Sorry about the mess, just mind the puddles of brain matter as you tip toe through my living room. While I expected Rayman Legends to be fun, I didn’t count on my brain being blown out the back of my head.
As I mentioned previously, last weekend I was steamrolling through Rayman Origins, in hopes of wrapping it up before Legends came out. I don’t encourage that process, as pouring hours of one game only to dive into its sequel immediately after often causes fatigue. I felt that Legends would be more of the same, with some extra doodads mixed in for variety. But, as you know, my brain lies in pieces around the room, so obviously my expectations were far off.
Rayman Legends is a terrific example of what a sequel should be. It irons out any wrinkles of its predecessor, even those that I hadn’t realized were problems in the first place. Stages aren’t unlocked one at a time, and neither are the worlds they reside in. Everything just flows better, in a way that better represents the action you see on-screen. My favourite part of Legends is the rate at which the content opens up. You’re constantly being rewarded, and it doesn’t come from completing tedious side-missions. By playing the game proper, new things to do just flow from Legends‘s pores; mini-games, re-created levels from Origins, characters, and other bonuses come constantly. A cute addition is the scratch cards you earn from a job well done, By rubbing your finger over the Vita’s screen, you’ll reveal three matching symbols. It’s very silly, but it’s a fun way to dole out the bonuses. It’s this constant feeding that makes Legends so engaging, there’s just so much to do.
It likely goes without saying that the game is gorgeous. Legends really ups the ante, offering plenty of variety in its landscapes and enemies. Polygonal enemies pop up as well, but blend in well with their 2D surroundings. The effect is used sparingly, and is generally reserved for the more ‘imposing’ boss fights. Unfortunately, that luster wears quickly when these battles lose the creativity found in every other facet of the game. For as forward thinking Legends is with its plentiful checkpoints and lack of a ‘lives’ system, it’s disappointing to see Ubisoft Montpellier venture back to the ‘boss’ well. I certainly feel there is a place for boss fights, but my personal want for creativity in their design is absent in Legends.
While I recommend Rayman Legends for the Vita, it’s worth noting that multiplayer isn’t as simple an option on the handheld. Having another body in your living room in inherently more convenient than finding someone who owns both a Vita and Legends. This is really only an issue in the game’s Murfy based stages, which have the player using the touch screen to guide an AI controlled partner. On the Wii U, another player would control the assisting character, which is far more engaging. The rate at which Murfy levels appear drives this point home, but seeing as how you’ll likely have plenty of other stages available to you, it is possible to skip over them. They are interesting, but really slow the frantic pace of the game.
Rayman Legends is super hard to put down. It constantly rewards the player for fooling around in its absurd world, ensuring its unique take on platforming never grows old. It’s beautiful, controls perfectly, and has its own identity as a platformer.
Best of all, you can get through the end-level tally screen really quickly! Origins veterans know the pain in watching a test tube ever so slowly fill with Lums.