Review: Rare Replay
By Sean Booker
August 18, 2015 - 13:43
Platform: Xbox One
Players: 1 - 4
A collection of thirty different games for a budget price is a very good deal. Much like the Master Chief Collection before it, (apart from the horrendous bugs) Rare Replay is an easy purchasing decision for anyone interested in this catalog. This collection features games that have not been released on a system in North America before, making it the first showing for a lot of people. Added challenges helps teach new players and breathes new life for anyone returning. The menu system presents the games nicely but the navigation is a little slow and the general Xbox One user interface clutters things further. That aside, any way you look at this, getting thirty games for a dollar each makes Rare Replay an fantastic deal.
It isn’t every game from the back catalog of Rare but it does reach in quite deep. Several games from the early days, when the company was known as Ultimate Play the Game, can be found here. These are ZX Spectrum games that mainly only saw an audience in Europe making this the first time a majority of the players have seen these. Along with this we get games from the NES, N64, Xbox, and the Xbox 360. Playing through the various games will unlock bonus videos that show behind the scenes looks at what the development was like. To keep things fresh there are built in “Snapshots” that give you specific objectives to work towards in each of the older titles. These ingame achievements can help teach a game’s mechanics while offering a fresh challenge to anyone returning to these titles. This is a nice collection of games put in a package with care.
The Xbox 360 games can be accessed through the Rare Replay hub but will also download separately. This is due to the ongoing backwards compatibility update that the Xbox One has. It is a nice bonus being able to jump directly into about a third of the games without having to wait for additional menus to load through. However, due to these games already having their own set of achievements, there is no new challenges added for these. No Snapshots to speak of; those are only for the older titles.
These 360 titles alone make the purchase a good deal. Buying even a few of these games now would come out over Rare Replay’s $30 price tag. Games such as both Viva Pinatas, three Banjo-Kazooies, Kameo, the original Perfect Dark and Conker’s Bad Fur Day are all great examples. There is easily hundreds of hours of content in this game and something for any fan. Paying one dollar for each of these and everything else included is fantastic.
These older titles are more of a novelty, the ZX Spectrum games specifically. A lot of them handle real poorly and are very hard. Without a good amount of nostalgia for them, you will most likely pass over them quite quickly. However, they do present a great look at the evolving game development. Being able to see how color had to be implemented and how different shaders worked together is great. Seeing them side by side with their sequels and noticing when the consoles were powerful enough to employ sound effects and music together is a real treat. The only downside is that there isn’t any information on which platforms these games appeared on in game. It would be nice if each games’ presentation screen had a bit more info about it. For example, which version they are porting here. Despite the novelty of being able to play these extremely old games, you will have more fun with the newer ones.
The biggest let down is that Rare Replay utilizes the Xbox One’s built in Help feature for any kind of control or game mechanic information. A lot of these older titles give absolutely no indication of how to play or what your goal is and you are stuck using this application. The problem is that the Help app is incredibly slow to load and move through. It is a major hassle considering you will load this up almost every time you start a game for the first time. It would have been much nicer if a game’s presentation screen or the Rare Replay hub itself had this basic information built in.
Despite some lackluster inclusions, Rare Replay is a fantastic deal any way you look at it.. This is a nice collection that does a good job of showing a studio’s evolution. Having to use the Xbox One’s Help feature is easily the worst part and it’s a shame this game is dragged down by it. Even if you are only interested in a few of these games, the value easily outmatches buying them elsewhere
Review: Rare Replay