are funny. I'm glad I pushed myself to finish the game.