DuckTales: Remastered has finally released, and we here at TechnoBuffalo decided to gather two of the gaming section's editors in order to court a proper opinion on the game.
Both Ron and Joey (that's me!) played DuckTales on the NES growing up. We both have an affinity for the classic game, its soundtrack and the TV series that preceded it. We also have a soft spot for Capcom's older titles, and Ron even suggested before drafting this review that the DuckTales sequel is underrated.
The two of us have come together to chat about DuckTales: Remastered, and we'll decide whether or not this remake from WayForward and Capcom is worth your hard-earned vault money.
Here we go.
DuckTales was the highlight in a string of popular Disney games made by Capcom back in the late 1980s. Produced by the Mega Man team, the original game shares many qualities of the company's most popular mascot: music, graphics, level design, game flow.
Bringing such a classic to the modern age is something only the folks at WayForward could have pulled of, and they did so marvelously.
Joey DavidsonSenior Editor
I think that's a fantastic place to start, Ron. WayForward has shown an aptitude for creating games that feel distinctly retro. There's a smooth and machine-like platforming to a lot of their efforts, and that rubs really well with the classic DuckTales formula.
Movement in the original NES game is almost as iconic as Scrooge McDuck himself. You can walk and jump in standard fashion, but then there's using Scrooge's cane to pogo stick around levels and on top of enemies.
WayForward, I thought, really nailed that pogo element.
The pogo stick is the gimmick which sets DuckTales apart from all of the other platformers out there. It gives Scrooge extra height to his jumps, acts as his main weapon and allows him to even bounce on spikes to avoid damage.
To this day, no other platformer has copied it since the original 1989 release, which is why it remains so fresh in this new update.
How about the other major iconic element from this classic? DuckTales sported some of the best 8-bit tunes from the entire NES era. The music for The Moon and The Himalayas levels is referenced again and again as the greatest ever written.
WayForward turned to Jake Kaufman in order to compose new mixes for DuckTales: Remastered. Kaufman has worked with the studio before on games like Mighty Switch Force.
So, Ron, did Kaufman do justice to the original soundtrack?
For the most part, yes. The important songs, like The Moon, he knocked out of the park. It sounds amazing with the new arrangement. I also like The Amazon, which had a nice new ring to it, and the boss fight there sounds like it comes straight from the golden years of Capcom's musical prowess.
Others I don't feel he did quite the same justice. Guitars are too strong in The Himalayas, and I could barely recognize it from the original. A few others suffer from too many instruments and over-composition.
Beating the game allows you to play the game with 8-bit music, and I still prefered the original tracks for many of the levels.
Speaking of overdoing the sound, this new DuckTales: Remastered is really chatty.
Well, I think I loved Kaufman's work a touch more than you did, but I totally see where you're coming from. It's hard to remix something so classic, and I believe we both think he did an admirable job.
As for the chattiness? I tend to agree with you. I recorded a "Let's Play" for DuckTales: Remastered last week. I actually had to actively edit out some of the cutscenes because of how chatty the game was. See for yourself.
I will say this, though. WayForward and Capcom actually got the original cast from the show back to record all of the voicework in Remastered. In that sense, I thought the cutscenes were tremendous.
I wonder how many people they had to pull out of retirement for that one.
I had nothing against the voice acting from the entire cast, and especially Scrooge McDuck is a lot of fun with all of his quips and antics.
The problem is that this is an NES era game from a time when the story didn't matter so much. Sometimes, I just want to platform, and the cutscenes often felt like they got in the way. For example, in The Amazon when you have to pick up 8 coins to continue, Scrooge has something to say about all of them. It gets annoying.
Tie that to the fact that this game runs on a life based system before Game Over, and you'll end up watching cutscenes over and over again, or skip them from the pause menu.
Yeah, I totally agree with all of that. When the cutscenes arrived with more brevity, I was happy. I enjoyed the storyline, I liked the voice acting and I thought the lame jokes were a perfect fit for the show.
However, it's so chatty that the replayability almost suffers. Skipping cutscenes is simple enough, hit pause and then skip, but this game's replay potential demands a one touch skip option. Or, perhaps WayForward can patch a "Disable Cutscenes" option in for those who complete the campaign.
I'm curious, Ron, where do you stand on the updated art style? You can expand first, but I absolutely adore it.
I liked the new art style. The art looks just like the show, so they did a great job with the animation of the characters.
I don't think it blended so well with the relatively simple looking 3D environments and backgrounds. However, blending 2D and 3D together is a really hard task to pull off, and very few games get it right.
Plus I'm just a sucker for 8-bit graphics, and naturally liked the older style better.
Man, talk about a stark contrast. I thought the sprites and background looked perfect together. To each his own, I suppose, but the art was a big reason why the game's difficulty never frustrated me too much.
Which transitions me to the final talking point I'd like to hit: difficulty.
Some critics and gamers have complained that DuckTales: Remastered is too hard. They suggest that the game's frustrating difficulty makes it feel old, archaic and hinders it from being fun.
Where do you stand?
At first, I died often and got frustrated with the game's difficulty. Then I had to dig through my memories and remember what it was like to play replay Mega Man and Castlevania games over and over until I knew them like the back of my hand.
Once I put myself in that mindset, I enjoyed the challenge and was more than eager to rise to it.
It even made me think of how spoiled I have become by today's easy learning curves for AAA games and how much more satisfying hard games like Dark Souls, Fire Emblem, and, yes, DuckTales really are.
Yes, yes, yes. I think WayForward and Capcom had to make a tough decision when making DuckTales: Remastered. Do they cater to today's gamers or the gamer's of yesterday?
They were smart to go with making it tough. These old games were always tough, and we loved them for that.
Once you get over the game's penchant for difficulty, you might just fall in love.
DISCLAIMER: We purchased two copies of DuckTales: Remastered with company funds. We bought and played through PC and PlayStation 3 versions before starting this review.
Is DuckTales: Remastered worth purchasing? Yes.
It was fun to run through an old favorite with a new coat of paint. Fans of the original will be pleased on all fronts. Ron even hopes that WayForward takes an HD crack at DuckTales 2 and Chip & Dale.
If you are new to the game, be prepared for a rough time ahead of you, and don't be ashamed to tuck that pride away if you can't handle being whooped by a Disney title.
Agreed. Once you get over the DuckTales: Remastered's penchant for difficulty, you might just fall in love.
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