DuckTales Remastered Review

Duck_TalesDuckTales Remastered (Available on PC, PlayStation 3, Wii U, and Xbox 360)
ESRB Rating: E
Number of Players: 1
Genre: Platformer
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: WayForward
Release Date: August 13th, 2013

Parent Talk: The ESRB rates DuckTales Remastered E for everyone. It’s a cartoon platformer with animated violence that’s about as mature as the cartoon show it’s based on. This is the ideal game for young children, and children of all ages. I’m in my thirties and had a blast with it, and I’m fairly certain you will too.

Plays Like: If you grew up playing platformers on the NES, or the SNES then you know what you’re getting here. DuckTales is considered one of the very best platformers ever created and for good reason, it features smart level design, excellent gameplay, tight controls, and a real challenge.

Review Basis: Finished the PlayStation 3 version of the game on Medium, cursing quite a few times along the way. What helped was finishing it with my brother, just like we used to do so many years ago back home at our parent’s house. Ah yes, good times.

WayForward has become one of the go to developers out there for 2D games. Their list of excellent titles includes the Shantae series, Contra 4, Double Dragon Neon, and Aliens: Infestation, among many others. So you know they’re up to the task of remastering this classic gem. I’ll tell you this right now, these guys did a phenomenal job. While certain aspects haven’t aged quite as well as our memories, the overall gameplay remains challenging, fun, and engaging. If you enjoy 2D platformers, this is one you’re going to want to check out for sure.

The Great:

Without a doubt the most impressive feat has to be the stunning audio visual presentation. The graphics look as if the DuckTales cartoon came to life. This is how I used to imagine NES games looking when I was a child. It’s nothing short of outstanding. WayForward even went so far as to bring on some of the original animators from the TV show just to ensure accuracy. The audio is equally impressive. Not only does Alan Young return to reprise his role as the infamous Scrooge McDuck (at the ripe old age of 93 I might add), but so do many of the other classic characters from the cartoon. The audio has also seen a significant facelift as well, and while some of these tracks are considered masterpieces, the fresh coat of paint is handled with both respect and care. The bottom line is, DuckTales Remastered looks and sounds as if you’re playing through an episode of the classic cartoon, and that, above all else, is without a doubt the greatest compliment I can bestow upon the game. Fantastic job WayForward, utterly amazing.

DuckTales3The Good:

+ Level design is linear, but extremely fun to play through. The game is broken up into five stages, all of which can be played in any order, a la Mega Man. Each stage contains one hidden heart piece (not on the Hard difficulty setting), and a fun pattern-based boss. Levels feature a Metroid-like map system which allows you to easily discover hidden secrets, and navigate the lengthy levels.

+ One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard of is the game’s challenge, and that’s actually something I love about it. You have a finite number of lives, lose them all and you have to restart the level from the very beginning. Remember when games forced you to get good at them in order to complete them? This is a good thing, and I’m glad WayForward didn’t change the game’s structure. Play on Easy if you’re looking to just breeze through the game.

DuckTales4The So-So:

+/- New story elements may appear out of place in game so focused on simple platforming, but they add a new dimension to the game by making players feel as though they’re playing an episode of the show. Worst case scenario players who dislike them can easily skip them. The downside is they do tend to break up the game’s overall pacing though.

+ Pogo-stick jumping is just as fun today as it was years ago. It’s a fantastically bizarre way to travel that fits in perfectly within the game’s setting. One note to make is that unlike the original, if you happen to pogo too close to the edge of one or more platforms that are side by side, the game can mistakenly believe you want to land, as such cutting your next pogo jump short. This can cause issues if there happens to be an enemy on said platform. Many have said this is because of faulty controls and or poor hit detection, but I believe it has to do with the way the pogo interacts with the platforms themselves as I could constantly repeat the issue over and over again if platforms were close enough together.

+/- Nostalgia plays a big role in your overall enjoyment of the game. If you fondly remember watching the cartoon then you’ll love this game no matter its faults, but if you’re coming in fresh you might not understand what all the hoopla is about.

The Bad:

– Modern gamers will likely become frustrated with how punishing the game can get. I’m looking at you last sequence in the game.

– Game crashed several times while playing.  Only a hard reset could fix the problem.

DuckTales1The Lowdown:

DuckTales Remastered isn’t going to be for everyone. If you’re one of those that gets easily frustrated when you have to repeat an entire level, odds are you aren’t going to be into this game. If you do enjoy a challenge, and love classic platforming, well this might just be one of the best games you’ve played all summer long. I had a real blast playing through the game in an afternoon with my brother, and will return again when time permits. If you like platformers, give it a spin and see if it’s for you.

Final Score: 8/10

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