Published on September 19th, 2013 | by Chris Scott0
Rayman Legends Review
Summary: Rayman Legends continues the fine legacy set forth by Origins, giving players a fantastic 2D platforming experience that is filled with challenge but is rarely frustrating.
Two years ago, Ubisoft released one of the best 2D platformers of this generation, Rayman Origins. While a great game, its release window put it up against some of the most anticipated games of Holiday 2011, relegating the title to status as an afterthought in most people’s minds. Over time, the game did find an audience, and a sequel was eventually announced. That sequel, Rayman Legends, was originally meant to be a WiiU exclusive title that came out earlier this year. Yet, after poor sales of the console and its software, publisher Ubisoft pulled the safety cord, delayed the title half the year and announced plans to release the game on nearly everything.
That decision robbed WiiU owners of a much needed piece of prime software earlier this year but it also ensured that the game would be playable on nearly every current system, opening up the potential player base to millions of more people. And that’s a really good thing because Rayman Legends is a great game, overflowing with 2D platforming goodness that should please any fan of the genre.
The core of Rayman Legends puts players in control of Rayman and his pals as they attempt to cleanse five, uniquely-themed worlds of an evil menace that has kidnapped the peaceful Teensies. At first only one world is available to Rayman but as he saves more and more Teensies in each level, more and more worlds and levels will become unlocked. This systems is very similar to how Rayman Origins unlocked its levels but, unlike Origins, I never had to go back and grind out Teensies to unlock the core levels of the game. This allowed for a more natural flow of progression in the game and an overall less frustrating experience.
In fact, everything about Rayman Legends is designed to provide a friendlier, more organic experience to the end user than its predecessor did. The game sincerely wants you to progress and consistently gives rewards to push you forward. Whether it be in the form of new level and world unlocks, characters, challenges, or prizes, Rayman Legends always made me feel that I was progressing towards something.
Of course none of that would matter if the platforming was a let down. In Rayman Legends, it is anything but. Just like Origins, Legends has some incredible level design that is paired with pinpoint precision handling to deliver a great platforming experience. Legends can at points be quite hard and that difficulty resulted in some gaming frustration. However, the game never felt unfair and due to a generous checkpointing system on most levels, I was always tossed directly back into the action near where I last died.
Without this checkpointing system, I would have been incredibly more frustrated by certain levels and can guarantee that my enjoyment of the game would have suffered because of it.This was never more evident than in the special rhythm levels that unlock after you finish out a world boss. These levels are, hands down, the best in the game but they require constant motion and precise button presses to certain points in the beat. Being even a fraction of a second off in a button press can result in your death but thankfully the checkpoint system allows will throw you back into the action near where you last died making for a far more enjoyable level.
While the game is available on a variety of platforms, those versions aren’t all precisely the same. The WiiU version, for instance, has specific touch-based mechanics that take advantage of the gamepad controller. I personally found these instances rather lacking as they took me out of direct control over the situation, forcing me to interact with the environment instead of traverse it. These sections are different on the systems with no touch controls and, while they can sometimes be a bit more challenging than other levels, they also are more fun than the WiiU version. Still, even with those annoying touch-based sections, the WiiU version was the one I spent most of my time with as the ability to play directly on the gamepad was a perfect feature to allow me to watch football while playing at the same time.
Rayman Legends looks and sounds great but, much like the level design and spot on controls, it was all to be expected. What wasn’t expected was Legends including an entire remixed Origins campaign that was unlocked via special scratch off tickets (which are actually scratched off on the WiiU by doing a scratching motion). It’s a shame that this is how these levels are unlocked because they are still amazingly fun to play. Having to grind for tickets that may or may not give you a level can be something of a chore. Still, their inclusion in the package is a nice touch and gives that much more to an already packed title.
Rayman Legends continues the fine legacy set forth by Origins, giving players a fantastic 2D platforming experience that is filled with challenge but is rarely frustrating. Fans of the genre owe it to themselves to play it because it is in many ways one of the best around.
Note: This review was partially written with material received from the publisher. For more on our review process, please read here.