Wednesday 11 September 2013

Rayman Legends Review (PS3)

Rayman Origins was a rousing return to the limbless hero’s 2D roots. A breath of fresh air upon release, it was cruelly ignored by large numbers of gamers who overlooked its colourful style and anarchic reverence for the something more familiar, possibly containing guns.

Now it’s the turn of Rayman legends to attempt to spread joy to a wider range of gamers. Starting life as a Wii U exclusive the game is now hitting pretty much everywhere and it’s lucky for anyone without a Wii U that it is because this is one of the best platformers to grace any system for years.

The game has Rayman and an assortment of friends leaping into action after the bubble dreamer had some very bad dreams and conjured up a whole host of nasty creatures. What this means is our heroes must leap around an assortment of fairy tale and fantasy themed worlds, rescue some teensies and princesses’ and defeat the evil dark teensies to save the day.

If Origins was a touch on the crazy side then Legends is full lunacy with the different themed worlds offering up all sorts of opportunities for creative levels and large amounts of silly fun. Every world stays consistent to its theme throughout and takes in everything from classic medieval legends to Cinco de Mayo. There are also a number of nods to other video games and films such as Bioshock and Star Wars. Everything is implemented brilliantly and the quality never drops. The game has also had pretty much all of the rough edges removed that were found in Origins. The most obvious of these is the difficulty and fairness of levels. Certain stages in origins fell into the trap of being memory tests, this is rarely the case in legends and as a result the feeling of fun and enjoyment is kept to a maximum. That isn’t to say legends isn’t a challenging game, it’s just not as unfair as Origins.

The main bulk of the games levels split themselves into a few different styles. There’s the standard platform and swimming levels, levels where you run from or after something and the odd stage which turns into a sort of side scrolling shooter with Rayman floating around in jet streams. Each world also has a boss fight at the end. Each of these is unique and loses much of the instant deaths and frustration of the encounters in Origins. One of the best of these is a fight against a giant Mexican wrestler beating a huge drum which sends you flying up into the air.

Once the boss of each world is vanquished you can enter the music level. These stages are a straight run to the finish but take the form of a semi-rhythm action game with jumps and attacks needing to be implemented with precision in order to avoid death. Each of these is a highlight and a great way for players to end each of the worlds. 

The game is also absolutely filled to brim with content. Aside from sizable six main worlds to complete there are also a host of redesigned levels from the Origins to play through as well. Invasion levels also unlock as you progress which see’s you having tor ace through a remixed stage to rescue three teensies strapped to fireworks. If you’re too slow they gradually get fired off into the sky and explode. 

If that isn’t enough there are also a number of daily and weekly challenges that you can take part in to earn lums. Here you have a set goal such as racing through a level or collecting lums and you are then ranked globally. Weirdly, it works much in the same way as SSX. If that isn’t enough for you then you can also spend your time collecting creatures and unlocking all the hidden characters as well. Rest assured this is going to keep you busy for a very long time.

There are of course a few differences to the Wii U version of the game. The loss of the touch screen means that the levels originally having the player control Murphy the fly via the gamepad as Globox wandered around automatically have been altered. Now you continue to control Rayman and press the O button have Murphy life platforms, spread guacamole or tickle monsters. These levels feel a bit odd as they clearly don’t work in the way originally intended. That said they are still excellent and you soon get used to how it all works.

Overall, Rayman Legends is an exceptional game. The levels of invention, fun and polish are simply off the chart. There’s clearly a lot of love from the development team in this and it’s just a riotously good time from start to finish. Ok, so this version isn’t quite as strong as the Wii U game but it’s like saying a gold bar with a fly on it isn’t as good as one without. This is one of strongest titles in the PS3 library and should be heralded as the classic that it is.


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