Monday, 17 November 2008

Eurogamer Expo: Banjo Kazooie Nuts And Bolts

I've had a long history with Rareware. Having played Donkey Kong Country, Donkey Kong 64, GoldenEye, Perfect Dark, Conkers Bad Fur Day, and both the N64 Banjo games, it's safe to say I've had enough experience with the developer to assume that they know what they're doing. Which is why it almost physically pains me to say that I hate them for what they have done.

Playing through those games as a child was glorious; memories I will hold dear to me until the day I die. It's why that when they moved to Microsoft (bear in mind that I was a Ninty fanboy up until recently) I was actually okay with it, going on the fact that they've given me more than enough joy through Nintendo; it's someone elses turn.

That's a precarious rope of fail you're walking there Banjo.

But this? 'Nuts and Bolts'? This I am not okay with. I could say that it's a good thing, I don't particularly enjoy the 360 and if it gets this then it's quite fitting. But regardless of who has to play it, Banjo should not look like that. It's like he's made of Lego, or clay, and someone has just forgot to round him off; he should be smooth. Bears don't have edges. You couldn't balance a cup on a bears head, but I guess for Banjo we'll make an exception! Ugh. Screw you Rare.

...But enough of my pedantic anthropologic jabs at it's visual style, onto the demo.

I hated it. And yes, that could be because I spent most of my time leering at Banjo and not doing anything else (heck, the video speaks wonders) but surely if the gameplay was good then I would've been drawn into playing it more? Okay, so maybe I picked it up in where it was in the middle of nowhere when someone left the booth, and fine, maybe the buttons on the controller I had weren't exactly working and if we're being really nit-picky it was a demo. But none of this stops me from saying 'This isn't a Banjo game.' I'm sure the full game or the even the demo in some cases succeeds in other areas, what's it's supposed to be; a game where you're a bear with a bird in your backpack and you create vehicles for mundane tasks. I'm sure if I went to it expecting that I would've had a blast.

But I expected Banjo. And if you're game is under the Banjo moniker, I'll damn well compare you to what Banjo should be, and that is a refined, quirky, powerful platformer. Instead what I got was a platformer in theory, but with so many mechanics take away from it to make room for building stuff that it became less of a platformer, but more of a twisted version of Driver, where the only difference is that you've got fur and you have to build your vehicles before you drive them. Which is why, for this demo at least, I hated it.

For those of you who want to create cars and haphazard trashcans as a bear/bird duo, the game's already out for the Xbox 360. Try not to have too much fun.



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