Rayman Legends – review
We should know now for fact that a return to the roots and simple solutions may be better than the pursuit of new technologies and photo-realistic 3D graphics. Rayman Legends, just like two years ago Rayman Origins is strongly inspired by the original 1995 Rayman and although the second and third installments were created in full 3D and they were really good games, it seems to me that Rayman series feels best as a 2D platformer – mostly because of the great cooperative gameplay – but more on that in a moment.
Rayman Legends is a sequel to Origins with the events of both games being divided into one hundred years break which Rayman and the rest of his crew have spent sleeping. But more and more nightmares appeared in the world, so Bubble Dreamer ordered our friend Murfy to wake them up and encourage to fight. So that’s how more or less the game’s story looks like plus there is a new companion – a red-haired warrior – Barbara. The main plot is not so visible, because it’s the project of the world and creators’ ideas that are the most important.
And there are a lot of new worlds in that game, and everyone of them in a different era or subject matter. We have the middle ages, ancient Greece, or a world that most definitely was inspired by the Jules Verne’s most famous novel. If that’s not enough, there are 40 extra levels from Rayman Origins, all of them remastered to High Definition. Overall, the game is prettier, less cartoony and more fairytale like. A unique sense of humor was also preserved and is displayed in virtually every element of the scenery or sound and smiles that cover up most of the screen could reflect how the players in front of the monitor look like while playing. Sounds fun.
Rayman Legends is certainly not an innovation in the genre of 2D platform games, but it is definetely very dynamic and diverse. In addition to the standard jumping parts we have some stealthy levels acompanied with some James Bond like music, or we have to for example eat cake to break through a cake world, literaly. But what I liked the most, were the music levels, and I guess I’m not alone in that statement. A combination of rhythm and platform games is a great solution – the player just flows through the level and almost automatically presses the right buttons in the rhythm of some well known songs.
We can also not forget about quite demanding, but nicely designed boss battles – whether it’s a huge masked wrestler, or a mechanical dragon. All in all Rayman Legends is a pretty difficult game – and we could say the same about Origins. The level of difficulty rises gradually from the trouble-free passing, all the way to frustrating moments. However, it is difficult to get mad at the game when just a moment to think before some more difficult sequences is enough. Sometimes you just need to let go of the button responsible for the sprinting or simply stop and wait for a second. Fortunately, Legends is slightly less frustrating than Origin, because there are much more checkpoints on the way.
In my opinion, the most important element of the game is the cooperative mode. Four players (or even five in the Wii U version
or when you connect PS3 with PS Vita) can explore the worlds together, scoring points, which then unlock new skins for the characters, and solving puzzles that require more than one player. Players can enter or exit the game at any time, and if someone dies, someone else has to touch his dead body to bring him back to the game.
It is hard to not compare Rayman Legends to Little Big Planet, but really, the biggest similarity of both of these games can be found in a well executed cooperation mode. A novelty is the presence of a flying frog Murfy, who can be controlled by one of the players by using a touchscreen or can be steered by AI and one button to activate Murfy’s actions. However, his role is crucial in many moments, because he can cut ropes, move platforms, tickle enemies to soften them up, or eat that previously mentioned cake.
Between adventures in the main worlds you can try your luck at special, invaided by opponents micro levels. They involve extreme agility, because you have only one life, no checkpoints, and a timer – the results are published in a global ranking.
For dessert, developers have prepared something for relaxation in the form of Kung Foot, that is a very simplified football mini game. We jump, kick and score goals. It’s not FIFA, but despite its simplicity it can suck you to the screen for some time.
Rayman Legends, well it’s a 9 out of 10. First of all, the art design deserves applause cause it’s the quality in itself. Secondly, this is a great sequel which lasts for a long time, and I’m not even talking about the time it takes to max all the levels out. Thirdly, the gameplay was expanded with a large number of new ideas in relation to the previous game, and the fourth, and probably the most important – playing with more than one friend has never been so enjoyable and convenient. We should also thank someone up there, for that this game was released not only on Wii U – a good decision.