Review: Rare Replay (Xbox One)
- Release Date (NA): August 4, 2015
- Release Date (EU): August 4, 2015
- Release Date (JP): August 4, 2015
- Publisher: Microsoft Studios
- Developer: Rare
- Genres: Everything
- ESRB Rating: Everyone
- PEGI Rating: Three years and older
Single playerLocal MultiplayerOnline MultiplayerCo-operative
Timeless offerings abound
Rare has created some of the most beloved franchises to date. From Battletoads to Banjo Kazooie, Perfect Dark, and Viva Piñata, the genres and playstyles range from the criminally difficult, to extraordinarily entertaining all-out parties.
And you can bet Rare realizes how much their fans love their games. They realized what they had so well, in fact, that they took the care to have it presented to you in a lovingly crafted little museum of their timeless classics.
Games are selected by navigating through various portraits, and all the games are organized by release date. Every portrait offers a multitude of bonuses as well, from concept art to game music, in-game options, and more.
Play-By-Play of this Replay
Rather than attempt to review every individual game, as that would very quickly turn into 30 full-sized reviews, I will instead give insight to games that have held up over the many years, to the games that seem to suffer even by today’s standards.
To start off, let’s look at Rare’s heavy hitter franchise, Banjo Kazooie. Both of the original N64 classics have been brought into the collection based on their Xbox Live Arcade HD remakes that were released earlier in the 360 era. The games play at a wonderfully smooth framerate and hold up fantastically.
In fact, many of the ports are wonderfully responsive ports. Killer Instinct is as fast paced and C-C-C-COMBO BREAKING as ever, the Battletoads kick and punch and turbo tunnel their way as smooth as butter, and the arcade titles beep and boop to your hearts content.
So obviously something may seem amiss right? There’s another big Rare title I've neglected to mention. One I, unfortunately, have to negatively mention.
Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Quite frankly, this was the title I was most excited to jump into, and I was very disappointed with what I was offered.
The Conker port used is of the original N64 version, so there are no live and reloaded elements to the game at all. This isn't too big of an issue until you start playing the game. The platforming is imprecise, the framerate chugs at around 15-20 FPS in certain segments, and the game is laughably laggy in button commands. Conker is a huge game in the Rare collection, one that many a fan have been clamoring to have a new title in. The fact that the port couldn't have received the same treatment as the Banjo Kazooie games is highly unfortunate. To make things even worse, because it's a direct port of the N64 version, the game is locked to the 4:3 aspect ratio, making it look unfortunately ugly on modern displays.
There were only a couple other unfortunate offerings in the Rare Replay collection, from the dismally boring and only passably playable Grabbed by The Ghoulies, to the frustratingly simplistic and dumbed down Perfect Dark Zero.
Other problems include some odd slowdowns in the 360 titles. From odd startup times, to the occasional choppy framerate, it calls into question whether it’s an issue with the port, or the overall function of Xbox One’s new backwards compatibility function, as that is basically how the 360 games run in Rare Replay.
Some offerings you may have missed
I do want to go a little more in-depth about some of the other Rare games that you may never have touched before because I have to say, these titles are a blast!
Like say, Blast Corps, an over the top action-puzzler that has you trying to stop a Nuke from reaching its objective. Blast Corps is simple to pick up but gets maliciously difficult the further you go, and is a testament to the old days of difficult arcade games.
If you’re in the multi-directional shooter mood, (which let’s be honest, is incredibly specific and I’m totally reaching here), Solar Jetman is a space shooter where you pilot around multiple planets and fight alien hordes. Gravity constantly pulls and pushes you as you fight, adding to the challenge of the objectives.
The best part of a lot of these older, and admittedly harder games, is there are options for save states, and rewinds, allowing you to re-challenge the horrific turbo tunnel over and over again, and go back up to 10 seconds so you don’t smack lose any of your lives! It’s a really nice addition for the people that value their controllers and haven’t insured them against being thrown at the wall.
These are just a couple of the other awesome arcade offerings Rare Replay has available, and all of them have their own means of entertainment! All of these arcade games are presented in 4:3 resolution, with awesome arcade borders around the screen. This helped prevent the stretching of the more pixelated games, and keeps everything looking great on some of our larger than life T.V's.
And if you like the nostalgic look of some things, other games such as BattleToads and RC Pro-Am offer an in game effect to add in-game fuzz an shape to the screen to round off the edges, simulating the old CRT feel. It's actually quite convincing to the eyes, and will bring back plenty of memories of burning your eyes out as a kid on the old 80's TVs.
What else is there?
Like I mentioned earlier, every game comes with its own unique assortment of concept art, music, and bonus goodies. But if you aren't feeling the history type, Rare Replay also offers more to play in its Snapshots mode.
Snapshots is a mode that allows you to play mini retro challenges that change the rules of games, very akin to Nintendo’s NES REMIX series.
From an endless Turbo Tunnel in BattleToads, to popping bubbles in sheer seconds in Jetpac, Snapshots adds some extra level of play to the arcade classics. You can challenge each snapshot individually per game, or you can play various playlists based on the objective of the Snapshot, such as collectathon or time attack,
Unfortunately, Snapshots is only limited to the arcade released titles, so you won’t see any challenges past Battletoads and RC ProAm. It would have been cool to see some challenges in Banjo Kazooie levels, or even in the old party games. Hopefully, it can be added in later updates.
The other awesome thing about Rare Replay collection is that anything that was split screen capable continues to be in the collection. You can still play the Banjo Kazooie minigames with friends, or team up and take on Battletoads with a buddy.
I think the hardest part about Rare Replay, is that there's so much content to discuss! Rest assured, anything that I haven't mentioned like Jet Force Gemini or Kameo is only because the games had no other issues and played perfectly fine.
Full Games List
Lunar Jetman 1983
Atic Atac 1983
Sabre Wulf 1984
Knight Lore 1984
R.C. Pro-Am 1987
Cobra Triangle 1989
Snake Rattle 'n' Roll 1990
Solar Jetman 1990
Digger T. Rock 1990
R.C. Pro-Am II 1992
Battletoads Arcade 1994
Killer Instinct Gold 1996
Blast Corps 1997
Jet Force Gemini 1999
Perfect Dark 2000
Conker's Bad Fur Day 2001
Grabbed by the Ghoulies 2003
Perfect Dark Zero 2005
Viva Piñata 2006
Jetpac Refuelled 2006
Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise 2008
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts 2008
+ Enormous offering of content
+ Accessibility to everyone
- A few shoddy ports
- Small framerate issues
Rare Replay was presented with a whole lot of love, and it stands as a testament to the glory days of Rare.
Gameplay was tough to score, but this total was determined based on the playability of every game, averaged into one solid number. Conker and the 360 titles contributed to the lowering of the score due to frame issues and input lag, but rest assured that the rest of the content has solid gameplay.
If there isn't something that appeals to you in Rare Replay, I don't know how you'd go about playing any video game. There's a genre for everyone, a story to every title, and enough gameplay here to keep you invested for months on end.
out of 10
(not an average)
Rare Replay is an incredible offering for the Xbox platform, at a cheap price. While some titles had hiccups, the full offering of games is enough to make Rare Replay an absolute must have for any fan of Rare, or anyone looking to play some of the most iconic games in the industry.