What has happened to some companies these past few years? Silicon Nights hasn’t made a hit game since Eternal Darkness (I don’t care for it, but still), Midway shut down, Factor 5, creators of the Star Wars Rogue Squadron series, released a game that made them shut down due to the poor reception of it, and well, you get the idea. I think the worst offender in these strings of companies is Rare. It seemed like after Microsoft bought them out, they have just been going downhill and are now only working on Kinect games. One of the greatest companies on earth now works on a gaming peripheral that has a bone-dry list of quality titles with only a few of them being worth owning. This company made some of the best games of all time like Banjo Kazooie and its sequel, the Donkey Kong Country series, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Battletoads, and other great games. Slowly after they got bought out, their games have been slipping in quality. We then had mediocre games like Grabbed by the Ghoulies, the Kinect Sports series, Perfect Dark Zero, and one of the more decent games, Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts. Even the two founders of the company left to work in land development. How sad does that sound? You leave one of the coolest and most entertaining jobs on earth to work on LAND DEVELOPMENT! However, out of all this garbage and idiocracy, there was a small glimmer of hope of the company actually knowing what they were doing. This was a launch title for the Xbox360 known as Kameo: Elements of Power. While considered the last good game from Rare, Kameo: Elements of Power does have some faults to its overall design due to the huge amounts of delays and console changes, but I would still recommend checking it out. Let’s dive into the elements and review Kameo: Elements of Power for the Xbox360.
The story revolves around Kameo who has the power to shape-shift that was given to her by her family. Her sister, however, hates that idea. The evil sister then decides to go make a deal with Thorn, the king of trolls, to kidnap Kameo’s family and rule the land alongside the trolls. It is up to Kameo to get the powers of the elemental warriors and make everything good again. The story can be interesting enough to keep you playing, but it doesn’t have the charm like Conker’s Bad Fur Day and Banjo Kazooie had. It isn’t bad overall though with some memorable characters and a great soundtrack.
The gameplay is a 3D action platformer where you play as Kameo and you go around a massive world to take down the army of trolls and take down huge monsters that are keeping your family hostage. Kameo alone is pretty weak, and your main weapon of choice is the elemental warriors you gain throughout the game. Each warrior has a special ability to use in combat and moving through the levels. You gain these warriors by taking down shadow trolls and saving your family members from said “huge monsters”. Some monsters are better at combat and some are better at traversing the landscape of the huge levels. Some have the abilities to grapple from place to place, sliding on ice bridges, swimming underwater, gliding on water, breathing fire, and moving underground. Outside of the single player mode, there are specific areas that you unlock that you can play offline or online with a second player, but I’ll explain the tedium of that later. There really isn’t much to do after you play the game, besides going through the entire world map, beating down trolls, doing challenges, upgrading your health and warriors, and completing the main story.
Graphically, for a launch title it looks great. It is amazing how many trolls and soldiers you will see on the screen at once. The warriors and bosses are all also well designed and are fun to watch move. The music is epic and memorable. The composer for this game was Steve Burke who also worked on the Viva Piñata series, Jetpac Refuelled, Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, and Perfect Dark Zero. He mostly works on games from Rare.
There are some glaring flaws though, and of course you could blame them on this game’s long development time, but I’m still going to point out the flaws. A couple of the elemental warriors can be extremely tedious to control. This comes into play with a few areas of the game, like the second major boss fight where you have to use not one, but two warriors who control awkwardly. This is ironic since one of the warriors you use has the special ability to swim underwater, but is surprisingly tedious to control when you are in the water. The game is also pretty repetitive. You go through the pattern of going to one level, beating one or two shadow trolls, beating a major boss, and then going to the overworld and taking down a threat from the troll army, and repeat. Some of the levels can be extremely annoying to go through due to not knowing enough about where you need to go. The map only shows you where you need to be, but it doesn’t give you the right direction about where to go. I really hate pointing out all of the flaws in this game, but I expected better from Rare.
Overall, it’s one of the more decent games to come out of Rare from the past decade, but it still isn’t worth your time this time around due to better games like Lost Odyssey, Tales of Vesperia, Gunstringer, and Blue Dragon being more worth your time. I would recommend at least renting it to check out one of the more decent games from Rare’s partnership with Microsoft. I could totally see a sequel for this game, but due to Rare not listening to their fans anymore and ONLY working on Kinect now, I can’t really see it happening. I think now is a good time for Rare to sell their Banjo Kazooie, Conker, Kameo, and Battletoads rights to Nintendo or Sony. They would do a much better job for those franchises.
This game gets a 6 out of 10