Reviewing a HD re-release of any game is difficult. Our jobs, as critics, is not to review the game again; unless the developers went out of their way to redesign it. Instead, we flick through endless menus, test out the games, and see if the ports are well enough designed.  The only time we would actually be required to play the game is if its been so long since we last played it, or we have never played it before at all.
In a collection as large as Rare Replay, it would be difficult to replay each game and still release a review in a timely manner. However, with most journalists growing up playing Rare games, the rushed play through of the game(s) can be avoided.

In Rare Replay, the HD Collection is one that most people would remember playing if they gamed at all in the 90’s and earl 2000’s. Although a few of the games are missing, notably those with copyright issues (Goldeneye, Diddy Kong Racing, And Donkey Kong 64) the collection itself is still impressive. With 30 Rare games, most of which receiving close to perfect scores from critics, its difficult to even consider giving this collection a less then perfect score.

It is quite clear from the time that you load up Rare Replay what kind of an impact the company Rare has had on gaming. Several memorable characters flash across the screen in a fancy new opening, and the collection, I guarantee you, does the games justice.

Adding to the already amazing games created by Rare is nostalgia. It is a critic’s job to be as objective as possible when reviewing any product, and although having many previous play through of these games(either partial or full) may help come out with a timely review, it becomes more difficult to be critical of these games. Games that, in the case of Banjo-Kazooie, were largely replayed in my house. So either watching these games or playing them through, they will always remain fresh in my memory.

As important as remembering the effect nostalgia will take on the collection’s review is, it is equally important to talk about some of the other features found in Rare Replay. Boasting a 50gb install onto your Xbox One, the collection itself must install – followed by each game that was on the Xbox 360; either as a port or a game that was native to the 360. Firmware updates will also follow once you launch the game, and are likely to increase in size as time goes on. You should expect to wait a considerable amount of time before loading up the game for the first time.

That being said, installing games is now necessary on the current generation of consoles. The slow speeds of the optical drive, on top of the size of games, makes it impossible to keep the insert-and-play style of gaming previously seen. For that reasoning alone, you cannot fault the software developers where the hardware developers are at err.

The menus for Rare Replay are easy to navigate, and pretty self explanatory – except how to get back into the main menu from inside one of the games. Although I’m pretty sure I missed the instructions on my first load up of a game. Due to excitement of playing Conker’s Bad Fur Day on something other then a emulator, I quickly dismissed most messages given to me.

When you load up Conker’s Bad Fur Day, you are given a warning for the crude humor inside the game. Conker’s Bad Fur Day, which was notorious for being one of Rares more edgy games, has an awkward art-themed border around it if you choose to leave it enabled. Disabling it gives you a black bar on either side of the screen, which although not the best looking, is far superior to having creepy cartoon characters stare into your soul while you play through the game. Not to mention it physically puts the game inside of a box, not allowing it to blow up to its largest size available. I disabled the art sides on all games as soon as I figured out how to. (I’ll give you a tip, its in the options for Rare Replay itself)

As you continue to progress from game to game, beating several challenges that are given to you, you’ll unlock stamps. The higher level you get, and the more stamps you collect, the more bonus material you unlock.The bonus material is separated into a few different categories: Unheard music, unpublished games, concept art, and a section devoted to the history of Rare and how the company came to be.

Although that content itself is interesting to look at, if you’ve played through most of Rares games in the past, it’ll be a little disappointing that you have to play them all extensively again to see the content. Thats not to say these games are not worth beating again, but I’d love to take a look at some of the unannounced games, or even listen to some of the unreleased soundtracks, before I load up the Banjo-Kazooie Franchise for the who knows what time.

This isn’t in anyway a factor that should steer you away from Rare Replay, and the content is something I will continue to look forward to while replaying the games. Replay is literally in the title, so I’m not sure how much of an impact you can allow unlocking content through replaying games to have on your opinion of the collection.

If you’ve never loaded up a Rare game before in your life (which, is a little disappointing) then Rare Replay will give you amazing value. Even the newer titles, Viva Pinata, Kameo, and dare I say it – Banjo Kazooie Nuts & Bolts – are worth playing.

Any Rare fan will attest to the beautiful collection of games, and some of the only titles missing (as previously mentioned) are out due to legal reasons. Diddy Kong Racing, Donkey Kong 64, and Golden Eye are some of the great titles you’ll have to pick up second hand and play on the N64. Thankfully Conker’s Bad Fur Day, which is over $80+ online, is included in the Rare Replay collection.

Although there is nothing that will beat the nostalgia of blowing into your cartridge (did this actually help?) before inserting it into the console, Rare Replay creates a convenient one disc system for anyone looking to enjoy the games once again. The ports for Rare Replay are some of the best you will experience. There are little to no flaws contained in the games, with any changes performed by Rare being for the better.

In the end, regardless of whether you have played or owned Rare games in the past, the collection will give you bang for your buck. All of the extra features in the collection is simply icing on top of the cake.

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