As we draw ever closer to the end of the biggest game release season of the year, Nintendo still has one major title left to spring on the masses: Donkey Kong Country Returns. Developed by Retro Studios, the minds behind the Metroid Prime games, Donkey Kong Country Returns eschews any kind of radical re-interpretation of the source games, opting for reverence rather than revisionism. With the game's November 21, 2010, release date looming, Nintendo has offered up a new look at the big ape in action.
This new trailer takes viewers on a tour through many of the game's environments, from pirate-themed beach fronts to watery underground caverns and beyond. It also highlights the clockwork precision that players will need to master if they plan to make it though some of the more challenging stages in the game. Plus, there is a mine cart level. Take a look at the new trailer for Donkey Kong Country Returns.
The Donkey Kong Country games were never especially easy, though that was often result the series' slippery control as much as it was due to the games' design. Let's hope that aspect has been tightened up for DKCR, because some of the stages in that trailer look truly tough.
Donkey Kong hasn't been the lead character in an all-new console game for roughly five years now, his last major title being the bongo-fueled Donkey Kong Jungle Beat on the GameCube. That was a fascinating, creative game that almost no one played, requiring as it did Nintendo's bongo controller peripheral. The game was ported to the Wii as part of Nintendo's sadly short-lived New Play Control initiative, where it did not fare much better. Nintendo, however, recognized the strength of the team behind the game, and moved them on to greener pastures: the Super Mario Galaxy games.
Still, Donkey Kong Country Returns has a legacy to live up to. The original Donkey Kong Country games were enormously successful and, at the time, graphically stunning. Retro's game grabs a hold of the original's look and runs with it -- DKCR's worlds are appropriately lush, with a cleaner and more modern aesthetic. The game demonstrates once again that, with the right focus, the Wii is capable of producing some vibrant imagery.
Nintendo must have high hopes for Donkey Kong Country Returns, particularly after the staggering success of the similarly styled New Super Mario Bros Wii. Many gamers have Mario-like levels of nostalgia for the SNES Donkey Kong games, and DKCR doesn't suffer from the off-puttingly cute graphics that may have hurt sales of Kirby's Epic Yarn. Indeed, Nintendo has positioned this title as their last Wii game of the holiday season, a vote of confidence if ever there was one.
The lingering question is the game's difficulty. Not to put too fine a point on it, but New Super Mario Bros Wii was not the most challenging outing in the plumber's catalog. Will Donkey Kong Country Returns be too taxing for the casual Wii crowd? Or will Nintendo, once again, have tuned the game for the widest possible audience? What do you think?
Donkey Kong Country Returns releases November 21, 2010, exclusively for the Nintendo Wii.