Picnic Comments

  • The rise of Sackboy, the mascot PlayStation has been searching for

  • Picnic 09/11/2012

    My initial impression about Sackboy is that this was a 'softening' of gaming icons. It looks like Mr Bean's teddy bear basically, a comfort blanket for adults who could or should have grown up. What did a console with the PS3s power want to do with such an image I asked - was it denying what it was on the back of seeing that the public liked some of the simpler looking pleasures of the Wii?
    But, having played the game, it is different. It's not everyone's cup of tea, not something you might play every day but you wouldn't want the console to be without it as it's such a good example of the difference between last generation and this one. And Sackboy is only a Sackboy initially. He has so many costumes and haircuts and hats and things. But if you love him looking just like an optimistic sack I now understand because that's what we all to some extent are underneath it all.
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  • SSX Review

  • Picnic 28/02/2012

    @Ace-Reject Well play the demo because you can't tell in screenshots or video clips but I thought that it was just average. It didn't grip me in the way that 1080 Avalanche's effects did. I suppose that I favour speed over tricks. Reply -1
  • Picnic 28/02/2012

    It's getting lots of high scores but I played the demo and I realised that I played something very similar 9 YEARS ago- 1080 Avalanche on the Gamecube (if you look at 1080's screenshots you might think that the game only came out relatively recently because its art style was so well done).

    If your main concern is an 'arcade' kind of experience, you might prefer to just play your Gamecube because, really, as far as I'm concerned these updates are for people who care about having more and more tricks at their disposal each year.

    Based on the demo, I much preferred playing SSX Tricky than SSX. At least Tricky had over the top arcade environments to match the garish neon outfits.
    SSX just felt like 1080 Avalanche, only SSX has less sense of being a focussed racer game, less sense of speed and more neon outfits.
    Reply +1
  • Remedy discusses Alan Wake 2

  • Picnic 14/02/2012

    @spacedelete Possibly because they never planned on making a sequel so didn't nercessarily plan on making a third game either. Also, the sequel didn't apparently sell as well as might have been expected but it was a very competitivve period in my opinion around 2003/2004- there were a MASSIVE number of sequels released. And also perhaps only the Fun House massively stands out as being very different from the first game. And there was an amaeteur 'get people in from the office' aspect to the first game that was endearing and that perhaps even had the effect of making the game feel more real compared to the second game when they got professional actors. Reply 0
  • Who Killed Rare?

  • Picnic 13/02/2012

    @floppylobster I'm also of the opinion that Banjo Kazooie was a peak- just the right blend of feeling epic whilst still being manageable. Once they started aping a more 'collect lots of stuff adventure game' focus as Tooie and Donkey Kong 64 did I think that they overencumbered their games with its own weight. Conker was more streamlined but a bit of a novelty gross out game added on to platforming that was either too tricky to control or too overhwhelming in size for the vulnerable Conker sprite- personally, I wish that they'd stuck with the cutesy 'Twelve Tales' idea which looked a lot more energetic. And then the Xbox Conker cover image was an out and out war mongerer- Why Rare? There are loads of studios doing that stuff.
    After the water treading Starfox Adventures (which I see as might as well being regarded as a dry run for Kameo), I saw Grabbed by the ghoulies almost as a partial return to form in its old school atmosphere. And I quite liked Perfect Dark Zero's shiny, arcade game, feel, even with its odd difficulty curves and curious dialogue (but I can see why it is an acquired taste). But if Banjo on the Xbox360 had been a more or less standard 3D platformer as suggested by the original trailer then it could have been a system seller for me. I admire the vehicle idea and the concept of the level designs but it looks too much like hard work to actually play, like the Xbox360's Little Big Planet. So now I wonder why Rare were given nothing more than the task of making a copy of Wii Sports rather than being given Kinect Adventures (which was great without them anyway- at least River Rush was) or some other game to really get their imaginations in to.
    Reply +1
  • Heavy Rain

  • Picnic 20/12/2009

    If the Dreamcast hadn't been discontinued relatively quickly, maybe we might have seen games like this on the Dreamcast or Dreamcast 2 (it's a great name for a console so I'd have stuck with it)? Sega were innovating with games like Seaman and Jet Set Radio and with Shenmue (which I haven't actually played) it seems that they explored having a game based on interaction and some everyday scenarios rather than relatively constant action.

    There have been some 'different' games on the PS2 too of course but the PS3 seems to have less such games.

    Alan Wake may be the closest equivalent for Xbox360 players.
    Reply 0
  • The Last Days of Dreamcast

  • Picnic 24/05/2009

    Still alive- there are still games being made for it, such is its legendary status. Reply 0
  • Half-Life : Dreamcast

  • Picnic 24/05/2009

    'Should the game make it out before the end of the year (which is a sure thing)'

    Oh dear.
    Reply 0
  • Banjo-Tooie

  • Picnic 09/05/2009

    I bought the N64 version of Banjo Tooie only 2 days ago and received yesterday. As it is, possibly with some exaggeration, regarded as a 'rare' (and not just a 'Rare') game, it cost me several times more than Banjo Kazooie did. However I have played most Rare platformers and wanted to play this to compare it to Banjo Kazooie, even though I knew that Banjo Kazooie would remain the better game. Sure enough, in the short time so far that I have played it, I am definitely in agreement with xandaca.

    The first of Rare's 3D platformers, Banjo Kazooie is more akin to their last, Conker's Bad Fur Day, in a way than it seems to be to Banjo Tooie. Not in terms of its characters, setting and tone, obviously, but in terms of keeping the game relatively tight. Donkey Kong 64 and Banjo Tooie seem podgier around the middle and more gimmicky with more different kinds of item to collect.

    Banjo Tooie seems more like it wants to be an adventure game that happens to have some platforming to it. If Banjo Kazooie wanted to be like Mario 64 (and BK was better than Mario 64 in my opinion) then Banjo Tooie seems to want to be an irreverent Ocarina of Time with perhaps a touch of in-joke type Paper Mario humour.

    Banjo Tooie has longer cut scenes to seem to want to try to make you emote with the characters and situations but then is also completely irreverent towards to those chararcters. I would say that a lot of the first game's charm was the level design but I'm not convinced that Banjo Tooie believes in that so much.

    The first Banjo Kazooie game was like playing in all your favourite bedtime stories which were linked by an ingenious hub world that made it clear what you needed to get past certain doors- or you could explore a few other avenues if you wanted without ever getting too off the beaten track. Banjo Tooie's hub world doesn't initially seem quite so bewitching. It has closed doorways, guarded or unguarded with no immediately clear solution except for testing if the other characters you can control (Banjo and Kazooie's abililities thus seeming to be regarded as relatively mundane by the games designers, even though a bird in a bear's backpack is an adorable idea) fulfil the unspoken criteria needed to pass. That makes it less platform game in spirit, more adventure game. I'm still not sure if there are going to be any self contained worlds like the first game. Banjo Tooie seems a bit less lovable than the first game, although I have already noticed some nice graphical effects such as shadows and a reflective floor.

    I reckon that the first Banjo Kazooie is the best N64 game Rare ever made and if Banjo Tooie is 7/10 (and I hope it turns out to be more as I play it) then Banjo Kazooie is still 9 (or, arguably, 10) out of 10.
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  • EG meets Konnie Huq

  • Picnic 23/12/2008

    I am concerned about what Konni Huq said about product placement. Maybe she only meant that she hinted at specific brands for the fun of it. But subliminal advertising is against TV rules. It wouldn't matter so much if it was one of the commercial channels but this is the BBC who piously claim to be above the need to advertise and so, instead, tax us to watch TV- ANY TV, regardless of whether we ever watch the BBC or not.

    Just because the BBC doesn't allocate slots for direct advertising doesn't mean that it doesn't plug products. But the fact it does makes the licence fee an arbritary, and arguably unfair, tax. I wonder if some people at the BBC have made quite a bit of money from some unofficial arragements- or official arrangements.
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  • Fable II Post-Mortem

  • Picnic 10/12/2008

    In the UK, where I am, 'Post-Mortem' is generally only used for the meaning of a medical examination of a dead body. As it's not the subtitle of the game, did the game die at retail?

    (You learn something new every day. Another meaning is 'An analysis or review of a finished event' which is similar, in a general way, to the other definition).
    Reply 0
  • Twenty years of the Mega Drive

  • Picnic 30/11/2008

    Despite being host to Super Mario World and Donkey Kong Country, the SNES is beaten by the Megadrive to me. As a platform game fan, Sega's machine had had the edge with all those great Disney games. Loads of people harp on about the arcade conversions of games like Altered Beast but what about the best of the Disney games- Castle of Illusion, Quackshot, and the top 2 to me: Aladdin and World of Illuison. Aladdin is cartoon perfect whilst World Of Illusion is just a beautifully made, mysterious, charming game- everyone should play it. There have no better Disney games made since. Reply 0
  • Silent Hill Homecoming

  • Picnic 30/11/2008

    Surely one of the first rules if you want to make a really great game is don't put the following words in the title:

    1. Zero
    2 Origins
    3. Homecoming
    4. '4' (well, apart from a few games eg Resident Evil 4- although I prefer the remake).
    Reply 0
  • Jaffe blown away by God of War 3

  • Picnic 25/11/2008

    Looks like I'm the only one who objects to his use of a certain swearword when he is making a public statement. I'm not saying he's necessarily a bad person as a result but I question his intellect and if there are questions about the intellect of anybody in his position, those are serious questions. Reply 0
  • Banjo-Kazooie

  • Picnic 25/11/2008

    I didn't buy an N64 until after I'd bought a Gamecube (and I got what must have been one of the last brand new N64s in shops at the time too for only 50, including Mario 64 as standard).

    Unfortunately for Banjo Kazooie, I actually played Conker's Bad Fur Day (and, I think, Donkey Kong 64) first and so BK's first world, Mumbo Mountain, did initially feel like one of the lesser platformers on the PS1 by comparison. I found it a much harder game to start with- I had no idea what the things I was collecting did.

    To cut a long story a bit shorter, it has since become apparent that Banjo Kazooie avoids the excesses, in different ways, of Donkey Kong 64 and Conker's Bad Fur Day and is a beautiful, well designed game. The more self consciously 'funky' DK64, whilst sporting some great mini games and the memorable mine cart section, had you repeating your same tracks with 5 different characters and its desert level that gave a deja vu sense of Banjo Kazooie. Conker's Bad Fur Day may have refreshingly dispensed with most collectables altogether but its darker tone and gross-out humour makes it an acquired taste.

    Banjo Kazooie, on the other hand is entirely like a great fairytale, like a collection of great surreal bedtime stories- wicked witches, treasure islands, journeys under the same with giant whales/sharks, haunted houses, getting lost in the woods etc.... But it also has a sense of some kind of groundedness eg Rusty Bucket Bay. It takes the Mario 64 idea of jumping into paintings and gives them a better twist- you create a picture using jigsaw pieces but, brilliantly, you don't do anything as obvious as jumping into the picture- it simply opens up a door elsewhere, sometimes close by and sometimes quite a trek away.

    The worlds are all found around the witch's lair whch is a complex level in its own right. To access certain areas that contain the entrances to those worlds, you must reach more than a certain amount of musical notes the amount being your best number collected in total from all worlds you have accessed. But you don't only need to collect musical notes in each world. you need to collect the aforementioned jigsaw pieces, 'Jiggies' as well. You don't have to collect every single one but, as level progress, it becomes evident that to reach the later stages, you may need to replay earlier ones.

    I didn't play Banjo Kazooie with any sense of nostaligia clouding my mind as I played it about 5 or more years after it had been released. In some ways the experience sometimes feels like it could have been expanded, e.g. Mad Monster Mansion itself could have been bigger inside. (in some ways the castle in Conker's Bad Fur Day fulfills this desire). It can be annoying missing a musical note when you are swimming down a tube in Clanker's Cavern (that actually seems like design rather than accident as in Freezeezy Peak Banjo is forced to jump over a section of a slope, making it necessary to go back up on foot).

    There's something about the way that Rare were getting to grips with the N64 that makes this game their most charming N64 game- the way that the sharks (that are thankfully not overused) in the game appear out of nowhere makes them more mysterious. Mysterious is a good word to use about Banjo Kazooie and is summed up in the great idea of Click Clock Woods, that you must play the same level in different seasons. Maybe it seems dated to some but I see a lot more timeless game here than Super Mario Sunshine turned out to be, although Super Mario Galaxy looks very, very good. It's a Dream of a Project indeed, worthy of at least 8/10 even now- I'll still give it 9- perhaps it's playing it on the Xbox360 that diminishes the experience- much better to play it on the N64 surely despite (or perhaps because of) some graphical differences. How can a fly accidentally crashing into a more see through Rare badge look as good as the old one? How can 'Microsoft Game Studios' surplant Nintendo in the opening section when the game was derived from the Rare/Nintendo spirit of invention?
    Reply 0
  • Sony responds to lacklustre LBP sales

  • Picnic 19/11/2008

    Vorlon man said:

    "It's just I dont think the general public, outside the Wii audience, is really ready to start playing core platforming games again. We've grown up, we play deep RPGs, complex and viceral shooters, and thro ourselves into hi-octane racers."

    I think that your fisrt sentence is true. I think that your second sentences implies that it is not grown up to play platformers and that platformers cannot be complex. From the very British surreal brilliance of Manic Miner and Monty on the run on the Spectrum 48k and Commodore 64 to the British inventiveness of Rare's output on the N64 such as Conker's Bad Fur Day, these games have clearly been labours of love- Rare's games were epic and clearly had a lot of thought in them.

    I would say that the vast majority of people are not clever enough to realise that some platformers have ingenius level designs, puzzles, satire and a sense of magic lacking in many games. If those aren't adult qualities then I don't want to be an adult. And I'm 30.

    I have a problem with 'Sackboy' being a mascot. He's a really tatty, cheap looking teddy bear. I know that he probably symbolises the patchwork approach that the game has but he still isn't cool. I'd rather have clean cut characters like Sonic the hedgehog or Nathan Drake.
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  • Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts

  • Picnic 18/11/2008

    Why is it a well deserved failure, Microshaft? 80% average scores- quite good. If Rare had done the relatively easy option of making a next-gen game very similar to the N64 games then it would have probably still got 80% averages for being solid but relatively unambitious. As it is, they've made a game that divides people into feeling disappointment and giving strong praise. Who are these people feeling disappointment anyway? If they like old school platformers, they won't have ever been satsified by any Xbox console in any case. They'll have been satisfied by the Wii. The chances are that the really disappointed people are those who haven't played a platformer in a long, long time, who have now wondered where their youth has gone and want to hang on to something that they could perfectly experience by playing an N64 in any case. Reply 0
  • LittleBigPlanet

  • Picnic 10/11/2008

    Sadly, the distressed teddy bear look of Sackboy is already regarded as somewhat iconic to some people. There is something inevitably depressing about the adoption of Sackboy as some kind of mascot. It's the equivalent of finding Mr Bean's ragged, rough, teddy bear cute. Look at the jet black shark-like eyes. Look at the stitching on Sackboy- he looks like one of the little zombies on Conker's Bad Fur Day yet someone far more insidiously sinister. Sackboy seems like the logical conclusion of a generation of gamers who increasingly bought violent games suddenly over-compensating for this by seeking refuge in the utlimate symbol of infantilism- the teddy bear. But even that must look distressed, patchy, unclean like so many war games that have descended upon the Xbox 360 and PS3 like a plague of armour plated locusts.

    If I could look past this, I can see that the basic idea of the game seems interesting and potentially great in execution, albeit a kind of evolution of Lemmings and various platform games.
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