Hey guys! Video games! I play them on occasion! Even sometimes blog about them! Like right now. Thus, it is my pleasure to present to you yet another Fire Emblem blog where I talk in explicit detail about the myriad of systems in such a way that only people who play the games would understand and... what? You say the title isn't about Fire Emblem? Oh. Oh right. 3D platformers. But first, as per usual, other things.
At some point between this and the prior (Fire Emblem-related) blog, I finished Saints Row: The Third. Normally I'm not really a big fan of GTA-style games, but Saints Row's weird, absurdist sense of humor is such that I didn't really mind that the shooting and driving were merely competent. I'm going to echo the rest of the Giant Bomb crew when I say you should play it, even if that means just beelining through the main game and avoiding the side stuff. I hope the next game similarly delivers, though it's going to be hard to top the raw levels of balls-out absurdity that is present in this one.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a video game. No, really. It's a video game. I'm several hours in, and that is the overwhelming sensation I get. The combat is quite fun, but everything surrounding it is... kinda stupid? The amount of pure lore dump that goes on is just astounding, especially since it's all tell and no show, thus giving the player zero incentive to care. Also there are like a billion quests and the game falls into the zone of “Single-Player MMO” pretty hard, though unlike the other games I have derisively used that term for (Divinity II), I don't think Amalur is a bad game. I hear the faction questlines are the ones to do, so maybe I will focus on those. Maybe that way I can finish the game before school starts and I undoubtedly lack consistent access to a Xbox. Because all those great PC games I'm playing can wait?
Speaking of PC games. I'm totally going to finish Icewind Dale II. Mark my words. Sure, the game actively tries to make me disinterested with its aggravatingly terrible sense of pacing, but I'm totally almost to the end of Chapter 5. There are 6 chapters. I CAN DO IT.
If you want that copy of Vampire the Masquerade, I still have it. PLEASE TAKE IT.
And now, your feature presentation:
It's not unfair to say that a good chunk of my early gaming was courtesy of Rareware. There was quite a bit of Banjo-Kazooie, Donkey Kong 64 and Diddy Kong Racing played on my N64. And while this could lead to some awkward confessions like “I didn't 100% Banjo-Kazooie until I played the XBLA version” or “Yo, I still never have beaten DK64” (both of which can be blamed on the fact that I was 6 or 7 when those games were relevant and liked deleting my own save files for some reason) this also leads to me unsurprisingly saying that I never played Conker's Bad Fur Day, as I didn't start playing M-Rated games until long after that game became expensive and hard to find. Oh wait. It's still stupid expensive and kinda hard to find. I don't care if they censored more of the swearing and changed the multiplayer, I figure that paying significantly less for the remake is a respectable trade (especially since the selection at my local Play-N-Trade is otherwise quite dire), though I'll probably end up obtaining the N64 version out of some ill-conceived sense of wanting to fill out my N64 collection to something resembling definitive somewhere down the road. For posterity. Or something.
With context out of the way, let's talk about what the game actually is. To say that Conker's Bad Fur Day is fundamentally different from something like Banjo-Kazooie would be an exaggeration, as it's still a 3D platformer in which you platform n' junk. There is an ill-advised swimming section at one point. Also Lava. The difference lies in the structure, which is far more linear. At no point did I have trouble not knowing exactly where to go or what to do, which leads to the game being noticeably shorter than the rest of its ilk. Not that that's a bad thing. You never really do the same thing twice, which is a welcome relief from the challenge barrels of DK64 or the shooting segments of Banjo Tooie. If I have any distinct fault with the gameplay, the camera is kinda tricky in the way that N64 cameras are tricky and the emphasis on shooting in the lategame leaves something to be desired. Even with Nazi Teddiez.
Of course, it's impossible to really emphasize what makes it different without getting into the tone. Conker earns its M rating easily. Banjo-Tooie definitely had its share of innuendo and double-entendres, but BFD is all of that brought to the forefront. Be it rolling around a giant ball of poo, fighting a giant singing poo monster, pooping on villagers as a bat or even peeing on flame demons to extinguish them, it's fair to say that scatological humor plays a significant role. Also violence and the occasional movie parody, with the best and most notable being a reenactment of the D-Day scene from Saving Private Ryan. There's also that part where they make fun of The Matrix, which I'm sure would have been less totally dumb in 2001, when bullet time or making fun of The Matrix wasn't as played out as it has been for the last decade or so. The thing is, most of it still works. The humor is gleefully offensive in a way I can get behind, and it also helps that there is a lot of dialogue. Like, a lot. And most of it contains copious amounts of swearing. And the voice acting is goofy and amateurish in a way that works with the characters and dialogue presented. Also you fight a giant singing poop monster.
I can't really emphasize that enough. If that does not appeal to you, then do not play this game. And yes, I am aware that the word "shit" is censored. Once again, don't care. Honestly, that's all that can be said without getting into weird specifics, and if we wanted to get into weird specifics we could talk about Fire Emblem again. Or maybe Tear Ring Saga, now that a translation patch is out. Point is, this game is pretty good and I can now claim to have played all 4 of Rare's N64 platformers. It's not my favorite, obviously Banjo-Kazooie has the benefit of nostalgia, but I'm glad I finally got around to it.