So I actually never beat this game before. Way back in the good ol 2013/2014 days when I first played this, I was never able to beat the final boss. (I did play through a good chunk of the game back in 2019 as well but I randomly dropped it for some odd reason...idk why because I remember having a blast). Anyways, besides the Grunty fight, I was also never able to beat either of the Canary Mary rematches. Other than the races and final boss, I did everything in the game on that first playthrough. Well I'm happy to say after all these years, I've not only beaten the game..I've 100%ed it as well.
Was it super tedious like everyone seems to say nowdays? Uhhh no? Not in the slightest, I had an absolute blast replaying this. The only part I down right disliked was the 2nd Canary Mary rematch race. I eventually learned the optimal strategy, but not without getting a nasty blister beforehand. Yeah that's super dumb ik, don't even get me started lol.
Anyways, Tooie brings forth a ton of improvements in regards to Kazooie. Your moveset from the last game has little tweaks all over the place that improve the gameplay (swimming is way smoother, your roll attack is so much better etc etc.). They fixed the pitched up voices when fast forwarding dialogue from the first game. Music notes now don't get reset when you die...in fact the focus on collecting notes was lessened drastically since they're all in bunches of 5 or 20. The level theming is so..SO much more unique compared to the first game. I absolutely love some of these level concepts..like an abandoned carnival run by Grunty, a fire and ice world, a dinosaur world...everything is just so much more creative setting wise.
The expanded moveset is great for the most part. First person aiming when shooting eggs was a good addition..and so were the new egg types. I think the first person segments were a lot of fun. The split up mechanic and abilities you get were super cool..though banjo's later abilities do seem to feel the same a lot of the time, especially those last two you get.
The game's writing as a whole is way funnier and cynical compared to Kazooie, it fits the series so well. The characters in Tooie felt way more fleshed out and memorable compared to Kazooie's characters...though there are returning ones from Kazooie as well. The Ost is amazing and while very different compared to Kazooie's (it goes for more atmospheric/ less upbeat tracks) its just as good.
So the big issue people have with this game is the backtracking and they think the worlds are too big. I never had an issue with the backtracking at least on this playthrough, it never felt tedious at all for me to go back and get jiggy's I couldn't get before. Feels more like a metroidvania in a sense and I love that. The interconnectivity is absolutely amazing in this game and is my favorite aspect tbh. As for worlds being too big, I can't understand that sentiment for any of the worlds besides maybe Terrydactyland. While I did enjoy that world this go around, it is a bit too big for its own good. Other than that, I had no issue with each world's size. Yeah even Grunty Industries, which was still semi-confusing didn't feel that big. It was moreso confusing to figure out how to open the way forward to jiggies and stuff. Solid level overall (and it has my favorite world theme in the game). I'd say my favorite level was Witchy World with Hailfire peaks coming at a close second. Both were fantastic imo. The lag can get pretty bad at points in Hailfire (and throughout the whole game there's lag during certain parts) but it never bothered me much.
If I had to give my gripes with this game, the aforementioned Canary Mary rematch for that Cheato page still sucks. Even with the method I found online, it still isn't fun. The final boss also isn't nearly as good as Grunty in Kazooie. Idk it was much less iconic and didn't make full use of the duo's whole moveset like it did in Kazooie. That plus the ost wasn't nearly as good. Not a bad fight in the slightest, just doesn't touch Kazooie's final boss. Though I will say, after finally beating her all these years, that final part can be brutal. Once you get the hang of it, it isn't terribly hard. However it's certainly harder than Kazooie's final boss.
I may be crazy for giving this a 10 just like Kazooie, however this game had even higher highs than Kazooie despite it not being as replayable due to its size. It was really addicting to play (I beat it in 4 days..and one of those days my power was out lol) and even now, I can't stop thinking about it. It's goated just like Kazooie, but for different reasons. Might bump it down to a 9 eventually however right now, 10/10 it is. Very underrated game now it seems, sad to see so many people hate on it when it's really undeserved.
I really don't know why but I do honestly keep thinking about this game and replaying it again already. Might put it at the top of my 2023 list if its gonna be like that lol.