Review: Rayman Legends
Rayman Legends is a 2D platformer developed by Ubisoft Montpellier. It is a sequel to the 2011 underrated gem, Rayman Origins. It plays like a normal platformer, but its gameplay and level design make this a grand and unique experience.
Awesome levels, amazing music, and beautiful graphics makes this game the best platformer of this console generation.
Rayman Legends's story is pretty simple, but kind of charming at the same time. Legends takes place exactly where Rayman Origins left off. After your protaganists Rayman, Globox, and the Teensies finish off their first adventure in Origins, they decide to take a well-deserved rest. They spend 100 years having the nap of a century.
While our heroes nap, the Glade of Dreams is slowly being taken over by the evil magician who survived the explosion in Rayman Origins. The Bubble Dreamers (everyone who lives in the Glade of Dreams) are losing the battle to their nightmares and things are getting worse by the year.
The 10 princesses of the land have all been kidnapped, along with the Teensies, and locked up by the magician and 5 dark teensies. With no one left to stop them, Rayman's friend Murphy awakens Rayman and his pals to take down the dark teensies, save the land, and rescue the 10 princesses of the Glade of Dreams.
With our heroes now awakened, the adventure can finally began.
This is where the game really shines, and stands out from the rest of the pack.
Rayman Legends has you running, climbing, jumping and swimming like any other platformer on the market, but its masterful level design makes every level feel completely different from one another. Sometimes, you'll be running at breakneck speed while being chased by fire in a castle dungeon. Other times, you'll have to find your inner Sam Fisher and sneak around in Splinter Cell fashion.
Level design like this will have you constantly coming back for more because nothing feels repetitive or dull.
There are a total of 6 worlds within Rayman Legends, and they can all be completed in 4 player cooperative play with friends and family. It is a blast, and actually quite fluid compared to New Super Mario Bros. You can beat each other up to cause great laughs, but you can also assist one another in certain spots to find secrets.
Speaking of secrets--this game is full of them. There are 3 ranks you can receive in each level: bronze, silver, or gold. To receive a gold rank, you have to earn 150, 300, or 600 lums, depending on which type of level you're doing. Lums are basically what rings are to Sonic the Hedgehog. They're spread throughout the level, and you have to collect them to earn new costumes for each character within the game.
Since Teensies have also been taken in this game, it is your job to save them throughout each level. They're spread out just like lums, but are way harder to find. 700 Teensies are inside the universe of Rayman Legends, and you have to collect them to unlock new levels.
Since this is a platformer, boss battles are definitely present. Each boss shows up at the end of each world, and can sometimes be quite difficult to defeat. All of the bosses are presented in beautiful 3D, and it really makes them stand out inside the 2D plains. You'll fight a dragon, and also encounter a giant Luchador.
After you defeat the boss in each world, you unlock the best part of Rayman Legends: the music levels. These are levels where you have to speed through a remixed version of a popular song, or song within the game. Some of the songs include Eye of the Tiger and Black Betty.
Rayman is known for its quirky and slapstick humor, and it is in high gear in these levels. Moving to the rhythm will have you bouncing and laughing the entire time, and you can't help but feel great completing these levels.
Rayman Legends also includes daily, and online weekly, challenges to help you rack up on lums. They're variations of previous levels done exceptionally well and add a ton of replay value. Over 60 remastered levels from Rayman Origins add on to the already huge replay value.
Even though this game has been released on Playstation 3, Wii U, Xbox 360, PS Vita, and Steam, I feel the Wii U has the superior version. In certain levels, you have to control Murphy to move obstacles or stun enemies. With the use of the Wii U's Gamepad, this process is done in a much more fluid process than on the other systems. Controlling Murphy was quite annoying on the fast paced levels because you have to wait for him to attach himself to the obstacle before you pressed the button, and he wouldn't always show up in time.
Rayman Legends's art style is the best I've seen since Eternal Sonata back in 2007. Everything in this game looks incredibly detailed and hand-drawn. Animations are top-notch and never seem rough around the edges. When you play this game, it feels like you're watching a moving painting.
The game is also complimented by one of the best video game soundtracks ever. Each song fits every situation and level in the best way. Some of the songs are flat-out hilarious and really set a great atmosphere in each environment. The song Luchador is one the greatest songs ever thrown into a video game. The developers probably enjoyed making this soundtrack more than the levels themselves.
Rayman Legends isn't just the best platformer of this generation, but it is also the best game I have played all year. With its untouchable level design, masterful soundtrack, amazing multiplayer, and worthwhile replay value, I can't think of one game better than this. It is something that I feel anyone could love if they have a heart. The year isn't over, but as of now, Rayman stands tall as the current 2013 game of the year.