Can you remember the last time you got excited about a Rare game? You know, beyond the Rare Replay , a collection of 30 games from the developer that you know are great. Which title got you salivating? It was probably seven years ago, with either Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts or Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise getting you excited about another Rare property. It’s part of the reason why all delight over Rare Replay is bittersweet. It seems like the studio’s best days could be behind them.
Rare is great, but one could look at the Rare Replay as a eulogy for a company now relegated to menial tasks for Microsoft. When was the last time people got to see the developer do something great? Maybe put together something new? When was Rare last allowed to be creative? The answer again is 2008, seven long years ago.
Microsoft has been wasting the company’s potential. Killer Instinct for the Xbox One isn’t bad, but it isn’t one of the best fighting games out there. It’s more of a situation where you look at it, remember how much you loved Killer Instinct Gold , and maybe consider loading it up in 2016 to see Rash once season 3 starts. It isn’t a killer app for Rare.
The other Rare fodder as of late has been quite disappointing. Microsoft tasked a company known for great and colorful platformers like Banjo Kazooie and Donkey Kong Country , as well as memorable shooters like Perfect Dark Zero and GoldenEye , and locked them into sports mini-game colelctions like Kinect Sports , Kinect Sports: Season Two , and Kinect Sports Rivals . We’re seeing talent wasted. These are the sorts of games you see going for $5 or less at GameStop after a console’s “good” games are released and people get rid of launch fodder.
It doesn’t help that former members of Rare went off to do their own thing and make Yooka-Laylee . Playtonic Games’ Kickstarter success story looks like the exact sort of game people used to love Rare for. It’s bright, colorful, and looks like the sort of title that could delight players of any age. Put it next to Rare Replay , and I wonder if Rare’s most creative minds took off to do their own thing.
Rare Replay is great. It’s a centerpiece and masterpiece. You get to see everything about Rare that made the developer so beloved. Unfortunately, it’s sad to load it up and see 30 amazing games, given that the four games the company has made in the past seven years are less than striking. It’s the saddest sort of celebration, because it makes you wonder if we’ll see those sorts of classics from the company again.