Conker Live and Uncut is finished. After years of development Rare has finally finished their last Xbox game for this generation and it's not even a brand new game but rather a complete remake of an under sold N64 title. However it does have one major change and that is online play via Live which we recently got to check out across a number of maps and game modes. The single player of Conker is looking mighty fine as it is, but the multiplayer will be key to the success of the title and thus far it's looking, in the words of Conker, "awesome".
The game is divided into a number of game modes but we only got to check out two; a team based class game which was very much like Team Fortress Classic and a mode which was very much like a sports game where you have to move a ball from the middle to your opponent's goal. The second became a lot more popular as time wore on because we knew how to play it. The other mode is very much like a Tribes style play with objectives having to be done such as turning on switches and destroying something to win the match.
One problem we did run into during the game was the balance of teams. Most of these maps are designed for up to sixteen players, but we only had four on each team so finding opponents was sometimes difficult. Also on some maps we just couldn't figure out the objective but considering this was not final code and had no manual it can be excused. One thing which is very cool about the game is that it has cut scenes for multiplayer which play out depending on who wins as well as a narrated introduction for each level. These we're all played out with Rare's typical attention to detail and came as quite a surprise, although we can see them becoming repetitive.
When you first start the game you are tasked with choosing from a number of classes. There is quite a number to select from and you can choose to set a balance so there is a limit to how many people can use each class. You will find destroyers, snipers, pyros, infantry and spies amongst the classes and each have their own positives and negatives. During the games we played most people went for the destroyer class which seems to be a little too powerful against other classes. However we also checked out the pyro and sniper which all offered unique playstyles. The way to play will be to have a number of each class to really use a strategy such as snipers covering destroyers as they go in for big hits.
The maps we played were quite varied and seem to continue the movie theme that the single player game has. We played maps based on Star Wars and war movies which were quite cool, especially the replica millennium falcon and rebel soldiers. The maps are highly detailed and offer many things to do and see as you play the game and although the ball level was one big tunnel, it offered the most exciting and enthralling gameplay.
The graphics do take a hit in the multiplayer game but Rare still has a lot of detail crammed into the mode. The animation of the characters has to be seen to be believed with ears drooping in tandem with feet and the weapon animations are fully realized, with characters pulling guns off the back and replacing them in holsters again. One issue which does not impress us was the lack of a quick grenade button, instead you have to switch, throw and switch back. In the middle of combat this is not a fun thing to do. The sound effects for multiplayer are pretty much the same as single player except Conkers foul mouth is no where to be seen which is a disappointment. It would have been cool to see soldiers swearing like troopers ('scuse the pun) when they get hit.
Conker Live and Uncut will probably be one of the best Xbox games this year and while Rare may have taken forever and a day to make, the wait should be worth it. It will also be a sad day for Microsoft as this will be the final first party game shipped for Xbox. Will this harm consumer confidence in the 360 lifespan? time will tell.