September 21, 2019 at 10:52 AM #1550
Rating: 4.0 – Great
A Worthy Successor!
Summary: Yooka-Laylee is a spiritual successor to Rareware’s phenomenal Banjo-Kazooie series. Created by many of the same juggernauts that worked for the old Rare before Microsoft bought them and shunted them into the crummy Kinect sports niche. Despite the criticisms that it received, I believe that Yooka-Laylee is a worthy successor to the Banjo legacy.
Story = N/A: There’s not much to say here. Bad guy stole something of the hero’s and the hero spends the game trying to get it back.
Writing = 4/5: Andy Robinson did an incredible job in his first game. The dialogue feels right out of an original BK game. The comedy is golden. It’s kid-friendly, but it has enough injokes and other subtle adult references that people that grew up with the old Rare games will still get a chuckle out of them. If I had to detract a point, it would be because the Big Bad taunts you throughout the hub world, ala Gruntilda from Banjo. His taunts, while amusing the first time around, are quickly exhausted and begin to repeat. The game is very punny. Puns are the lifeblood of the writing. Luckily, it works. Like I said before, fans of old-school Rareware will love the writing style.
Gameplay = 3/5: I never got to play before the camera was fixed since that was a day one patch. Everything felt similar to the old BK games, but were different enough that it didn’t feel like a clone. There are points where it feels floaty, especially when rolling around. The boss battles were varied enough that each one felt different. The transformations were drastically underutilized. They could’ve been expanded on. Each one only has maybe one to three Pagies, out of 25 in a World, to gather. The Worlds are massive. They can be expanded after unlocking, which adds more areas and Pagies to collect. There are only 5 worlds not including the hub world. I wish there were more Worlds. I’d prefer the Worlds to be smaller and for there to be more of them.
Graphics = 4/5: Wow. Just wow. This game is beautiful. Of course, with Gavin Price at the helm, was there any doubt? While the game isn’t the most realistic-looking game out there, it still manages to look amazing. It fully embraces its cartoony image while still being stunning from afar. However, up close there are some issues that pop up. For example, I experienced pop-in of various objects and some textures failed to load.
Sound = 5/5: This is where Yooka-Laylee truly shines. Grant Kirkhope and David Wise are gods among video game composers. The sound effects are appropriately cartoony and exaggerated. The music is easily the greatest thing about this game. Kirkhope and Wise took inspiration from the Rareware of old and blessed us with an amazing soundtrack that evokes feelings of nostalgia from the fans of the classics. It sounds just like a Banjo game.
Conclusion: All in all, I love this game. Chris Sutherland and his crew did an amazing job recreating the magic of Banjo-Kazooie. I grew up with the old Rareware and was among the millions that threw a fit when they got Microsoft’d. The criticisms are valid and I agree with many of them. However, I still enjoyed every minute of my 40-hour romp through Playtonic’s first offering. I think that the main reason that this games was bashed on so badly was because everyone was comparing it to the Banjo games and not looking at it as it’s own entity. I 100%’d the game and am anxiously waiting for the DLC that Playtonic has planned.
Average Score: 4/5
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