Review: Rayman Legends
Title: Rayman Legends
Platform: Xbox One (reviewed courtesy of Xbox), PlayStation 4, PC, Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Release Date: February 18th, 2014 (Xbox One, PlayStation 4)
Tagline: The character with no arms steals the show once again with charm and fantastic platforming
Family Friendly: Click here for more information.
Verdict: Buy it Already
It would have been simple for Ubisoft to put together a sequel to the brilliant Rayman Origins, just changing a few things here and there and selling it for a hot $60. Instead, Ubisoft Montpellier has gone out of their way to create a fresh new take for the armless wonder in Rayman Legends. This new title pushes the series in new and inventive directions, without crushing players when the difficulty starts to ramp up.
Changing things up is main focus behind Rayman Legends. Instead of treading the same ground, we get levels that are creative, unique and most importantly, fun to play to perfection. Levels will take you through lush forests, submerged levels, long sprints and so much more. Each new area will introduce new mechanics subtly, so you are never feeling pressured or overwhelmed by the new items. The penalties for dying are pretty slim and the best thing here is that if you mess up and die, you are quickly back into the game due to its very generous checkpoint system.
With six worlds to visit and what seems to be an endless supply of levels in each, it would be easy to not want to think about the look of the game but Rayman Legends is another masterpiece created in the Ancel engine. Each theme, every piece of a level and right down to the enemies you fight are so beautifully crafted. Everything seems to have been hand drawn and animated giving you a game is a joy to look at. Many times, I would find myself distracted by watching what was going on around me, rather than the impending death that I was heading towards because it is a fun to look at all the work put into animating the game.
It is not just the idea of there being so much individuality or beauty in Rayman Legends, but just how much fun you have experiencing the game no matter what is happening. It constantly gives you new challenges, new enemies, new ways to look at platforming. It never seems to overwhelm and yet, there is a constant flood to the senses with feeling different. Normally throwing this much game at a person is more about making up for the lack of clever design, but here, it seems to be more about just adding a deeper and richer experience for the player. I mean, there are dozens upon dozens of levels to unlock and play and it never feels tired or reductive.
You don’t exactly get access to all of this great content from the start as you have to unlock most of it via the collection of Teensies. These little creatures have been captured and imprisoned and one of your main goals beyond survival is collecting these guys by setting them free. As you collect more of the Teensies in the levels, the more new levels you gain access to in Rayman Legends. While you can collect a fair amount of these just through normal level progression, the challenge lies in finding every little nook and cranny of a level to get the hard to miss Teensies. And hidden they can be as most levels will have one to two hidden areas that will most definitely have Teensies hiding it them. Collecting these Teensies also gives the player a reason to find a rhythm to nail capturing all of them while finishing the level.
Rayman Legends has so many wonderful components that it is hard to really find a major fault in the game, but my biggest complaint is not so much in the game, but in the idea that the Xbox One version doesn’t really add anything more to the experience. Sure, it looks gorgeous on the new console, but the game looks incredible on any of the platforms it has been released on. And some of the more clever puzzles have lost a bit in translation from the Wii U version of the game, mainly because of the lack of a touchpad controller. None of these are major complaints, but if you are buying this on the Xbox One because you want to see some eye popping visuals, it doesn’t give anything more for the premium of the system.
Of course, these are trivial issues, and the amazing value that you get for your dollar in Rayman Legends is amazing. It’s like a fine gourmet dish, packs with equal servings of charm, unique environments, challenging levels and tons of content. Better still is that it is not a team cashing in on the success of their previous title, but driving forward with new ideas and rewarding content for anyone that decides to pick it up.
- Unique and fun environments
- Hundreds of levels to explore
- Great checkpoint system minimizes dying
- There is a lot of dying
- A bit of frustration can set in with some levels
- It is a bit overwhelming with everything you can do in the game
Rayman Legends is about as safe as it can get when it comes to a game for all ages. What little violence there is has been done comically, and there is no imagery that will offend the younger players. There might be some frustration for younger kids with some of the harder levels, but with parental assistance, this could be a family entertainment experience.