Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Donkey Kong Country Returns

Above: A serious mine furor.

My review of Donkey Kong Country Returns is up now at thephoenix.com. I'm starting to feel like a broken record with these rebooted Nintendo games. I like them, and can't deny the quality, but don't feel especially compelled to keep playing them. Often it seems like my complaints come down to "this game is too hard," but that's not exactly right.

Honestly, DKCR isn't that hard. You die a lot, but it's not stingy with the 1-ups, and nothing in it is insurmountable provided you put in a reasonable effort. What bothered me was its old-school approach to recording my progress. Which is to say: it didn't. In any given level, there are several goals you might try to achieve. Several times I'd successful pick up the K-O-N-G pieces, but die before reaching the exit. Then, I'd complete the level but miss one of the pieces. Of course, I could go back and try again. The game is expressly designed that way. But it doesn't mean I wanted to do it.

In other words, I enjoyed DKCR well enough to play through it, but not well enough to shoot for 100% completion. In some games, that might not be a knock, but in this case I could tell that I was supposed to. So I'll put it in the "good but not great" category, with the caveat that it's not my kind of game anymore, but it's probably yours.

Yep, these are the hard-hitting videogame insights you come to this blog for. Say, have you heard about this Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit game?

6 comments:

anotherdae said...

Pretty much tells me what I need to know about the game: Good but wait for the price drop.

multimediaculture said...

I felt that way about New Super Mario Bros. Wii. I played through it shortly after it came out, zipping through to Bowser and letting him drop the castle on himself. A few months ago I decided to play the game again, and I found myself having so much more fun with it - and I got 100%. I honestly never go for 100% in games, but I felt compelled. I'm beginning to think that some of these games by Nintendo are incredibly well made but are best put in the fridge for the flavor to set in a little more. That seems to be the best way for me to appreciate them.

Mr Durand Pierre said...

I may be the only one whole liked the co-op in DKCR. It made collecting the KONG letters relatively easy as one player could always kamikaze for one, while the other player stays alive long enough to revive them.

Also, while KONG letters reset, puzzle pieces don't.

I played through it co-op with my g/f, collecting all the KONG letters, then would go back for puzzle pieces in single player. I may have had a best of both worlds setup that way.

I was honestly very surprised how much I liked DKCR. I remember loving the first one back in the day, but hardly remember it at all and have no idea how it held up. I just got this one based off recommendations and because my g/f loves the series, though I'm pretty sure I ended up liking this more than her. It's nothing revolutionary at all, but I'll be damned if it wasn't one of this year's most pleasant surprises.

Definitely better than Majin though, amirite?

Mitch Krpata said...

I like the fridge comment. That's true with a lot of games, but it's impossible to factor it into a review.

Jeffrey, it's funny you say that. DKCR is objectively the better game, but I thought Majin was more interesting in a lot of ways. Even with its failures of execution, I appreciated what I got out of it a little more. Not that I could argue any of the criticisms you made in your review.

Mr Durand Pierre said...

I can understand that. I generally find myself drawn to games that are more interesting than polished (Nier and Deadly Premonition were especially big highlights for me this year and I liked Epic Mickey a whole lot more than most), but Majin just didn't do it for me. But hey, to each his own there.

I also can't argue with any of your DKCR criticisms (except the co-op one which I already did). It's not innovative in the slightest, but rather served as a reminder of why I loved these games so much in the first place. I genuinely felt like one of those kids in Retro Game Challenge while playing it (probably the one who isn't a time travelling, age-regressing game show host).

Gaming in Public said...

I was very shocked about how much I would love this game myself! I agree though that this game is to remind us of how awesome Nintendo was and still is with first party titles. The KONG pieces resetting totally annoys me but right now i am just playing the game through not for 100%. The controls feel natural and work well. It makes me feel like a child again shacking the nunchuck and wiimote to do a lot of the actions.