Conker: Live & Reloaded
The introduction of a review is mostly pretty simple: you look for a fun angle, tell something about the past of the game or any predecessor, and then awaken the reader’s interest. And I see no reason to change this now! Conker: Live & Reloaded brings us a foulmouthing squirrel, drunks, sexually flavoured jokes and in blood soaked teddybears. Let’s hope grandma lets herself be deluded by the cuddly looks of Conker, about the most politically incorrect asshole in the history of gaming! If we now got a fat portion of gameplay together with the cursing and puking, we’ll be very pleased
You can easily summarise Conker: Live & Reloaded; it’s a remake of Conker’s Bad Fur Day, a once topgame on the Nintendo64 that was released about 4 years ago, added with an online multiplayer part. The singleplayer got high scores on the Nintendo64 back in the days due to the grown up setting, good controls and excellent and varied gameplay. I can already tell you now that despite that the original is quite old in game terms, the Xbox-version kicks some teddy ass again.
You start the story of course as Conker, a rather unsympathetic squirrel who loves peeing in public and laughing at handicapped co-squirrels. As more than once, he’s more drunk than Ozzy “Do my brains still have oxygen” Osbourne after drinking a full catalogue of Belgian beers. After a welcome nap in the gutter you find some aspirine that brings you back to the world of the living. The tone of the game is immediately set during those first minutes: hilaric assignments, stupid situations and lots of burping and cursing. Forget everything you knew and don’t expect a logical storyline, logic just got puked on and kicked out the window.
This is one of those rare games that sometimes really make a smile (amongst others thanks to the many great cut-scenes), something that’s quite an accomplishment already! Do mind thuogh that together with the good jokes, there are also a ton of boring under-the-belt ones (parodies on The Matrix or Saving Private Ryan have passed multiple times already), but for the less demanding gamers amongst us this will probably not be any problem.
Also great are without a doubt the graphics that are amongst the best in the current generation of consoles. Fur is portrayed cudly, water looks like it ran away from a fairytale, atmosphere is present aplenty, and the colors are truly magnificent. Also the models and surroundings constantly amaze just like the locations do by their design, creativity and detailed and inspired finishing.
Don’t expect big changes compared to the N64 version. The game remains a platformer with all the necessary jumping, climbing and floating as well as collecting the classic equivalents of coins. As with any of these games we get confronted with the usual camera problems and the inevitable running back and forth looking for a doorway or the solution to a puzzle you can’t find. Also the fighting isn’t as it could be (if only those opponents would stand still) and very unsatisfying. During the last parts of the game you suddenly get another type of gameplay that can best be described as a third person shooter. If you got frustrated by the jumping, this part, filled with shooting zombies, bears, and other vermin, make up for a lot.
On top of the exceptional mix you get a complete and surprisingly deep multiplayer part. Don’t expect a simple extra that you can play in 2 minutes thuogh, you’ll more than once bite dust with your sharp squirrel teeth. The possibilities and options are extensive, which makes that it isn’t easy to get everything under control.
You can best compare it with a game of Battlefield but between an army of squirrels and one of teddybears. You get the choice between different classes of soldiers like there are Grunts, Sneekers, Demolishers, Sky Jockeys, Thermophiles and of course the Long Rangers. You’ll by now have guessed that also vehicles are present, both in the air as on the ground. Also I’d like to add that you can play with bots if there’s a shortage on real opponents, something necessary if you want to get everything out of the multiplayer option.
More than in other games, this online component feels like a standalone addition and feels like a game on itself. That’s why it’s so sad that there are still some problems that make playing it more chaotic than you would like. First of all there’s a small amount of maps (only 8 and some of those are all but original or fun) and secondly the button layout is all but simple and quick.
This last problem is a logical effect on the fact that a controller has a limited amount of buttons and if you see how many keys you use in a game like Battlefield 2, you can imagine it isn’t easy to switch weapons quickly. Also the ranking system could be better and more clear, some more creative game modes wouldn’t have hurt either. Also I have to say that the graphics here don’t get to the level of the singleplayer part. Something that’s probably caused by the fact that there needs to be enough calculation power to keep everything fluid on the screen. Nontentheless, it remains beautiful!
The sound isn’t bad, mostly thanks to the good soundtrack that is better than the usual blabbering. The voice-acting is also quite good although from time to time it tends to get on your nerves due to the funny vioces. In this game one can forgive that since it does go with the concept.
Conker: Live & Reloaded is an excellent game, original and very funny to play, and the graphics are truly breathtaking. On top of that you get a great multiplayer part which significantly increases the game’s lifespan. Although the latter isn’t without problems is does remain one of the better games you can play on Xbox Live. Only too bad there isn’t any free content foreseen at the moment by Rare. The fact that this multiplayer is combined with the updatd classic Conker’s Bad Fur Day makes this bundle a definite suggestion for anyone who wants to play the beast for once!