Giant Bomb Review

84 Comments

Rayman Legends Review

5
  • WIIU
  • VITA

Everything you loved about Rayman Origins is polished to a glistening sheen in this tremendously fun platformer.

Not enough people played Rayman Origins. I mean, yeah, lots of people played it, but it's honestly one of those games that I think just about everyone should play. Its deft mixture of challenging platforming gameplay, gorgeous artwork, and a silly sensibility combined to form one of the most genuinely pleasing games of the last several years. Maybe more people will play its newly released sequel, Rayman Legends. They certainly ought to, since it improves upon Origins' design in just about every meaningful way (and happens to be available for just about every currently supported platform).

Rayman and friends are back for another positively delightful adventure in Rayman Legends.

Legends quickly builds on Origins' framework by introducing Rayman and his cadre of weirdo friends to a new adventure full of adorable peril. Teensies (little blue people with humongous noses) are being kidnapped, and it's up to you to rescue them as you jump, fly, swim, and dash through dozens of different levels, split across several worlds. Each world is unlocked as you collect more and more teensies in each level, which are often stashed behind secret doors or other level sections off the beaten path.

Not that there's a great deal of room for exploration in Rayman Legends, but there doesn't really need to be, either. This is a quick-paced 2D platformer, geared toward fast, but precise traversal of all sorts of pitfalls, traps, and enemies of varying difficulty. Like Origins, Legends is a game best described as "challenging," rather than "hard." Early on, the game's absolutely breezy, but by the second or third world, tougher and tougher challenges await, including some tricky boss fights, and a number of specialized levels geared toward touch-screen mechanics as well as rhythmic inclination.

First, those touch-screen levels. In these sections, control of the character on-screen is wrested away from the single player, and you instead find yourself tapping, swiping, and jabbing at the screen on either your Wii U or Vita. You do these motions to remove traps, adjust platforms, and even distract enemies as the AI character on screen presses forward, attacking and jumping where needed. Most of the time, this works pretty well. The AI can occasionally bug out and make an idiotic jump to their death, and there are moments on both platforms where the touch-screen doesn't immediately do what you want it to. It's also worth noting that the non-touch-screen-oriented platforms (like the Xbox 360 and PS3) replace these mechanics with simple button presses on the controller.

You can mitigate that AI issue by playing with friends (the Wii U version supports up to five players, while the other console and PC versions support four), though co-op comes with its own set of challenges--namely, the chaos of many characters occupying the tight, periodically confusing spaces of the game's levels. Still, even with that occasional chaos, Legends is a ton of fun with other players, and its easy drop-in/drop-out setup makes it a breeze for people to join.

Origins was a spectacular looking game, and Legends manages to be even more visually resplendent.

Even with occasional AI quirks, I often found the touch-screen sections quite creative and nearly as much fun as the traditional platforming levels. The pace doesn't slow down much when you're swiping and tapping versus running and jumping, and the game's solid enough with checkpoints to ensure you aren't repeating too many sections over and over. That becomes key late in the game, when the challenge really ramps up. Yes, there will be sections you play again and again that will most certainly frustrate you, but I actually found there to be less of those moments than in Origins, which redlined toward the end and didn't really let up once it got there.

There's ample variety throughout the game, as well. In addition to those touch-screen levels, there are also musical levels, which are essentially chases set to goofy music that require the player to time all their movements to the rhythms of the song. It sounds a lot harder than it actually is. If you've got a decent ear for music, you'll probably blow through them pretty easily, even toward the end. Elsewhere, there are levels from Rayman Origins that have been remixed for the purposes of this game, a variety of unlockable challenge levels, and "invasion" levels, which are timed runs of remixed, completed Legends levels.

Apparently, those invasion levels are missing from the Vita game, which is unfortunate, but not exactly a version killer. As it happens, those invasion levels are fun, but not exactly the major highlight of the game, and the Vita release is otherwise a fantastic version. Yes, Legends certainly looks best when its gorgeous 2D art is blown up on an HDTV screen, but the Vita version displays the game's art design extremely well, and has that added benefit of being entirely portable.

Normally, wresting traditional control from the player in favor of touch-screen swiping is less-than-ideal, but Legends makes good use of touch-screens on the platforms that support them.

Above all else, Rayman Legends is just charming as hell. Origins was too, but Legends takes many of the best elements of Origins--its beautiful visuals, accessible controls, clever level designs, and goofily catchy music--and improves upon just about every one of them. Origins had the distinction of being one of the best-looking, best-playing 2D platformers of this generation, and Legends somehow manages to be even more masterful in its execution. This is one of those games that's so terrifically crafted, so effervescently energetic, so beautifully, colorfully drawn, that it's genuinely difficult to come up with legitimate caveats to possibly dissuade anyone from it.

So I won't even try. Just play Rayman Legends. You won't regret it.

Alex Navarro on Google+
84 Comments
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Edited by jiggajoe14

I just beat Origins (and really enjoyed it for the most part outside of frustrations during the end segments of the game) so I'm sure I will be playing this by the end of the year. So thanks for making me poorer Alex :(.

Edited by beepmachine
Posted by Nightriff

Ill pass, got Origins because of all the praise and didnt really dig it

Posted by DriftSPace

@nightriff:

There must be no joy inside of you. Do you even like video games?

Posted by Grixxel

I'm happy to see Rayman's comeback is legit. Last two games have been great, woot!

Posted by Nightriff

@nightriff:

There must be no joy inside of you. Do you even like video games?

I loved how it looked, gorgeous game and the music and as it got more and more difficult I didn't find it fun anymore, more tedious. I'm very picky with platformers and this one didn't scratch the itch that previous few have. I totally understand why people adore this game and why it gets high praise, but if its just an extension of Origins, then I'm going to pass on it.

Posted by Althox

I need this.

Posted by Vrikk

Ok, I'm in.

Posted by Tireyo

I'll be getting this.

Posted by BaconGames

@nightriff said:

@driftspace said:

@nightriff:

There must be no joy inside of you. Do you even like video games?

I loved how it looked, gorgeous game and the music and as it got more and more difficult I didn't find it fun anymore, more tedious. I'm very picky with platformers and this one didn't scratch the itch that previous few have. I totally understand why people adore this game and why it gets high praise, but if its just an extension of Origins, then I'm going to pass on it.

I was definitely in the same boat with Origins. That game was so up and down for me in terms of how much I enjoyed it from level to level. Obviously the production was top notch and I wanted to love it but I just couldn't put up with it any more after a while.

Funnily enough I found Rayman Jungle Run to be by far my favorite in terms of the full experience. The highs in Origins are still really high but overall I really loved what they pulled off in Jungle Run.

I'm going to get this because I believe in giving it another shot and I think they deserve it but I'm not holding my breath if it turns out I'll react the same way.

Posted by Sweetz

Well that's all well and good, but most importantly does it have 25+ minutes long credits sequence? :)

Loved Origins even though I got incredibly frustrated on the last level (just the normal last level, not the absolutely sadistic bonus level which I had to watch on YouTube because I couldn't even get past the first section). Good to know they relaxed the difficulty a bit.

I wonder if any of the Giant Bomb crew beat that bonus level in Origins. I think it would make a fantastic Breaking Brad.

Posted by Nightriff

@sweetz said:

Well that's all well and good, but most importantly does it have 25+ minutes long credits sequence? :)

Loved Origins even though I got incredibly frustrated on the last level (just the normal last level, not the absolutely sadistic bonus level which I had to watch on YouTube because I couldn't even get past the first section). Good to know they relaxed the difficulty a bit.

I wonder if any of the Giant Bomb crew beat that bonus level in Origins. I think it would make a fantastic Breaking Brad.

I believe Patrick did everything in the game

Posted by Stepside

Great review Alex. Couldn't have said it better myself- this game rocks.

Edited by Xeirus

@amafi said:

@professoress said:

I've played the WiiU Rayman Legends demo with my son many times at multiple Toys R Us' and it's been bumming me out for a while that I resigned myself to picking up the 360 version (because I'm still soo far from thinking about buying a WiiU or a Vita) and that I'd miss out on the crazy touch screen interactions, but after getting it home I'm sooo happy to have the "dumbed down" version.

When I heard they were replacing all that stuff with simple "B" button presses I took it as a "hopefully good enough" but after playing hours of co-op and single player I'm saying "better". The complexity it adds to the timing of single player is brilliant and the "I already did that!" fist-shaking (that inevitably devolves into "I'LL HIT THE B BUTTONS!") it adds to co-op is as priceless as a 4-player Halo 3 plasma-grenade elevator ride.

I'm already completely hooked on getting every lum, king lum, queen lum, cup, creature, and character and those daily, weekly, other-that-I-haven't-unlocked-yet challenges have guaranteed that my friends will either be buying their own copies or waiting a long, long time to borrow mine.

No ill will towards Nintendo but this game losing it's exclusivity is a victory for everyone. ...well, everyone except for Nintendo.

@alex: You should really try the single-player 360 or PS3 version. The touch-screen areas often add to the pace as a result if it simply being another button (or buttons) you have to weave into your patterns. I'm curious if you would find things like controlling your float down through spiked wheels that you also have to rotate yourself with LB and RB as infuriating (aka: ultimately satisfting) as I have so far.

This matches my feelings on it as well. The non-touch controls end up being more demanding and more satisfying than the touch controls are (on the vita at least, have not played on the wii u).

If someone can only get one version the PC version is clearly the one to get considering it's cheaper, contains all the stuff and can run on pretty much anything.

I have a Wii U for my kids, and I just think it's terrible.

This will be the only game so far that I'm glad I own it, which helps ease the pain. Buy god damn, guys, the Wii U is terrible, like seriously.

Posted by MormonWarrior

Castle Rock taught me to love again. This game is seriously amazing.

Posted by Mezmero

I really loved Origins though I never got around to finishing the graveyard level. I still play it with my niece to this day as she loves it just as much. Glad to hear that this game has even more charm than previous game. I hope if they make another they call it Rayman's Bizarre Adventure. Great review, keep writing more like this please.

Edited by 24thDoor

Origins is one of my favorite games of this generation, so much so that I bought a WiiU basically just for this game (before it was delayed and de-exclusified).

So far I really enjoy it, but not nearly as much as Origins. It's pretty, but I prefer the cleaner, smoother-animated art style of Origins. The touch stuff is ok, but the ratio of Murphy levels is a little high. There's also nothing quite as intense and rewarding as the treasure chest chases. The Invasion levels are close, but don't quite hit the same highs. I'm hoping it picks up, but I think Origins is going to remain the all time champ.

Posted by Forestranger

Grabbed this on Steam. It looks amazing at 2560x1600.

Edited by Darkhollow

Great review Alex, it was definitely worth the wait and I'm glad that Ubisoft didn't keep this fantastic game for WiiU only and I got to enjoy it on my PC.

Edited by Valle

@fobwashed: I played origins alone, and it was a blast. Dont skip it for that reason, still fantastic.

Posted by DallasTheGamer

This game.... is damn good. I have always been a fan of Rayman (Atleast the 2D games :P). I freakin' love this.

Posted by MysteriousBob

@mezmero said:

I hope if they make another they call it Rayman's Bizarre Adventure.

Only if all the new characters are music references.

Posted by lilarchie232

I like happy Alex.

Posted by spartica

This seems to have much more personality than many of the "New" Mario games. I like it.

Edited by Zevvion

I might get this for Vita. I don't know for sure. I don't hate platformers, but at the same time, they aren't necessarily my thing.

Online
Posted by Noogy

Great score and well deserved, so far I'm incredibly impressed with Legends, and I really didn't know if they could top Origins.

Edited by AV_Gamer

Not surprised by the good score. Rayman Origins was easily one of the best platformers to come out this generation. Good to know they used all the pluses of that game and added on to it. It's a shame that the Rayman series is still so underrated after all these years of quality games across console and PC generations. Really, has there ever been a bad Rayman game?

Edited by wibby

Beats Mario into a hat, an amazing piece of work from the UBI team.

Edited by MelonMasher

Alex - please make a redux QL of this game - I would much rather see a QL by someone that actually could play the game (wink)

Posted by WolfHazard

Ahhhhh why is this not on 3DS?!

Posted by Zevvion

Ahhhhh why is this not on 3DS?!

Because of obvious reasons. 3DS is a lot less powerful. Just the fact that this is 2D doesn't mean it can run on anything very well.

Online
Edited by Dark_Lord_Spam

Man, look at how pumped everyone is in that first screenshot! That pink skeleton is getting kicked to death by Rayman, and he's still pumped!

Edited by Colourful_Hippie

@zevvion said:

@wolfhazard said:

Ahhhhh why is this not on 3DS?!

Because of obvious reasons. 3DS is a lot less powerful. Just the fact that this is 2D doesn't mean it can run on anything very well.

Also the 3DS version of Origins was the worst version.