This past weekend, I had the pleasure of playing Banjo Kazooie. The gameplay is a third person plat former, in which the player collects items hidden throughout the various worlds. The player has to use their own wits and intuition to find new areas and explore various parts of the world. While the player’s physical actions, do not heavy influence the play style of the game, since it is strictly played with a controller, although at times quick reflexes are needed as is precision. The controls are very tight and responsive. The player maintains good control of Banjo and the various moves have specific buttons or combinations that differ enough to give the player a variety of move options, and are simple enough to not be confusing.
Throughout the game, the player collects different objects, some common and that are easy to find, such as the Notes. Notes are usually out in the open, and do not require an extreme amount of effort to obtain. There are one hundred Notes in each level, although not all are required to progress in the game, but a certain number are needed. Other pieces are more difficult to find, such as the Jiggies. Jiggies are required to unlock new levels and are necessary to progress in the game. There are ten Jiggies in each level, which can usually be obtained after performing a task or finding a hidden area. This gives the Jiggies more value than the Notes and it feels rewarding to the player when a Jiggie is obtained. The more Jiggies and Notes that are collected, the faster a player can progress through the game.
This weekend, I also had the displeasure of playing The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. This installment of the series puts a focus on the Wii Motion Plus add-on for the Nintendo Wii. The gameplay has been changed from the standard button assigned attacks, to a system where the sword is directly controlled by the player through the Wii-Mote. The player can swing and move the sword in game just like they would in real life with the Wii-Mote.
While this mechanic is unique and innovative, it does not benefit the gameplay. At times the movement can be unresponsive, not moving to the way the player is moving. Other times, the motion required needs to be so precise, that it becomes almost impossible for the player to perform and match it. The type of control creates gameplay that is un-smooth and easily interrupted, at times making the gameplay much more difficult that it needs or should be. The whole gameplay can be frustrating, especially when accurate moves are required in quick timed events. For example, in a boss battle where the boss is constantly charging you in random patterns, and can block your attacks in almost anyway, finding the right direction can be tedious and often times the player is left in low health before the right direction is found. The Wii seems to not quite be able to pick up all the details from the controller, which hinders the gameplay for this title.