Tuesday, 6 December 2011

IGNorance I - Kirby: Return To Dream Land

Yes, this is numbered. I expect the stupidity of IGN to become a recurring feature on this blog.
I'm keeping the music per blog thing. I like it. This one's more appropriate: Lava Landing...

I saw this review when it was first uploaded to YouTube a little over a month ago, and I was disgusted at some of the ridiculous comments and points made by Richard George in his review of Kirby: Return To Dream Land. However, given that I hadn't actually played the game, I reserved my judgement. But now I have...

I'm going to start with the score the game received. It got a respectable, but not great, 7.5. Shock! HORROR! Well, no. I'm actually in agreement of the score they gave. Return to Dream Land is not the most amazing game  ever created, though I would consider an 8... Anyway, it's their reasoning behind it that annoys me.

Ah! This is the one fans have been waiting
for. What? It's Kirby, not Mario? I'm sure
It'll be f***ing awful.
One of the points offered by the reviewer is that the games aren't as innovative as more recent entries in the series such as Epic Yarn and Mass Attack, because apparently taking a series back to its roots is only acceptable if the series in question is Mario. Savage hypocrisy aside, I'm struggling to see how this is in any way a valid point. The reviewer himself remarks that the Kirby series has had a downpour of artistic, unique titles in recent years, yet they don't see this as a reason to produce a more traditional platformer that specifically expand on and updates the gameplay that made the series great in the first place. No, a game that would appeal to people who grew up with Kirby, and new players with limited (if any) experience with the old console games is obviously a ridiculous concept, doomed from the start.

As for the game not being hard enough, since when was the kirby series EVER about difficulty? The only kirby game that has ever offered me any taxing challenges was the last few games on Super Star Ultra, which was admittedly really difficult. Does this mean the series is therefore bad? No, of course it doesn't. Games are ultimately about having fun. Kirby fills that purpose wonderfully, easy or not. It's far better than ripping your hair out in frustration every 5 seconds, and if that's what you look for in a good game, I feel sorry for you. 

However, this game isn't perfect. It falls into the same pit as New Super Mario bros in the sense that it's a little too conservative. There's not enough imagination here, and it leads to the game becoming boring after a while. There a 5 stages in each level, which is simply far too much. Well, it's nowhere near far too much, but there is nowhere near enough variation within the 5 stages. Squeak Squad and Epic Yarn really hit a sweet note in this regard, as, while all of the stages in an area followed a certain theme, they all had their individual identities. Here, the stages in the level feel more like one or two long levels, which is not a nice feeling. 

Does this look fun to you? Good!
 Because you'll be doing it A LOT.
The copy abilities could have had a bit more done with them. I was impressed with new ones such as Water and Leaf, and improvements made to Spark in particular, some of them are just not that great. Needle and Cutter (which seems to have been nerfed) stand out as being purely situational in terms of usefulness, and others, like Bomb, are simply not that fun to use. The ultra abilities, while fun, are one-note abilities, and there should have been more of them, or at they at least should have made the existing ones more multi-purpose. Ultra Sword may seem fun at first, and it is, but once you've spent three or four levels pressing 1 over and over to swing a sword, it gets boring.

The music isn't particularly memorable, or even much more than average. I'd like to say more, but I can't recall enough of it to comment.

While it doesn't make sense if you compare it to the perfect 10's games like Call of Duty receive, despite every successive game being far more of an uncreative, uninspired and unnecessary update than this game will ever be, Return to Dream Land's 7.5 isn't undeserved. However, when their reasons for giving such a mark are as incorrect and incoherent as IGN's, I'm finding it difficult to trust anything they come out with.

I love you Nick 

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