Saturday, June 26, 2021

TY the Tasmanian Tiger 2: Bush Rescue HD (Xbox One)

Note: This review contains spoilers for TY the Tasmanian Tiger 2: Bush Rescue.

Sometime after the TY the Tasmanian Tiger HD Kickstarter, a survey was sent out to backers, myself included, about what rewards we might want out of a potential TY the Tasmanian Tiger 2: Bush Rescue HD Kickstarter. Sure enough, such a Kickstarter was later announced, which I backed after seeing that Krome Studios was able to deliver on what they promised for the previous game. Unlike the first time, Xbox One was an option right from the start, and so I opted for that under the idea that I would have a more consistent experience to compare with the original Xbox version that I played. After recently receiving my code and getting a chance to play it, I found that Krome was once again able to deliver on their promises, though noticed some technical issues along the way.

The gameplay is more or less intact from the original release, though notably two new Rangs were introduced to the game. The first one, the Camerang, can be purchased in Burramudgee and allows access to a Photo Mode when selected, activated through the Zoom button (LT), and otherwise funtions like a normal Rang. The second, the Craftyrang, can be purchased from Sly and resembles a boomerang made of popsicle sticks that explodes on impact, however they stick themselves to the environment and explode after a short time, which can catch enemies off-guard if used right. Platinum Cogs make a return, however rather than simply being a collectible, they are used as currency to purchase alternative TY and the Fourbie skins, including TY skins based on the backer-exclusive Doomeranger comic and a reference to the infamous Cyberpunk 2077 (CY-2077).

Rather notably, there was a promise of some quality-of-life features to be added to the remaster, such as fast travel and easier treasure hunting, with the caveat that the Kickstarter reach the $225,000 USD stretch goal. Unfortunately, the campaign ended with just under $9K short of this goal, and I will admit that during my playthrough there were times where I wished the fast travel feature had been implemented anyway. As it stands, though, the open world isn’t that unmanageable, and if you get lost in an area, which can be very easy for some, you can always warp straight back to Burramudgee and get back on the road. This also makes the remaster a more faithful experience to the original, good or bad, though I would hope fast travel to be implemented in a hypothetical TY 3 remaster due to how much bigger its map is.

I will admit I didn’t explore the Cart Racing side content in my original review, so I decided to see how well that was done in the remaster by playing each of the seven tracks once. The experience reminded me of Crash Team Racing in a way and I can definitely see how someone might spend a lot of time on this aspect of the game if they were really into kart racers. I’m not sure if this was in the original game or was a result of the remaster or Xbox One port, however I noticed some weird sound mixing where the track BGM would drop to being nigh inaudible, even when no other racers were on the same screen.

After each race, it goes to an online Leaderboard to measure your performance against other racers, despite the lack of online multiplayer functionality, however the Leaderboard caused the game to crash twice on me and boot me back to the Xbox One home screen, both times when I was trying to exit the Leaderboard screen. Two instances out of seven races isn’t too big a percentage, however it’s still enough times to be worth mentioning for those looking forward to the Cart Racing feature. This is also based on me playing the aforementioned races from the main menu rather than from within the game itself, so your mileage may vary there.

As with the TY 1 HD remaster, there is an increased amount of environmental detail, such as additional foliage and background details, that helps bring the Australian outback to life in a way that isn’t constrained by older hardware limitations. I also admit it’s been a while since I played the original release, however I noticed some minor technical issues that may have been carried over. Once such instance is how the entire ocean in Wobbygon Bay instantly disappears and reappears based on the camera angle, likely an old rendering trick, as well as some minor, yet noticeable eye clipping early on in the game. On the upside, much like with TY 1 HD, this remaster also finally introduces a subtitle option, which makes cutscene dialogue much easier to follow (when they aren’t obstructed by Xbox Achievements).

Whether you’ve played the original release or not, TY the Tasmanian Tiger 2: Bush Rescue HD is worth playing for those who have played the original TY the Tasmanian Tiger or its HD counterpart. While it may not have some of the more ideal quality-of-life updates, there’s still enough new features to make it worthwhile even for those who have played the original release. Now to wait for an HD remaster of TY the Tasmanian Tiger 3: Night of the Quinkan to round out the original trilogy.

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