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Xenoblade Chronicles
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I'm a madman 2.0...except in this case even moreso since this is twice as long as Kazooie. And even still, I never got burnt out on replaying this yet again even after replaying it a week ago. Idk man, there's just something about this game that's addicting. I still feel the same way about it as I did a week ago. The interconnected worlds are amazing, the level theming and move set additions/polish are both very awesome and the OST I probably do prefer more than Kazooie overall. Even the backtracking felt like I did less of it with this replay, saved everything for the end and I think I only went back to each world (not counting going between worlds cuz that doesn't feel like backtracking to me) like once to get jiggies. I really don't see the backtracking as an issue whatsoever now, the more complex/confusing jiggies..yeah I can see people having an issue with that but not really the backtracking. The Canary Mary rematches still aren't fun (though I did have a much easier time with no blister this time) and again the final boss isn't as good as Kazooie's, though I did like it more this time around. Still though, I do love this game alongside Kazooie and they're some of the best games the N64 offers I think.

I'm a madman I know, but I decided to do another replay of the first Banjo game only a week after my last replay. Pretty much everything from my last review applies here except instead of dying in Gobi's valley and being annoyed at Rusty Bucket Bay, all my anger was in Click Clock Wood. I not only died but also missed 9 notes on my first time completing it so I had to go through every season like 3 times. Frustrating I know but still my fault however I really don't like the note system in this game still. Idk, the game is still kino but I think I do prefer Tooie's gameplay loop more now. I have the strong urge to replay that too but I'll probably hold off. I also have a small urge to drop this to a 9 but alas I'll keep it at a 10 for now. Still an awesome game overall however I did enjoy it slightly less on this replay so after I replay Tooie again, I might bump this down to a 9 who knows.

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 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 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.