Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Platform: PC, Xbox 360, Wii U, PS3, PS Vita
Rayman Legends was supplied to us
Excellent platforming with a gorgeous art style makes Rayman Legends the sequel worthy of following Rayman Origins.
Rayman Legends was originally intended as a Wii U exclusive and it wasn’t until right before it’s slated release date that Ubisoft decided it was going to hold the Wii U version and port it to other platforms to be released all together over six months later. Much to my surprise, getting regular controller support was the best thing to happen to the game.
Chaotic, fast and always fun is how I would describe the core mechanics of Rayman Legends. Players move the character left to right while collecting flying yellow bug like creatures called Lums. The running and jumping always handle well and when something goes wrong it is almost always clear what happened. In Origins players traversed through a world building up different powers like the ability to hover and swim, but in Legends all of these mechanics come into play right from the start. The game starts out simple but has a steady ramp to complex and genuinely challenging levels.
What is new to Legends is the addition of the Murphy levels. On the Wii U and Vita versions players stop controlling the platforming and instead start manipulating the platforms themselves while a computer controlled character navigates the platforms. Sliding boxes, opening paths and stunning enemies. This is a boring, overly simplified experience when played alone. When engaged in multiplayer one person is in charge of the platforming while the other handles the environment, this is clearly the way it was meant to be played. Teamwork is critical, and being able to anticipate your partner’s moves will save many lives.
The levels designed for touch are included into the PS3, 360 and PC versions of the game with a modification to the controls that make the single player experience much more thought intensive. Having to concentrate on the platforming while manipulating the platforms (with the simple touch of a button) requires more focus than just doing one or the other by itself. When I first played these levels on the 360 I was a little off put, but after progressing the game further I found myself enjoying them with a regular controller over their touchscreen counterparts.
In addition to the Murphy Levels, Legends also introduces music based rhythm levels. Each world in the game has one of these stages that can be unlocked for play. The game takes the player through a forced scrolling level where attacking and jumping are all based around the song playing. These songs levels are either a charming, cover recorded (like Black Betty, and Eye of the Tiger) or song uniquely composed for Legends.
What makes Legends stand apart from other games is the complexity in it’s 2D art style. The hand drawn environments give a satisfying sense of depth to the world, and Legends is often throwing players through these different layers. There are some polygonal models in the form of boss battles, but these are well designed and cell shaded to give that same cartoon-like style. In addition the the art following suit from Origins, Legends also has a brilliant original score filled with enough kazoos to force a smile onto your face.
The content in Legends is more extensive than the previous game and even includes 40 levels from Origins that have been remastered visually and mechanically to make them feel like they belong in Legends. Unlockable Lum-generating pets and a variety of characters and levels to unlock for a very lengthy experience. Ubisoft has also included daily & weekly challenge modes which let players to compete in leaderboards and play some never ending stages to challenge the most hardcore.
The Final Word
Rayman Legends is a game that deserves to be played by everyone. The art style and music are some of my favorite from this generation, and compliment each other outstandingly. If you are looking to get the best experience grab the 360 or PS3 version, but the Vita and Wii U versions are only slightly inferior. The extensive amount of content will make sure you lose yourself for days.
– MonsterVine Rating: 5 out of 5 – Excellent