Review – Conker: Live and Reloaded

4 05 2007

Conker probably hasn’t been your favorite video-game character, most likely loosing to Mario or Sonic. Though his first appearance was as a cute squirrel racing along friends in Diddy Kong Racing, he was dramatically changed to fit in his own Bad Fur Day. Five years later [the original game was launched in 2001], he’s back to allow that same thrill to those who hadn’t the chance to check the Nintendo 64 game.

Live and Reloaded starts by stunning you with the graphics. If you remember what the Nintendo 64 game looked like (and please do check out a few screen-shots if you don’t) Live and Reloaded is just simply eye candy. The game was launched for the Xbox and sometimes when I play I still get the feeling it’s not far off from a 360 game. Conker’s fur is amazing and all the environments are well detailed. You’ll be amazed with the cutscenes and the reflections. This remake gives you the feeling they actually remade every ounce of graphical detail and it deserves its merit for that.

The story couldn’t be better. After all Conker’s biggest appeal is the story with all of its suggestive themes and movie spoofs. By uniting all sorts of cute characters that seem to be in the wrong game a mixed story is made up when Conker drinks too much at a bar and has trouble finding his way back home. All sorts of themed “worlds” come into play and Conker does it all, including using a shotgun to blast hungry zombies, using a cute dinosaur to eat angry cavemen, and peeing on fiery demons. Although you won’t get to experience a novel worth of characters and events, Conker’s goal is too treat you in a way games have never done before and create mixed feelings (all in a good way) with all the minutes of cutscenes to be watched. You’ll understand why this story is an experience that doesn’t rely on time…as you’ll always laugh at Conker’s controversial personality along with Matrix, Saving Private Ryan, Terminator, and many other moments.

The sound is pretty much OK. That means it does the job, but doesn’t have anything especially fantastic about it. The music in the background isn’t especially noticeable, but the sound effects are good and have a few points that stand out. You’ll hear Conker panting when running for his life and you’ll be amazed at the voice-overs from other characters. You get the feeling that sometimes the dialogue seems a bit too spaced, meaning it’s one line, brief pause, and then the next, but it’s not enough to detract from the gaming experience.

The gameplay is as okay as the sound. It does what it has to do: provide a decent gaming experience where players don’t get frustrated on the account of the controls or other game elements. That’s what exactly happens, though two things caught my attention: the camera that’s used when Conker draws a weapon and the fact that sometimes the floor seems slippery. An over-the-shoulder camera is no problem; but when it makes you feel imprisoned it’s bad. Conker’s standard camera would’ve been the best option for the whole game, except for the shotgun part where you do have laser sights. Other than that you wouldn’t need a different camera to see if your bat would hit an enemy or not. Jumping difficulties on slippery floor is something most platformers have had for a long time. The fact that you can’t jump when you’re really near to an edge and fall to certain death, is something that proves to be pretty annoying. Years of gaming have taught us that you’re supposed to get the most out of your jump and to do that you must wait to last second of your run. Here the rule doesn’t apply and although it doesn’t happen all the time; when it does, you get that dumb look on your face. Thankfully Conker’s focus is the story, therefore it’s life and continue system is pretty forgiving. Not to mention that when you die for the first time you get to experience a unique conversation with Death.

I haven’t tested out the multiplayer via Xbox Live, therefore I can’t tell wether it’s good or bad. I have tested it offline and it seems to be fairly interesting battlefield-ish take involving war between the Tediz’ and Squirrels’ coalitions. What I do notice is that the unique multiplayer modes from the Nintendo 64 game were taken out. Those were different and fun games where players got play in different scenarios and objectives. Hence the Heist, where the objective was to fill your safe with money bags by stealing from the other players. It’s sad to verify that these modes are no longer here.

Overall…Live and Reloaded is an excellent experience especially because of it’s story and single player mode. Since that was also the main attraction in the Bad Fur Day, there’s not much point in returning unless you’re feeling nostalgic and want to check out Conker’s remade fur. Don’t get me wrong it’s some gorgeous eye-candy, but not enough to justify buying the game.


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