November 6, 2008

Banjo-Kazooie preview

After eight years (holy crap, its been that long!?) bear and bird are finally back again. I finally had the chance to play the game before its release next week and I have to say, I'm pleased. The concept for the game is really unique and innovative. Rather than having the old transformations to solve puzzles, you essentially create your own. In this way, there are literally hundreds and thousands of unique ways to complete a challenge. The portion I played was restricted only two a small portion of Showdown Town, the game's hub world, and a slimmed-down version of the first level. There was a considerable amount of customization to be had simply in this demo of the game.

Do not be fooled! This is still very much a Banjo game. Just about every important character and item remains from the days of old. Grunty's back, jinjos are back, notes are back, jiggies are back, hell, even Bottles is back (wasn't he dead?). As a fun throwback to the good 'ol days, the first level, Banjoland, is a mash-up of all of the two previous game's levels. Where the game differs is in gameplay. Showdown Town will largely have you traditionally platforming, but to complete challenges and earn precious jiggies, you'll need to build yourself a sweet ride. The game even encourages you to come back later to completed challenges and do them again when you have new vehical parts to break your old score.

So far, I'm enjoying the game. I like the new graphical style and the music is as awesome as ever. The level I played was massive, and that was only the first level! You need some sort of ride just to get around. The vehicle editor is very simple to use. It's like putting together legos. You simply stick pieces to other pieces. I expect the editor to become very deep once a plethora of parts become unlocked. Challenges themselves ranged from soccer, to racing, to fending off hordes of enemies. Nuts and Bolts is definitely shaping up to be a promising game, but sometimes I wonder how a new Banjo game would have turned out if Rare had stuck to the original formula. Regardless, there is something strangely addictive about the game that keeps me coming back for more. I'll have a full review soonish.

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