GAME NAME: Rayman Legends
PLATFORM(S): PS4, Xbox One, (Originally on PS3, PC, Wii U, Xbox 360)
RELEASE DATE(S): February 21st, 2014
PlayStation 3 – Rayman Legends (Original Review by Dawid Venter)
Think back to when you were a child. Chances are good that a weekend could not come quick enough for you and your buddies to jump on your bicycles and go riding. The week leading up to that moment dragged on, but once you were out on the road with your friends, you felt at home. It would be an occasion that made that week’s wait worth every wheelie, wheelspin and endo. Such a moment, or at least that very same feeling, is now tantalisingly close for many a gamer. Rayman Legends is about to launch and believe me when I tell you that it will bring the child out in you like no other game this year.
Rayman and friends, now including a new lady by the name of Barbara the Viking, return once again to take you and your co-op buddies on an adventure of a lifetime; an adventure so fantastical that it somehow manages to make Rayman Origins seem rather dull and ordinary. First things first – Rayman Legends is a kaleidoscope of colours and fuzzy wuzzy visuals that’s sure to please your eyes. Backdrops now feature moving parts and not just a scrolling piece of static art. The detail on the characters and overall animation is straight out of a Pixar movie. And you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything else anywhere near as artistic this generation as Legends.
While I could endlessly tell you all about the beauty to behold within and throughout the game, we all know that when it comes to platformers in particular, it’s all about the gameplay. And I’m happy to report that not only are the mechanics tight and precise, but that they ooze genius. Each and every level has something new for you to discover. In one stage, you’ll be running, jumping, swinging, swimming and hitting your way from point A to B; the next level will have you shooting fists like a side-scrolling shooter; then you’re gliding a vertical stage with your propeller-like ears; and before you know it, you’re a duck making your way through a stage made of cake. In terms of variety, Rayman Legends has it in spades, and the developers have seriously outdone themselves. The boundaries of “WTF were they smoking?! I LOVE THEM!” have been broken.
Another big change in Rayman Legends comes in the form of Murphy, a little fly that looks something like a frog. His original inclusion came about because of the Wii U Gamepad, but instead of touching the screen, for the PS3 release at least, you’ll now be pressing the circle button in time with him, in order to coerce him into acting on-screen. Some stages are littered with obstacles that require Murphy to help you make a path. This means that you’re controlling your character as well as Murphy – some serious multitasking is required. He’ll chomp away at the sponge within the cake of the previously mentioned, and fantastic sounding, cake level, cut vines in half to help you swing from one point to the next or just help you move objects about. He’s really helpful, but in the latter stages, it becomes just about impossible to manage both him and your character. You can’t help but feel and notice that a touch-screen gamepad would have been the better choice, and a more capable choice for controlling Murphy, when you can’t use touch mechanics, is needed. Furthermore, on the Wii U version, you’ll encounter areas that require the use of the gyroscope to turn things whereby on the PS3 you press L1 or R1. So why not use the Sixaxis?
However, issues aside, that shouldn’t mean we don’t give Ubisoft credit where credit is due. While some players felt left out in the cold for seven months, waiting Wii U owners to be precise, the developers have made sure to use the time to squash as much extra content on the disc as they can, and it’s likely you don’t really need anything else for the rest of the year. It will literally keep you going for months. Rayman Legends is packed with five very unique worlds in a gallery-like menu system. Your aim, in each stage, is to collect Lums – little floating collectable thingies and Tweenies (little guys stuck in cages). Tweenies are generally hidden throughout the stage with a panicking ‘Help!’ making you aware of their nearby presence. Collect enough Lums and Tweenies and you’re awarded with a Bronze, Silver or Gold cup, as well as a Lucky Ticket.
The Lucky Ticket is basically a scratch card that unlocks new creatures, bonus Lums and remastered levels of Rayman Origins. Yes, you read that right. MORE RAYMAN ORIGINS! There’s also a challenge area where you’re tasked to finish a stage as quickly as you can to get your time up on the online leaderboard. Here’s where it gets popping bubble-wrap levels of addictive. And for those that battle to cope with the increased difficulty, the game nearly instantaneously reloads the level and so retrying it isn’t that frustrating. What’s more is that if you’re in the mood for some extra offline multiplayer action, you can take your frustration out on one of the best extra mini-games in years – Kungfoot. Up to four players (two per side) play a game of football whereby you punch each other in order to shoot a goal. It’s punch-in-the-air satisfying!
So, is there anything wrong with this jewel? Well, if you don’t plan to buy the Wii U or the (two-week delayed) Vita version, you’re basically getting a potentially inferior version as the gamepad integration for Murphy is much more precise and interactive than merely pressing a circle button when time allows. In fact, it makes such a difference that if you’re planning on buying the Wii U version, be sure to add another five percent to this score.
There’s so much more to touch on and talk about when it comes to Rayman Legends, such as time trials, the music stages, the ingenious boss battles and small things like short cuts in the menu system that makes the overall experience seamless. There is so much more meat in the campaign, but telling you that would spoil a game you simply have to buy. Who needs bicycles when you have Rayman Legends?
PlayStation 4 – Rayman Legends
Is there anything better in the world of gaming, or just the world in general, than a brilliantly designed 2D platformer? Well there may be, but they are few and far between, and Rayman Legends pushes the argument right into the corner and favour of the platformer.
As is now our new format for remakes, the gist of Rayman Legends can be seen above in Dawid’s initial review of the game on PS3. My job is to tell you about its move to the PS4, and, of course, whether the game is as good as Dawid seems to think it is.
Let’s deal with the easy bit first, describing what exactly is different about the PS4 version of Rayman Legends. The answer is not a whole lot really. The game plays almost exactly the same as on the other platforms, except the visuals are just a little bit sharper. While the previous version were beautifully animated in their own right, the PS4 version is a little clearer and a little bit more refined, even to the naked eye. Is this a game changing addition? Probably not, but if you have the option, it’s most likely going to be the prettier one isn’t it?
So the graphics are better, however slightly, but the game also includes a few extras, sadly none of which are exactly life altering. The PS4 version has a few extra unlockables, in terms of skins, which you can use as your characters, and there’s a nice surprise for Assassin’s Creed fans. For those that are unsure, the character you use does nothing to change the gameplay and is purely an aesthetic addition.
Apart from the extra skins, there is very little differentiating this version from the others. There is a new camera mode in which you can use the touchpad to zoom in and out and share a perfect picture of Rayman and his surroundings. And you can use the touch pad to scratch those lucky tickets. Other than that, Ubisoft have pretty much provided the exact same game, in all its glory. That isn’t a bad thing at all, but if you own the game already, you’re unlikely to purchase it again as the differences are subtle at most.
That said, if you haven’t played the game already, you owe it to yourself to get it and play it. It’s hard to believe how much joy can be derived from one single game, and not the kind of joy we get from a serious game, but rather that innocent joy we seem to find as kids. It’s a credit to the work of Michel Ancel and the Ubisoft team to realise what it is that makes us feel happy and warm inside. And that is portrayed perfectly through this game.
Everything is perfectly placed, from the wonderful animation in the backgrounds to the brilliant level design and difficulty gradient. It’s all so purposeful in bringing that feeling of joy. And then you get the music levels, which are probably the best gaming levels I have ever come across in my gaming life. I have had the music stuck in my head since I played them.
Even the normal levels are nothing short of brilliant. Each with its own unique design and idea behind it, clever boss battles, running and jumping sequences and little hidden areas. You, once again, have the option of daily challenges to compete in, inlcuding the Rayman Origins levels, if you so wish, and the multiplayer Kung Foot.
While everything is mostly the same in Rayman Legends, I must just make special mention of the 8-bit music based levels, which are unlocked once you have enough of those Teensies. These levels are remixed in the most bizarre, yet satisfying way. They will hurt your eyes, mess with your brain and make you go mad. But finish the level, and I can assure you it is one of the most gratifying experiences in gaming history. You NEED to play these levels.
In conclusion, if you have played Rayman Legends already, and own it on another platform, there is almost no reason to buy this version of the game. However, if you have not played it and don’t own it, then you might as well go for the new version of the game. It is slightly cheaper than the other PS4 new releases (thankfully), is incredible value for money and is a game you simply cannot miss.