Top critical review
13 of 17 people found this helpful
on January 18, 2011
If this were a new standalone game and not a sequel to an incredible series, it would be an okay game. If this were made by someone other than Retro, the developers of Metroid Prime, I would consider it a decent attempt. Unfortunately, the expectations are too high for this to be a Donkey Kong Country game made by Retro.
The original Donkey Kong Countries had much more precise control than this, and rightly so, because DKC is a quintessential platformer. You need precise control that you can rely on or else the game becomes frustrating. I see many people simplistically saying that this game is difficult because of the level design. I don't think that's true. The level design didn't seem any more difficult than the design of the SNES games. What I found difficult was controlling the character through the levels.
The heavy use of momentum made the game a nightmare at some parts since most of the level design calls for precise control. I found that it was especially hard to control DK after doing a rolling jump...or sometimes any jump. Because of the heavy use of momentum, almost every jump to another ledge/platform requires you get a decent running start or you don't make it, and the rolling jump is almost always out of the question because until the very end of the jump there's really no way to stop DK or even slow him down. This means that without Diddy's jetpack, long jumps can be next to impossible, especially if they require you to land directly on target.
On the subject of Diddy's jetpack, I felt it was a needless addition, wait, it WOULD HAVE BEEN a needless addition if you could properly control the rolling jump. The jetpack has about a second of charge in it each jump, and can be used multiple times through the same jump until it's charge is through. This combined with how precise your timing has to be when super-bouncing off enemies' heads can lead to very frustrating problems. If you don't hit A precisely the split second when you hit an enemy's head, but instead do it a micro-second sooner, diddy's jet-pack activates instead, and you're holding the joy-stick in the direction of a higher ledge, in anticipation of a super-bounce but instead you fall off the ledge the enemy was on and then you consider taking up chain-smoking because you're just that tense from the aggravation of the whole thing...
I haven't beaten the game yet, not sure if I will, but I've gotten a good ways into it (I'm on the 5th or 6th area at least) and I've only gotten to use one animal, and that's the Rhino. Yeah, never mind the awesome spider, peacock, swordfish, or snake (so far), Retro must have felt that the game controls so well normally, that even after this long a wait, people wouldn't want to get to ride a web-spitting spider through the jungle. Come to think of it, this is the only Donkey Kong game that you only get to control one Kong (once again, so far).
Yes the art/graphics are pretty, but this is another case where the expectations of the last game kind of ruined this one for me. I liked the gritty, claymation look of the old games. This game looks like ANY other Nintendo game made recently. Like it has a very Mario look to it.
In the "Why did they include that?" department, what's with this blowing feature? What kind of thought went into that? Retro gave their Metroid update a really cool, unexpected feature, which was the visor system, and in Donkey Kong you get to blow on flowers? You're a big, rhino-riding gorrilla blazing along through the jungle, trying to rescue your banana horde and you stop to blow on flowers? That's stupid.
There's more to include in the "why did they include/do that" department, like why do you shake the controllers to do every thing other than jump or move? to roll you shake while going in a direction, to blow you shake while ducking, to beat the ground you just shake... This leads to problems because, due to the similarities in these methods of control, sometimes you'll roll when you want to ground-pound if you're not careful, and...ahem...not sure how else to say this..."blow" an enemy when you want roll the enemy. It looks just as stupid in action as it sounds.
Anyway, this is an okay game if you just forget all the context leading up to it and that's how I scored it.