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In-Depth Banjo-Kazooie Review & Analysis

Posted: Thu May 21, 2015 6:42 pm
by Veegie
Hi all! Like most people here, I grew up with the Rareware collectathon games. While I'm definitely looking forward to Yooka-Laylee, I felt it would be a good idea to step back and re-examine the "big three" (so to speak), those being Banjo-Kazooie, Tooie and Donkey Kong 64, from a more critical and analytical perspective. I finished the first of these a few days ago and felt I should share it, so here it is:

My review and analysis of Banjo-Kazooie! Fair warning: It's 45 minutes long across two parts, so grab a snack or something.

Re: In-Depth Banjo-Kazooie Review & Analysis

Posted: Thu May 21, 2015 7:44 pm
by Yavga
I'll watch it tomorrow and let you know what I think of it ;)

Re: In-Depth Banjo-Kazooie Review & Analysis

Posted: Fri May 22, 2015 8:08 pm
by Yavga
Very nice intro, Your voice is easy to listen to and goes in total sync with the gameplay you are showing.
From that point it is clear that this is a well done review.

The intro is indeed very well performed, as you say. being able to skip things or learn them it's all up to the player. This also continues in the first world Mumbo's mountain. The pace is steady and the rocky path in this level is really convenient as it leads to the first move you'll learn. Climbing steep slopes, which can be used to progress further in the main area.

At 8:00 you mention that the animation of obtaining a jiggy is rewarding in the beginning. But after 70~80 jiggies is becomes 'dull' and according to your calculations it takes (from this point on) ~5 minutes of gametime for all those animations together. I never really experienced this as dull, I think because Jiggy's are the main collecting pieces it stays rewarding to the very end. deserving of the small animation. Which implies you've just 'accomplished' something good. Especially because around ~80 jiggies you're probably seeking out the last jiggies / the more challenging ones that were missed. It adds character to the game.

Putting the bull at the very beginning of the level annoyed me, but then again it kinds intrigued me, I think I stood around for half an hour trying to kill that thing, it was a nice target practise and also an easy way to learn how to avoid being attacked. Giving the player a chance to practise evasive movement at their own pace.

I agree on the mumbo token part, needing all tokens in the first level before being able to get introduced to the transformation magic was not the best way to introduce this mechanic. (seeing that in other levels you needed less tokens as you say)

On to the notes, only when leaving the level you are being told you can not collect them further but rather... You'll have to collect all of them again. An oversight yes, but to new players in this game... they couldn't care less when they just started the game. They weren't planning to get them all in the first go anyway. That's a challenge you'll tackle later.
Many people will disagree with me but I think this all adds to the challenge and difficulty of the game.
You'll have to get them all in one go, failing to find several can be frustrating but then again gives a chance to pick up a piece of paper and start jotting down hints for yourself where to find them the next time. Making it that more rewarding to get the 100 note streak. Alsom it gave players a reason to come back to a level.

Treasure trove cove was a step up from Mumbo's mountain, with the path splitting in 3 ways, giving the player a choice to explore. This was done right. Also you mention that in the beta you basicaly could fly from any point on, but later the flight paths were introduced. I agree that it is better this way.

Camera control was done right, like SM64. With a few additions, which made it even better. It felt less 'digital' then SM64

I totally agree on the part where you talk about how this game satisfies as 'platformer' without using many traditional platforming elements. Only in a few instances these are met (Clanker, Rusty Bucket Bay engine room) Still I remember this is also something I wished to be more in the game, the thing that I liked about SM64 more. Challenging gameplay that is. Yet in the end Banjo-Kazooie was very VERY enjoyable experience.
and you're right on the part where you say that this this kind of gameplay that BK utilizes invites the player to keep on the move, without coming to a complete halt to plan things ahead. This was the case in SM 64, where by making mistakes in control you were punished more. BK manages to feel much smoother on this part.

Hazardous terrain... A minor issue you have with it is that while coming into hazardous terrain for the first time the player does not know this for the first time. As there is no indication of this. Well... I couldn't care less :P It's fun to be surprised once in a while and by making this mistake once you'll definally don't make this mistake a second time. I think Rareware did this on purpose, as they added a small speechbubble for every hazardous type of terrain. Basically inviting the player to make this mistake only once, I mean... a swamp's a swamp, if I were to find a swamp in real life I'd watch out. Not everything has to be straightforward from the beginning.

I agree with the transformations, they fell a bit short. They could have been deepened a little. I remember thinking this after I've completed the game.

Colour utilizing was a strength of this game, agreed.

So far, part 1
Bottom line:

I see you've really taken your time making this review, congratulations :) You did very well and seem very devoted. I like your review! While I do not agree on every point, you noticed things that I never thought about in the first place. Only now do I know how much time and effort is placed in everything.
About your last statement about Banjo and kazooies colors: You say that because there were 3 primary colors in the character design(Brown), red, blue, yellow) In every level one part stood out. I think you're right there.
But seeing Yooka-Laylee now (Purple, red, green) how do you think this will work out?

I will watch part 2 tomorrow and let you know how I think of it :)