Ask just about any Banjo fan their favorite game of the Banjo-Kazooie series and just about all of them will tell you Banjo-Tooie. But not me. Fuck Banjo-Tooie. Now, let me explain! Banjo-Kazooie, to me, was the perfect 3D platformer. Everything about it just felt so right. The controls were tight, the level design was fantastic, the collecting was kept to a minimum and managed to be enjoyable, and the worlds we just the right size. If I were to make a list of my favorite 3D platformers of all time you can bet Banjo-Kazooie would be on that list somewhere.
A couple years after Banjo-Kazooie came Banjo-Tooie, the sequel. It promised to be bigger and better than Banjo-Kazooie ever was. Well, it certainly was bigger, but better? I don't think so. And this becomes Banjo-Tooie's most glaring problem: it seems to be under the impression that "bigger is better". The levels in Banjo-Tooie are huge, that's for sure. But they feel like they're huge just for the sake of making them huge. There's no reason for it. Most of the levels are huge open areas that take forever to travel across. Even the hub world was far larger than it needs to be. Sure, the levels LOOK nice but that matters little when they aren't any fun to play through. Not to mention it's way too easy to get lost in the levels.
The Banjo and Kazooie separation gimmick got old fast. And it added too much shit to collect to the point where it felt like a chore.
Think I should give Banjo-Tooie another chance? That's the thing. I've tried. I have tried playing through Banjo-Tooie on at least three separate occasions. And each of them come to a screeching halt due to one level in particular: Grunty Industries. Grunty Industries has to have one of the worst level designs I've ever dealt with in a platformer. I constantly get lost, I never know where to go, practically every Jiggy there is a pain in the ass to get, and it's a world that is just so un-fun I lose any desire to play through the game any further.
I'm not saying Banjo-Tooie is a BAD game. The graphics are great, the humor is chuckle worthy, and the soundtrack is fantastic. But why Banjo fans consider THIS to be the pinnacle of the Banjo franchise I will never understand.
AND SINCE I'M FEELING CYNICAL, HERE'S ANOTHER GAME!
I had no reason not to believe Super Paper Mario was going to be anything less than phenomenal. How could you go wrong? The original Paper Mario and especially The Thousand-Year Door were some of the greatest RPGs I've ever played. The previews of Super Paper Mario looked amazing. Transforming into a giant 8-bit Mario and tearing shit up? Yes please! So you bet your keister when Super Paper Mario came out I had no problem slapping down $50 to play it. And what did I get? A Paper Mario game that was pretty... mediocre.
Now I'm not saying Super Paper Mario is a bad game because it isn't. But compared to the first two? Yeah, this one doesn't even come close. First off, while I admire what they were going for, the RPG/platforming hybrid gameplay does not work. It just makes the game come off as feeling confused about its identity. It doesn't seem to know what it wants to be. The NPCs are also some of the most ugly, boring, and poorly designed I've ever seen especially compared to the imaginative and great looking ones from previous Paper Mario games. The story is good but the writing isn't nearly as funny. You have no attachment to your party members who are reduced to boring squares and triangles with no personality to speak of. The game is also easy. Now Paper Mario has never been all that difficult but Super Paper Mario is insultingly easy. Is it even possible to die in this game? I don't think I had a boss fight that lasted any longer than three minutes and even that's pushing it.
And one of my biggest problems with Super Paper Mario? The "paper" mechanic is used horribly. In the other Paper Mario games the paper style added greatly to the game's charm. Mario would find hidden doors underneath a slip of paper, Mario could roll up or slip under doors, when you went to bed Mario slid underneath the covers--all these things are gone in Super Paper Mario. Instead they went for a more "techy" style that works poorly. You wouldn't even know it was a Paper Mario game if the word "paper" wasn't plastered on the cover.
I didn't hate Super Paper Mario but it has got to be one of the biggest disappointments I've ever experienced with a game. The only reason I haven't sold it is because I own the first two games and would prefer to have the whole series.
Day 1 - Very first video game.
Day 2 - Your favorite character.
Day 3 - A game that is underrated.
Day 4 - Your guilty pleasure game.
Day 5 - Game character you feel you are most like (or wish you were).
Day 6 - Most annoying character.
Day 7 - Favorite game couple.
Day 8 - Best soundtrack.
Day 9 - Saddest game scene.
Day 10 - Best gameplay.
Day 11 - Gaming system of choice.
Day 12 - A game everyone should play.
Day 13 - A game you’ve played more than five times.
Day 14 - Current (or most recent) gaming wallpaper.
Day 15 - Post a screenshot from the game you're playing right now.
Day 16 - Game with the best cut scenes.
Day 17 - Favorite antagonist.
Day 18 - Favorite protagonist.
Day 19 - Picture of a game setting you wish you lived in.
Day 20 - Favorite genre.
Day 21 - Game with the best story.
Day 22 - A game sequel which disappointed you.
Day 23 - Game you think had the best graphics or art style.
Day 24 - Favorite classic game.
Day 25 - A game you plan on playing.
Day 26 - Best voice acting.
Day 27 - Most epic scene ever.
Day 28 - Favorite game developer.
Day 29 - A game you thought you wouldn't like, but ended up loving.
Day 30 - Your favorite game of all time.