"A Platformer of Legendary Proportions"
(Editor's Note: This review of Rayman Legends was based on time spent with the Wii U version. So, as such, it will discuss in detail the much-hyped touchscreen features that don't factor into the game on other platforms. Hope that doesn't chafe anyone's hide.)
Let me sum up Rayman Legends in a word, because there is a word that sums it up suitably: content. Not suitable enough for your tastes? Fine, three words: lots of content. Still not convinced? How about seven words: lots and lots and lots of content.
Not convi… okay, fine, I guess I'll have to write a proper review for you then. It's just as well, since I don't think I can give Ubisoft Montpellier's latest platforming effort and sequel to Rayman Origins the credit due to it with just the word "content", but it does describe one of the best things about Rayman Legends; its sheer amount of content.
What boggles the mind is the speed at which this content starts unfolding before you. In fact, it's nearly overwhelming at first, as levels become available to you faster than you can clear them. There are so many of them, with the list (comprising of new levels and 40 unlockable ones from Origins) clocking in at somewhere around a massive 120 stages, give or take.
That may be an impressive number, but it would hardly matter if the levels were dull and not fun to play through, which, as you may have expected, is very far from the truth. Continuing from where Origins left off, Legends provides you with incredible platforming action throughout that continually ups the ante with new level types. One stage may have you riding a gust of wind up a vertical maze filled with thorny obstacles, another could have you swimming through dark, underwater passages while avoiding the lights of laser-toting robots, and another might involve navigating a dungeon broken off into rooms in a classic Zelda-esque fashion.
Then there's the Wii U GamePad in the Wii U version, which serves to shake up gameplay even further. Using its touchscreen, you can take control of Murfy, an assistant character that can help out fellow players (or a computer-controlled character when playing solo) by stunning enemies and moving obstacles, just to name a few abilities. While Murfy can be pulled out in most levels, it is in the levels designed around him that his inclusion really shines, as he can interact with the environment in ways no other character can. The only downside to the Murfy levels is that, when playing alone with a NPC that goes about things as straightforwardly as possible, they can feel a tad bland, but with a friend or two playing along, the levels shine just as much as the others.
Even with all of that, there's more. Legends goes a few extra miles with more specialized levels and bonus modes. Boss battles, timed speed challenges, and auto-runner-style music stages abound, as do the speedrun and distance stages of the Challenge Mode (you know, that mode that's been available on the Wii U for the last several months), which change up on a daily and weekly basis and rank your performance against players all over the world. And as if the game needed more stuff in it, Ubisoft threw a ton of unlockable content and a delightful soccer mini-game, Kung Foot, to provide plenty of ways to pass the time between levels.
I'd go on talking about gameplay, but seriously, I'd be writing two paragraphs shy of forever if I did. Suffice it for me to say at this point that Rayman Legends' offers platformer fans with enough platformer goodness to keep them and their friends entertained for hours and hours. Now I want to write about the game's visuals and music, because they're awesome.
If you were wowed by the creative design and sound of Rayman Origins, or just appreciate imaginatively cartoonish style, you will find much to enjoy as the game takes you from lush woods and undersea labs to giant beanstalks and vibrant Dead of the Day-themed deserts. The diversity and creativeness of the artwork on display throughout the game is one of the things that makes the levels so special. That, and the music, which is as varied as the scenery, fittingly classical and fantasy one level and busting out subdued, guitar-filled spy music in another. Also, a lot of it is catchy. Don't be surprised if several tunes get imprinted into your mind.
I've probably rambled on gushingly about Rayman Legends enough (and here I thought I could get away with one word), so I'll do you a favor and come to the conclusion you've most likely come to yourself: Rayman Legends is truly excellent. It is a masterful example of art, music and, above all, gameplay that come together beautifully to create the most original, creative, and enjoyable platformer this year and in recent years. Even with the rare bump, this game shines hard and often.
If you doubt me, if you think the game can't meet your expectations, then let me remind you of that one word: content.
GameDynamo's Score for Rayman Legends (Wii U)
A writer, journalist, and aspiring storyteller, Peter Grimm has been gaming since the days of the Nintendo 64, and reporting on the goings-on in the World of Gaming since late 2011. His base of writing operations is located within the void between Here and There, or so he would have you think.
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