As I slowly inch my way forward through the 30 days’ worth of video game topics, I arrive upon a pretty easy one, a game sequel which disappointed me. One game in particular springs to mind, but since it is such an obvious choice, I also wanted to briefly discuss one of the biggest crimes a sequel can commit. For me, anyway. We’ll see if you agree.
The game in question is Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts. The issue: I really hate when a series completely forgets what made the fans care about it in the first place.
Lesser examples are Chrono Cross and Ni no Kuni II. Both are perfectly fine games, but they revolve around a whole new set of characters, so the emotional investment from the first game is immediately squashed. Another example is the complete change in gameplay from the lighthearted platformer Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy to the dark and edgy Jak II, which now has our previously mute protagonist wielding guns. While plenty of people liked the change, there are certainly those like myself who were not as pleased.
The most heinous example, however, of completely changing a game beyond all recognition was Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts. Though I already knew this game offered none of the original Banjo-Kazooie experience for which I so hoped, I bought it regardless, out of some sad desperation that my favorite series from the Nintendo 64 might yet be revived in this XBox 360 “sequel”.
But alas, as I played through this game, my soul died a little bit more with each passing day. And I can’t comprehend why it had to be this way. The argument Rare made was that creating another traditional platformer would have been too old-fashioned. I agree that games probably do need to update with the trends (I mean, look at how poorly Yooka-Laylee did), but that doesn’t mean a series needs to completely change, either. If platformers were so out of date, how come people still love Mario? Super Mario Odyssey is an example of an amazing, modern platformer that does not feel stale at all. Clearly there is a way to update and freshen up a franchise’s gameplay without completely changing its identity.
Banjo-Kazooie was fun in part because it revolved not around one character, but two, and how they worked together. I’m sure with the right amount of ingenuity, such a concept could be updated for the modern gamer in the same way that Super Mario Odyssey built upon the 3D Mario experience that started on the Nintendo 64. Mario’s ability to throw his hat on enemies and control them actually made sense because Mario already had a variety of abilities, such as the ability to fly or shoot fireballs. Now these new abilities are simply coming from the various enemies in each world rather than regular power-ups. In a similar sense, people who enjoy the Zelda series no doubt enjoyed the great sense of adventure in Breath of the Wild. In this case, Nintendo really veered off from what was expected, and it really paid off.
But I can’t really see how vehicles is the next logical step in updating Banjo and Kazooie’s natural abilities. I understand series have to change. I’m not saying Nuts and Bolts was disappointing solely because it was different. I’m saying it didn’t make any logical sense for it to be a Banjo-Kazooie game. I would have seen it far more positively if it was its own unique thing with its own characters and story. Truthfully, I wouldn’t have bought it because I don’t enjoy building vehicles, but it would have still been an interesting concept. But when you throw some of my favorite characters into a totally different game that did not seem to be intended as a spin-off, that’s the best way to lose me.
What about you, dear readers? What is a game sequel that you found disappointing? What is the defining factor that can ruin a sequel in your eyes? Don’t forget to comment below!
This post was originally published on Virtual Bastion on July 9, 2019.