wess's Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (Xbox 360) review

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Old meets new and creates something wonderful.

Banjo-Kazooie is a game that is near and dear to the hearts of many fans of the N64, so naturally, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts received a lot of attention.  What people may not have been expecting is that Nuts and Bolts holds firm very few of the standout characteristics of the old games, at least in terms of gameplay.  Of course the characters are all the same and the plot is similar, and it still has that crazy sort of silly humor, but when you really get down to what the game is all about, its a whole new ride.

And I'm not complaining at all about this.  The new deal with Nuts and Bolts is building vehicles.  In other Banjo-Kazooie games you accessed new areas and collectables by learning new abilities, but in Nuts and Bolts where you can get is all based on what parts you have aqcuired to make vehicles with.  You rarely spend any lengthy amount of time on foot, so building solid vehicles is a must in order to do well in this game.  This allows for a lot of player creativity to come through and really be rewarded, because this game will ask you to do some pretty insane things, and there is almost always more than one way to do it.  With it being such a creativity based game, and the fact that it is certainly no cake walk, this game can take some time to really get the hang of, but before too long you'll be busting out crazy vehicles and completing missions all across the game's varied worlds.

I think the shining accomplishment of Nuts and Bolts is that they give you challenges which require the you to be innovative, but somehow maintain a mostly correct level of difficulty.  It is an impressive feat, and I really believe that only people as talented as the folks at Rare could make something that works on so many levels for so long.  That brings up another point, which is that this game is not short.  It will easily run you 20 hours if you want it to, possibly longer.  All in all, Nuts and Bolts is a stellar package with familiar characters, humorous storytelling, well executed, creation driven gameplay, and large areas of content to explore and master.  Compared to many current games, you get a lot more bang for your buck here, and if you're like me, you'll enjoy it just as much or more than most everything else.

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