Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Brief Look At Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts And Bolts

I couldn't hide my excitement when the original trailer for Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts And Bolts was first unleashed into the wild, with my face being covered in one big massive grin. I watched the very short trailer five times in a row because of this excitement, but in hindsight I also wonder if it was because I couldn't believe it was happening. A new Banjo, two generations on from the last game Banjo-Tooie? Yes, please.

That trailer just announced the game though and no actual information about it was revealed. As more trailers, previews and the like came to fruition, people started to get an idea of how the game would play and well, a lot of them were disappointed. As soon as the vehicle-based gameplay was revealed people immediately jumped to conclusions and became very skeptical of it, having their interest and anticipation in the game wane while they complained on forums about it not being "Banjo". Perhaps they were right to do this, perhaps not, but I refused to get involved and decided to take a step back from it all and wait until I had played the game before deciding what I thought of the new direction.

The decision was a good one, with the game being a lot better than the vocal community would have had you believe on the lead up to its release. It was different, yes, but it still retained the old Banjo humour and charm that was present in the two predecessors. I actually believe that while flawed, the new vehicle direction the game took was a good move on developer Rare's behalf because if they released a game similar to those before it I dare say it would have gotten stale fast. I have my reasons why I feel this way and will outline them in a future post, but for now let me just say that I am definitely pleased with Rare's decision to go down this path.

Catchy tunes including remixed versions of tracks taken from the previous games; vibrant and colourful graphics and the aforementioned Banjo humour all combine to make a game that is laid-back in nature but can be quite complex if a player wants it to be. Unfortunately it can be frustrating, especially with a reliance on building vehicles to suit a particular challenge but the good far outweighs the bad.

Wow, so much for brief impressions. As is obvious from this post, I am quite the Banjo-Kazooie fan so I suppose it is no surprise that this post ended up being longer than I originally planned. As with my previous two posts, more in-depth thoughts of Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts And Bolts is on the way so stay tuned for those and for tomorrow's post on another game I have been playing recently.


Joseph Rositano said...
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Joseph Rositano said...

You already know how much I love the Banjo games. Nuts and Bolts was, in fact, the game that pushed me to finally purchase an Xbox 360 last year.

The thing I love the most about it is the freedom players have - they're only limited to their imagination. When I first started playing I needed to use Humba's blueprints because I just had no idea what I was doing. I slowed down though and took the time to learn the basics of how the vehicle builder worked. After that, I started building all sorts of things.

I am disappointed however people didn't give Nuts and Bolts the time of day. Most looked at it, saw it was nothing like the N64 outings, and just ignored it. I walked in with an open mind though, I knew it would be different so my expectations for a fun and wacky adventure were met.

In all honesty, with games such as Gears of War 2 and Resistance 2 being popular over the holiday season last year, Banjo was a fresh breath of air.

Scott Juster said...

Although I haven't played the new Banjo game, I'm glad to see it seems to be developing a kind of "sleeper hit" status.

I was turned off when I realized it wasn't going to be a platformer, but on further reflection, it's probably for the best: It's always nice to see a developer try something new. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!