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Why Rayman Legends is Your Best Starter Game on Xbox One

Who would think a former Wii-U exclusive could help open the doors to the next generation of game consoles.

When it comes to making the leap into the next generation of consoles, it can be a bit daunting at first. Often it's either hastily made ports of games on older consoles, or completely new games you can't entirely trust will be worth your money. Even two years into the eight console generation, and I still know plenty of people who are holding onto their PlayStation 3's, Xbox 360's, and even a few holding onto their Nintendo Wii's.

I too, wearily approached new-gen, waiting until only a few months back to finally make the plunge and buy an Xbox One. At the time, I had a few games already to play on it, but massive install sizes and buggy ports meant I still had plenty of landmines and headaches. It didn't matter that I had Advanced Warfare, Sunset Overdrive, and Halo: The Master Chief Collection -- I wanted a game that worked perfectly fine and I could be comfortable with. Something dependable but could show off the Xbox One's potential.

That's, where Rayman Legends came into the picture. The Games with Gold program for Xbox Live users gave out Rayman Legends one month, and I claimed it for the sake of prepping for my new console that was on the way. I had already completed almost all the content on PC, but still, it would be a great game to have available on my Xbox One.

I had no idea how true that statement would become.

When I first booted up my Xbox One, I spent a good while waiting for things to install and update. Then, I loaded up the main OS, and discovered just how fragmented and unfinished the process of setup still is. Need a web browser? Download it. Got a game on disc? Still have to install nearly all the data. Want demoes? That's adorable! Anyone just getting started with Xbox One is smacked right away with a wall of additional leg work


Why did we have to abandon the Xbox 360's layout?

I was afraid I'd be waiting an entire day for things to install before I could get started, but then I started the download for Rayman Legends first. Seeing as Legends is a game originally built for last-gen, it amounts to only about three and a half gigabytes worth of data. By comparison, my copy of Advanced Warfare needed to install at least thirteen to twenty gigabytes to become partially playable.

Yet, despite being little more than a quick port with all the bonus content from pre-orders, the experience was astounding. As I said, I had played this on PC, but I never experienced it perform so well. There are practically no loading screens in Rayman Legends, just brief scene warps to transition you to the next level. It doesn't matter if you are in the middle of one of the game's most intense boss fights or just going to a different menu area -- the game performs beautifully and better than any other last-gen port I've gotten to try.

Not only do you get that, but the online features work great for both solo and online gamers alike. Competitive modes (other than Kung-Foot) are all based around time and skill trials with leaderboards. You race actively against the ghosts of other players, making it feel just like a regular competitive game, but are also allowed to just play on your own. No one can interrupt you, no one can mess you up, and the challenges regularly change to allow for new content.

You also have a cooperative game that is worth getting additional controllers for. Most people who make the leap to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are in dire need of a reason to actually buy more than one controller. Good local gaming experiences are hard to come by, but Rayman Legends covers that. You can play all of the content cooperatively (or competitively if you're the mischevious type) with up to four players. It's also kid friendly, so you have something to play when the young ones come 'round.

There is not a single launch title for either new system that can boast equal flexibility and wealth of content.

Not only does Rayman Legends really demonstrate a notable leap in performance, and give new console owners plenty of things to do, but it also is the perfect alternative to whipping out a mobile game while you wait for other games to install and download.

Waiting for my first trio of games to set up was a breeze because I wasn't just sitting there, twiddling my thumbs idly. Instead, I was racing across one of the most beautiful landscapes of recent memory. Even now, when I want a brief break, I don't jump into a match of Domination or Team Slayer, but check out the latest daily challenge in Rayman Legends. It has easily become the second most played game on my system, behind Sunset Overdrive.

Normally, I'm hesitant about rebuying games for new systems. Sometimes ports just make you realize how much the times have changed, but rarely in such a positive way as Rayman Legends. It was a perfect game for Microsoft to give out via Games with Gold, and is easily one of the best games to start with, whether you're gaming on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. I hope it helps you get into the swing of new-gen as much as it helped me. 

Published Jul. 7th 2015

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