This review is only for the single player portion of the game. I haven't had enough time clocked into the Multiplayer yet to give it a score.
When Conker's Bad Fur Day came out on the N64 back in 01, it had the unfortunate luck to come out toward the end of game development. Nintendo had started promoting their next console, the Gamecube and this fact, coupled with the fact that Conker was retailing for an ungodly $70+ made many people miss this game. What a treasure it was to be missed.
It is the first game that meshed the genre of platforming with third person shooting. It also introduced context sensitive situations where, at the push of a button, different things would happen. Both of these have become old hat now, especially the mixing of genres. You can look at Jak and Daxter for the PS2 to find that. On top of revolutions of gameplay, this was the funniest game I have ever played.
And so it's out again on the Xbox, bearing beautiful graphics, re-recorded dialogue and some shifting of difficulties. The graphics in this game are probably some of the best, if not the best, seen in an Xbox game to date. This doesn't surprise me, though, given that Rare creates beautiful games. What did surprise me was how they toned the game down as far as difficulty goes. The original game was hard, downright frustrating in some parts. Now, Rare either tamed down the difficulty (as in the Saving Private Ryan level) or completely cut out a section (as in a sequence involving underwater travel and an electric eel used to power different generators). Both sections were insanely difficult and not forgiving in the least.
Part of the problem of the first game was the pacing at the beginning. Some reviewers here are misinformed when they say the game is not a "shooter" that it is a "platformer." The beginning levels are very platform heavy, true, but give it some time. It isn't until later stages where you are facing zombies and tediz that the gameplay focus switches to a shooter type from platforming. I enjoy both parts but it would have been nice to have a better mixing of the two genres. However, since this is basically a port of that game I'm glad they didn't change it.
Along with awesome graphics, the audio portion of the game has been completely redone. The dialogue has been re-recorded (using the same people), and the music has been redone to perfection. All of this in Dolby Digital surround.
Basically, my biggest recommendation for the single player comes in the form of what is in this game. Where else, for instance, can you fight the operatic Great Mighty Poo, hit a boiler plant in his brass balls, ride a raptor, bite a caveman in the ass with said raptor, lava surf, be a bat, ride in a tank, have bullet time, hit on a cavewoman, jump on a female flower's "petals," shoot zombies, meet Death, get drunk, urinate on Fire Imps and partake in many movie parodies? Honestly, the list can go on and on.
Then, on top of this wonderful single player game, a game I have played over and over on the N64 and will probably play over and over on the Xbox, is the Live portion.
I haven't played the Live portion too much but I think people will be divided on it. Especially the console gamers used to games like Halo 2. There are six classes that range from the bazooka carrying demolitionists to the airplane flying sky jockeys. Each character has their own weapon set complete with upgrades and special abilities. All of this in an arena that is objective based instead of simply death match based. This involves large arenas to play CTF and other games similar to this. But there's strategy involved not only in how to get the flag from point A to point B but also in the classes which opens up a variety of ways to accomplish your tasks.
For instance, do you have your sky jockey transport troops into the thick of things and provide cover fire? Do you have your Sneeker troops sneak in with their up close and personal melee weapons? Or do you rain devastation with your bazookas? There's so many choices for tactical strategy. Conversely, there's a lot of room for things to go sour. I think the quality of the people playing, not only in how they play but also in personality, will determine whether this Live experience will be a fun one or a horrible one.
The Live portion seems to be more in line with PC online games, like Counter Strike, where there's a little more strategy involved. Don't get me wrong, Halo 2 has strategy but if you play Counter Strike the way most Live people play Halo 2, you wouldn't last very long. And I think that same type of strategy will carry over into Conker's Live portion. I could be wrong. I hope it's very successful because Rare put a lot of time and effort into fine tuning it. We'll see.
Anyway, I look forward to seeing you online and I hope you pick up this game because the quality inside it shines. Look to Rare to lead the way into Xbox 360. Not only with Conker but in the games they have ready for X360 Launch. Thanks, Rare, for bringing Conker to a new generation of players who probably missed out of the game the first go around.