Rayman Legends – Game Analysis and Review
By Dan Maurer
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Director: Michel Ancel
Producers: Abdelhak Elguess, Pierre-Arnaud Lambert
Composers: Christophe Héral, Billy Martin
Engine: UbiArt Framework
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Xbox 360
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Modes: Single-player, co-op
To start off, this game in loaded with fun. That won’t come as much of a surprise to anyone who played Rayman Origins, which was one of 2011’s best games and an unlikely return to form for a character most had written off several years ago. Michael Ancel and his team at Montpellier studio haven’t reinvented the wheel, but what they’ve done is take an already wonderful wheel and polished it into something remarkable. Like the previous game, this is a 2D platformer in unashamedly classic style, delivering a constant stream of gameplay gold. Every jump is a test, every obstacle is a trial. Some must be tackled at speed, others allow you to think your way around them. All have been designed so that it’s never as simple as a hop up staircase-shaped platforms. You’ll float, swim, glide and sprint past spikes and flames, and you’ll fail. Quite often actually. You’ll feel that familiar frustration, the same feeling you got from every other side scrolling adventure of notable mention, but you’ll know that it’s not the game that’s at fault. It’s your timing, your sluggish reaction, or your panic that let you down.
There’s not much here in the way of story. A bunch of Teensies, tiny blue people with huge noses have been kidnapped by nightmares come to life. Still, the minimal narrative is enough of a foundation to keep you moving from stage to stage. There are multiple worlds to take on, each with a dozen or more themed levels full of collectible Lums and hidden Teensies to save. In addition to these, you’ll find daily and weekly challenges tied to online leaderboards, tons of characters to unlock, and an immensely addictive soccer mini-game that will siphon hours of your life without you even knowing, and if all that wasn’t enough, a sizable number of remastered stages from Rayman Origins are ready to be discovered all over again. At first, you’ll be overwhelmed by how much there is to do, and Legends’ initially-confusing interface doesn’t really help you parse through that barrage of information. Frequent pop-up notifications try to pull you in a dozen directions at once, urging you to check out everything on offer without establishing what is and is not a part of the “main” game. It takes awhile to get your bearings, but you’ll be blown away by the sheer variety of content once you do.
This is the area of the game that shines. Multiplayer can be fun and chaotic at the same time, as multiple characters jump around on screen to help you complete levels and the tasks at hand. All versions of the game support 4 player co-op with the exception of the Wii-U, which supports 5 players with the Gamepad. The Wii-U version also supports off TV play on the Gamepad. With more than 80 levels of mind-numbing action, it’s a fun side scrolling game that will keep you coming back for more.
Rayman Legends is as beautiful of a game as it is fun as a game. The backgrounds and characters pop out at you especially in 1080p. The Wii-U version definitely is the more superior version here as not only is the detail more refined in this version, it also looks just as good playing it off screen on the Gamepad. Nothing sticks out as out of the ordinary and everything blends seamlessly.
If you are a fan of great platform games with plenty of content and challenge, I highly recommend Rayman Legends for you. It’s a challenge and a pleasure to play at the same time, and even at $60 you still feel like you robbed the bank and got a deal of a lifetime on value.
PunchDrunkGamer Score: 9.5 out of 10
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