previewed on X360
Giving Banjo a make-over
When a company announces a sequel to one of their most popular franchises, it’s pretty obvious what to expect: A graphical overhaul here, a new multiplayer mode there, a few more moves and levels and that’s your lot. When developer Rare showed their teaser trailer for a new Banjo Kazooie game, the usual formula looked to be firmly in place, with both characters sporting a high definition lick of paint and the Jiggy pieces present and correct. Forums buzzed with anticipation for the bear and bird’s triumphant return to collect-o-thon based platforming not seen since Rare’s N64 heyday. But the fans forgot one thing: This is Rare.
Rare isn’t very good at being predictable. A few months on and Banjo-Kazooie 3 became Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts and with a new name came an entirely new style of game. A game with vehicles.
To understand how much of a culture shock this is, one must remember the core mechanic of the original two games. Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie both saw Banjo handling the bulk of the platforming work, navigating the various worlds in search of a wide range of collectibles – musical notes to open note doors, Jiggies to complete paintings to unlock new worlds, eggs, Mumbo skulls – the list was almost endless. Kazooie’s role was to obtain new abilities that allowed her to assist Banjo.
When confronted with an impassable slope, Kazooie could pop her legs out of Banjo’s backpack and use her talons to climb the incline while giving him a piggy back. If a ledge was too high, Kazooie could learn to fly to it. If Banjo was Samus, then Kazooie was every suit and beam upgrade you could care to mention.
Not so in Nuts & Bolts, as the focus is now on collecting vehicle parts that have essentially replaced Kazooie’s talents. At first glance, this could be seen as a horrible, shocking, game breaking development, but upon closer inspection, this innovation could very well make for the greatest Banjo game yet.
According to Rare, there are over 1600 vehicle components in the game, allowing for freeform vehicle creation with the only limitation to the gameplay being your own imagination. Take one early mission for example…
I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts
The task is to move coconuts from a garden to a vacuum unit in a distant field. There are many potential solutions to this task, three of which show the scope for open gameplay. Firstly, you could pick up each coconut, one by one and carry them to the vacuum unit, but this would be slow, no fun and result in a poor rating for the task. Another option is to create a truck with a trailer and vacuum unit on it that allows you to suck up four coconuts, trundle to the destination, then head back for the next lot. The third option is to create a flying vehicle with a magnet hanging below. This allows you to lift the vacuum unit and take it to the coconuts, thus completing the task quickly and easily.
Anybody with a love for creation will have their mind spinning at the thought of the possibilities within the game. The team has been hard at work testing the versatility of the creation tools and has managed to build many famous vehicles, from space shuttles, X-Wings, R2 D2 and even a working Death Star. Of course, starting the game with the right components to create such powerful craft would make it a very easy and short game and so Rare have wisely decided to make you work for your firepower and super-engines by completing platform style trials.