Giant Bomb Review

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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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Posted by Twinsun

A truly fantastic game I must say.

Posted by VierasTalo

Alright, I'm in.

Posted by Wes899

God dang this game looks so cute.

Posted by Carryboy

Awesome

Edited by peritus

I'm gonna play the first one on my new vita and then i hopefully still want more Rayman :p

Posted by mrsmiley

100% sold on this already from playing Origins and, yes, the iOS game. Both provided hours of gorgeously polished fun. :)

Posted by Loomies

man i hope i get some overtime this month.. so many good games

Edited by BeachThunder

I loved the aesthetics of Origins (both visuals and audio), but I can't say i enjoyed playing it that much. So, I'm quite sure that I will indeed regret it if I bought this; I regretted buying Origins.

Posted by MATATAT

The last Rayman game I played was the second one on N64

Posted by jimmyfenix

Still sucks the Vita version is missing those levels. Good review alex. AWOOOOOO

Posted by SneakyPenguins

I fucking loved Origins and cant wait until I can get my hands on this!

Posted by latros

Navarro 5 star review? Weird.

Thanks for writing this up, duder!

Edited by Fobwashed

Man, I enjoyed the first one but only because I played through it in its entirety with a friend. Since I moved, I no longer have anyone to play through this game with so I may unfortunately pass on this one =( It sounds like it's goddamn awesome though and does look as pretty as its predecessor.

Posted by Metric_Outlaw

Great review Alex, I'm still really torn on what system to buy this for.

Edited by BrokenPoem

I really, really want this game. Thanks for the great review Alex.

Posted by Klei

I didn't really dig Origins' gameplay back when I beat it. And by what I've played of this one, it doesn't seem any different on that level.

Posted by The_Nubster

Honestly, had this come out on its intended release date, I would have bought it for sure. As it stands now, though, with Outlast and Amnesia to play, Dream Team on my wishlist, and Wind Waker on the horizon, I've not place to fit this in.

Maybe on sale, though. Sorry Mr. Ancel.

Posted by Morningstar

A glistening sheen? Ewwww!

Posted by mrfluke

ill wait for the black friday sale on this one, origins didnt click with me. something about the way the game feels

Posted by csl316

Sweet.

Posted by CaLe

I played the first few levels and got bored. Now I'm downloading Outlast--a game that seems much more my speed.

Online
Edited by GinjaAssassin

So much fun!

Posted by poisonmonkey

Great review, thanks Alex.

Online
Posted by Deathpooky

Awesome. Loved Origins and can't wait to play this. And as much as it sucks for Wii U owners that they had to wait, glad it's coming to 360/PS3 consoles without touch screen controls.

Posted by civid

Fantastic review and what a fantastic game. I didn't play Origins (shame on me I know. And I even love Rayman 2 and the portable games), and the controls did take some getting used to, I think. Still the sense of speed and great momentum of the platforming is just spot on. Also the Daily and Weekly Challenges are a ton of fun!

Posted by chiablo

This has been an expensive year for me, now I have to buy Rayman Legends too... thanks Alex.

Posted by OmniscientCajun

@mrfluke Same here. I enjoyed Origins, but not as much as I wanted to or as much as I felt the style, the charm, the music, and the design warranted. I felt the way Rayman (and everyone) handled was just a tick off, but definitely enough that the difficult levels and the chest chases had many deaths that were undeserved/taught me nothing about what I was doing wrong. With Super Meat Boy setting the high bar for tight, accountable platformer controls, Rayman Origins fell disappointingly short on this front (a very important one for me and platformers however).

So I guess my question to you, @alex, is how does Legends feel as a platformer compared to Origins? I'm expecting it to be quite the same, which is not a huge problem. But it will determine whether this is an early purchase or if I'm going to hold off until black friday deal or the like (because I know I'll be fighting this game more than I want to when the need for precision ramps up).

Edited by TheMasterDS

I hate the ponderous Murphy levels, I just find them aggressively slow. The ones where he's forced to run are alright, I only wish he'd run by default or if I held down a button. Also if I could set waypoints for the AI I wouldn't get screwed out of collectibles by passing them and passing a checkpoint forcing me to replay the entire level (which gets way more mundane when I have no reason to get any other collectibles) in order to get everything. These levels make most sense on the Wii U I think (which is why I bought that version) which is why I just don't think they're very well designed to begin with.

Other than those levels I quite agree. Rayman Legends is wonderfully creative, wonderfully fun, and has a solid balance of fast responsive platforming and collectible collecting. It's a modern DKC2.

Posted by toddacoco40

Simply put, this could be the best platformer ever. Nice work.

Edited by ProfessorEss

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.

Posted by Nadafinga

I just finished Origins about a week ago, it was a lot of fun but I think I've had my fill of that game for awhile. Next summer this will hopefully be cheaper/free (PS+ had it on a awesome discount recently), so by then I'll be ready to jump in again.

Posted by GermanBomber

Loved the demo and now this will be my very first Rayman ever.

Posted by Brendan

Can't wait to get suuuuuper pissed at my TV!

Edited by ProfessorEss

@brendan said:

Can't wait to get suuuuuper pissed at my TV!

I have yet to have any Land of the Livid Dead or Treasure Chest Chasing moments :P

(I can sense them inbound)

Edited by altairre

The only thing I have to disagree with is that I totally think the invasion levels are some of the highlights, escpecially if you go for the 40 seconds time limit.

Since you have to complete them so quickly these levels have a great flow and are able to create good tension.They are also the most challenging part of Legends and it's pretty satisfying to get through them.

Edited by pinner458

No denying this is a fantastic wonderful game, but I think because I played about 30 hours of Origins I got kind of bored with Legends about half of the way through....

Posted by Rustafur

Guys... video games... I'm back in.

Posted by Crunchman

I'm really enjoying Origins on the Vita. There's something about playing it on a portable, in that I'm playing it more than I probably would otherwise. I'm kind of bummed out that there's a whole mode missing for Vita, what's up with that? It is cheaper than the other versions though (Could this be why?), so I think I'll pick it up when I'm through with Origins.

Posted by Amafi

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.

Posted by probablytuna

I remember playing Rayman Origins and wasn't particularly fond of it. I guess I'm just not a big platformer fan.

Edited by Suits

even though it has uplay this time around, i ordered the pc dvd version instead of digital. just to have something to look at when i cant play, aside from being the cheapest option by far

Posted by DharmaBum

Your move, Mario.

Posted by Sooty

I look forward to getting this free on PS+ or cheap on Steam in the future.

Posted by LackingSaint

This game sounds really awesome. Out of interest, though, is there any interesting narrative stuff? I know those games don't really sell themselves on story but it'd be cool to know if anything is really there in that regard.

Edited by granderojo

I thought the first game was okay, and if this is just more of the same but more refined I'm not interested. Glad to hear you liked it Alex.

Posted by Shaanyboi

Waiting for my WiiU version off of Amazon. This game looks like an absolute blast.

Posted by ghostyTrickster

Looks like I'll be turning on my Wii U soon.

Posted by OneKillWonder_

I desperately want this, but I just don't want to spend the money on it right now with GTA right around the corner. By the time I actually want to buy it the new consoles will be out....damn!

Posted by TheManWithNoPlan

Yeah!

Posted by MichaelBach

Is this and the VITA price drop the reason to finally get a VITA?

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