Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts review

Following up on the review of the original Banjo-Kazooie, here comes the Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts review. The question of whether or not it does the series justice will finally be answered... by me, right here, right now!

This is a Banjo-Kazooie game. Story? Really? Well, yes there is a small one, but who cares. I don't, not in the least, and the game is still damn fun. But since you might care a but more, I'll give you the rundown. Some crazy pong-faced guy named, “Lord of Games” has taken you and Grunty, and thrown you into a competition of sorts in a little world he's built specifically for this contest. The writing is pretty funny, and no doubt worth reading instead of just skipping over, but the overall story is just uninteresting and wont be your driving force to play the game.

The gameplay in Nuts & Bolts is quite original. It takes the familiar “shit-load of challenges scattered around a map” throws them in with some sandbox elements, mixes all that with old Banjo style, and holds it all together with a very accessible yet powerful vehicle creator. Yeah, its all about the vehicles this time around. You wont do one challenge on foot. While there is still some classic platforming in the hub world to complete small tasks, such as collecting notes, or getting new parts, most of your time will be in a vehicle. The controls in vehicles can be extremely frustrating, but it depends very heavily on how well you build them. In all honesty, your enjoyment will come from the vehicle editor in this game, not really the challenges. They just give you a reason to build new vehicles. If you don't enjoy the vehicle creator, you wont think too much of Banjo N&B. But for those of you who do, there is a full single player adventure, a interesting, yet not amazing multiplayer mode, along with split screen, and countless challenges for you to test your creations out on. Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts will either last you a very, very long time, or the exact opposite. The opinion on the game seems to be split right down the center, so just keep in mind going in that this game is for you creative people. You will have to build things, and you will have to be interested in building things in order to enjoy the game.

The graphics on Banjo N&B are just breathtaking. That's all there is to it. There is minimal pop-up, but it's quite hard to notice. Slowdown is also apparent in some water areas, but its pretty small, and it never got in the way of me playing the game. Besides those two gripes, you just cannot beat these graphics, color and all. Not just brown either. All of 'em. I know, unheard of. You have to see it to believe it. The draw distance, the art style, the textures, the color. It's all just so gorgeous. Nutty acres specifically, has a very cool view from atop its highest point. The fact that everything, even the clouds, are meant to be hand built, also makes things interesting. The full effect cannot be explained, you'll have to see it for yourself.

The soundtrack brings back some pretty good memories. For those of you who have played the old Banjo games, it's quite a treat. For those of you who haven't, its just beautiful music. It's a win-win situation. The tunes aren't quite as catchy as their N64 counterparts, but they're still very nice background music. The sound effects are pretty nice on their own, very cartoony, very silly, very Banjo. It all just works, and it works well.

Final Thoughts
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts is not for everyone. Like I said before, it all depends on how much you like tinkering with the vehicle creator. If this appeals to you, maybe try the demo, or rent the game. Hell, just buy it, it's only 40 bucks. But if vehicle creation isn't your thing, you may want to stay away from this one.

Overall Score: 8.5/10

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