The sisters are back.
Giana Sisters is an interesting title. Dig back deep enough and savvy gamers will discover that this series originated from the Commodore 64, and was pushed aside due to its familiarity with a certain plumber from a small company called Nintendo. Well the series has recently had a resurgence on PC and consoles, and now Xbox One owners can snag what is being dubbed the Director’s Cut. This version consists of the original release and expansion pack, as well as some holiday-themed levels tossed in for good measure. There are also a host of improvements, all for the same price as the original release.
My colleague Dave has already exhausted the first two releases of the game in review form. For details about Giana Sisters and Rise of the Owlverlord, be sure to check out his reviews. This review will focus mainly on what has changed from those titles.
Platforms: Xbox One
Price I’d Pay: $14.99
The most obvious change is the amount of content. The Xbox One version plays host to all the original game, the expansion and the themed levels. There is an abundance of content to be found here, including tons of levels and challenges. The only omission is the leader boards, which never seemed to work right on Xbox 360 anyways, but it does eliminate the usefulness of the Time Attack mode.
Another big addition is the Normal difficulty mode. This alters the game in several ways, such as making certain sections easier. The cool part is that it isn’t just arbitrary things like making enemies do less damage, but instead altering sections of levels such as removing obstacles or instant death devices. It really tones down an otherwise super challenging experience. It is nice for those that don’t have the patience to memorize platforms and sections.
There are also a host of other changes that make this feel like more than a port job to bring another title to the system. For example the addition of Normal mode, as well as a fully-fleshed out tutorial that teaches more about the switching systems. There is also now a gem counter for each stage, which eliminates the guesswork involved with knowing how many each stage has. Finally, any world can be tackled at any time, so if I got bored of the original game, I could jump to Owlverlord without having to unlock it.
These are all minor changes, but ones that make the overall package feel more polished and accessible.
Coming to Xbox One also delivers a more pristine coat of pain. The game definitely looks sharper, and the level and character design benefit from that. This has always been a great looking game, but with a higher resolution and more stable frame rate it shines even more. I loved the designs of the holiday levels, and the new enemy types in Owlverlord give it variety that it desperately lacked in the original.
There are a lot of Xbox 360 games making their way onto Microsoft’s new console, but most don’t offer up this amount of care put into them. Giana Sisters is a better game on Xbox One, and worthy of the often misused title of Director’s Cut. For those that have not ventured into this world, the time is perfect to jump in, and even for those that sampled it before, this is certainly a version worth coming back for.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.