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8.5 ? Seriously? Aren't you exaggerating just a little bit gamespot?

I remember when I was a kid the first time I saw the game Banjo Kazooie for the N64. I thought it was the coolest game ever, and I was actually right, because even to this day, game developers look back at it and compare their own adventure platformers and ponder how they can make their own game reach the standards of Rare's Bear and Bird duo (if they can't reach Mario standards of course :) ).

Anyway, since rare is now working for Microsoft and seeing how I recently got my Xbox 360, I thought it would be fun to play all previous Banjo Kazooie games and the brand new one( this one) on my Xbox 360.

For those of you who don't know, Banjo Kazooie games are about a bear named Banjo who walks around carrying a backpack where he also carries his life mate Kazooie the smart-mouth Bird.

I downloaded the first Banjo Kazooie game, and it was just as I have remembered it, classic, I beat it in 7 hours or less. The seccond game Banjo Tooie, I didn't enjoy that much. It was still good, but it was over complicated. The levels took forever and sometimes I would spend more than an hour until I would find a single collectable. I guess the idea was to make the sequel more challenging. I should also point out that the Stop n Swop trick actually worked in this game.
Before I begin describing my experience with this (third) game, I'd like to point out that the basic idea of the first two games was to go from level to level, do various events and quests in order to obtain collectables.

In Nuts and Bolts, however, you do the exact same thing, except, you use vehicles. Yup, instead of walking around with Banjo and Kazooie while jumping, shooting eggs, flying and all that good stuff, you will simply jump into a car, boat and an airplane and do the same things you did in the last two games.
Before I get any deeper into the subject I should start this analyzing the story.

The story (if there is one) is this: Banjo and Kazooie, after not being in a game for over 10 years, have let themselves go and and are lazily resting in their house, when suddenly the Lord of Games appears, and scolds them for their inactivity. Seeing how he is the Lord of Games, he makes them fit again and sends them into his brand new AWESOME game, he created just for them. The game consists of getting Jiggy pieces whilst performing from simple to complex tasks (HOW ORIGINAL) by using vehicles. He even brings back Gruntilda, or at least what's left of her, to be the villain of the game.
Well that's the story. Hopefully the gameplay will be a little better...

The gameplay is simply this. You drive a trolley cart around town and enter levels that contain quests which upon completing earn you a Jiggy. The main town (hub) called Showdown Town is a very lively place indeed, it almost looks like a GTA town except with animal residents. You can drive your trolley around this town and collect musical notes, vehicle parts and secret stuff. When you enter a level things change slightly. You won't be able to do all (any) of the quests with your trolley, instead you will have to select or make another vehicle.
This is where this game shines. You have your very own garage where you create your own vehicle just the way you want it. It's as simple as making a car out of Legos. You put a seat, the body, an engine or two, a fuel tank and of course the wheels, and that's pretty much all the basics. The beauty of this feature is that as you progress through the game and gain more parts for your vehicle you will be able to let your imagination run wilder and wilder. If you want to create a rocket car, there's nothing stopping you. Big foot? You name it. A car that can fly, float and shoot lasers, YUP, this game has it all. And of course, after you make your vehicle, you can use to your hearts desire. How fun is that? Just wait...

Let's talk about the numerous quests in the game. Each quest can award you a single Jiggy and seeing how there are exactly 131 jiggys to collect thru out the entire game I think it's safe to say that we can expect a lot of various challenges. Right? YUP! You may be surprised by my statement because most other reviews state that this game is lacking in variation of quests, but the way I see it, that definitely isn't the case. You will have regular races, fetch missions, shoot offs, defending spots or people, shooting hoops with a basketball (from a vehicle), knocking out dominoes, driving with reversed controls, staying on the correct path, vehicle sumo wrestling (I'm not kidding), and many many more. So as you can see, variation isn't the problem.

The graphics are nicely pixelated and look fresh and cartoony. The music consists of remixed tunes from the previous Banjo and Kazooie games.

So why did I give this game a low score? What is the main feature any game needs to have in order to be successful? Fun factor? So is this game fun?

Yes it is, for about an hour or two, too bad you have to spend at least 20 hours until you beat it.

Like I said, there are various quests and challenges that you can undertake, but after a while they just STOP BEING FUN, and a game that isn't fun is just an empty shell without a soul.
So how did this game stop being fun all of a sudden? Well there are 3 main problems to why and here they are:

1. The controls - Good god, It's like the game is made from butter, Ice and floor wax all mixed together. The controls are so loose that even the most hardcore players can't help but crash at anything in their way. When you turn left or right, you risk you car flipping over, when you hit a mailbox with a car that's as big as a mountain, you will flip over. When you hit another opponent you might as well restart the challenge because your car can even fly to another dimension from the impact. To sum up, physics in this game make no sense. Either they are to extreme or too loose. The flying sequences work a little better but when racing on land, anything can happen, no matter how well you craft a vehicle.

2. The difficulty- I already stated that once you beat a challenge you earn a Jiggy. Is it hard to earn a Jiggy. Not at all, in fact it's ridiculously easy, even for little kids, but luckily, you can also win a T.T. trophy along with the Jiggy which you need to get even more Jiggys. To earn a T.T. trophy you usually have to do a challenge faster, and during the first few levels I was earning them without even trying. The problem arose during the middle when I needed more specific vehicles in order to do the challenges faster. So, I went back to the garage and made a new vehicle. The problem is that as you progress more and more, you will need to keep doing like this until the point to where you will need a new vehicle for every single T.T. Trophy challenge. Sometimes I thought that a challenge was impossible, until I crafted a vehicle that made it the challenge look easier than Fable.

3. The most obvious problem of this game is - WHAT THE HECK DOES ANY OF THIS HAVE TO DO WITH THE PAST TWO GAMES! This game is the equivalent of Mario putting on a power armor and going to outer space to hunt Goombas with a Spartan Laser. If it weren't for all the characters from the previous two games, I would have forgotten that I was even playing a game with "Banjo Kazooie" in the title. Why is it that you can't use feathers to fly, that you can't shoot eggs, that you can't fall asleep in your backpack and that you can't even punch anymore? It's all about the stupid vehicles that aren't even that fun.
I really loved it that at the end of the game, you got a quiz from L.O.G. after he said: "It wouldn't be a Banjo Kazooie game without a quiz".

YES, IT WOULDN'T BE A BANJO KAZOOIE GAME WITHOUT A QUIZ, BUT IT'S "DEFINITELY" A BANJO KAZOOIE GAME WHEN YOU DRIVE CARS, PLANES AND BOATS!!!!
Speaking of Banjo Kazooie, Banjo is the driver of all the vehicles right? So what is Kazooies role? Well, she has a magic wrench that can move objects around, which you don't use that often. This could have easily been done by Banjo alone, so I believe it's safe to say that Kazooie is just along for the ride.

There is also a multiplayer mode which allows you to race via split screen or co-op. So tell me, if this game has a grade of 8.5, why was I never able to find anyone online to race with?
Not only that, you actually have a marathon mode that includes 34 races for you to beat in one go. Too much, for you? Well, it's not a problem seeing how this IS A "GREAT" game!

In conclusion, this was a neat idea by Rare. The problem was that the controls needed some more polishing and that they chose Banjo and Kazooie to be the main characters. They could have made anyone else and the game would have gotten a better rating (from me at least).

My advice: if you have a creative mind, give this game a try, and you might like it. If you are a fan of the Banjo Kazooie series or not that creative, steer clear of this game, it's just not worth it.

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