Rayman is one of Ubisoft’s most popular characters all over the world. But down came the Rabbids and he was soon pushed out of the limelight for a while. This all changed with the triumphant return of the limbless hero in Rayman Origins. Rayman continues his comeback tour with the sequel, Rayman Legends.
If you thought Origins was full of original ideas, then get ready to get blown away by what Legends has to offer. The story goes that nightmares have once again come to life and are naturally terrorising the various worlds. It’s down to Rayman and his fellow heroes to save everyone yet again. There isn’t much in terms of story, but that is perhaps what makes Legends such a great experience.
The Teensies have been captured and locked up within paintings for each of the world galleries. It’s down to Rayman and the others to find and rescue them from their rather basic accommodations.
This time round, it’s not necessary to unlock any of the abilities. They are all there from the beginning and it makes it far easier to just dive in. Rayman and the other heroes are as flexible as ever. It’s as if all that time spent sleeping prior to Legends hasn’t affected them in the slightest. It shows just how confident the developers are that players can adapt quickly to all these abilities from the start.
It’s incredibly easy to get to grips with the various abilities that the gang has at its disposal. It feels rewarding to successfully get through some of the trickiest obstacles found in tougher paintings. At one point the character was dodging a couple of deadly spikes – whilst running away from a wall of fire and also breaking through barriers in the way. This may sound incredibly complicated but the controls make it feasible to achieve such a feat.
There are times where the character may die several times, but it never really feels like it’s because of poor design or the controls. Not that dying is bad since most of the paintings have checkpoints. There is also the extra life that will protect characters from one hit. See, it’s often the case that it helps to look out for the various bread crumbs that developers have left behind. – such as circles that tell players where to make a jump. Specially during paintings where the character is on the run.
Early levels won’t prove much of a challenge to seasoned player, but it’s certainly not the case with those found later on. What is clear is that the developers had a lot of fun with this title. It’s no simple feat to provide this much content – let alone when every painting is different. There are various ideas put into each painting that are a real treat to play and look at. There’s even a handy flying creature called Murfy who helps out by clearing various obstacles or distracting(tickling!) enemies.
The likes of giant Luche Libre wrestlers chasing the heroes or even a Splinter Cell style stealth level are not even some of the craziest sights. It’s exciting how a level played could end up being completely different from the previous. Yet it all works so well because it makes the player eager to find out what is come up next. What is best is that it’s not even necessary to finish paintings in order. Teensies are the lifeblood of the adventure since more paintings are unlocked as the heroes manage to free more of them. Paintings are unlocked in different world galleries and it’s up to the player to choose which to tackle first.
A handy message system makes it possible to find out what new content has been unlocked. There is a lot of content being unlocked all the time, and the superb Gallery of Dreams hub system also makes it easy to keep on top of everything going on. Lums collected unlock content such as more heroes to play as and so on. Then there are lucky tickets earned by completing paintings which will in turn unlock more content like small creatures. Small creatures give items like Lums when visited each day. The point is that everything in Legends has a purpose.
There’s enough content to easily keep players entertained long after completing the main story.. It’s compelling to come back and play each painting to find everything within it. Then there are Invasion paintings that will test how quickly a player can finish them. Those who never really played or finish Origins, can also take advantage of the levels that become unlocked with certain lucky tickets. Even these levels have been given the Legends overhaul that makes them more enjoyable to play through.
Each of the boss fights feels like an adequate ending to the particular world. It’s really enjoyable to get through each as they require the use of various abilities. The reward for defeating each of these bosses is a trip to a musical themed painting. Musical levels are a perfect example of the exceptional level design that goes into each level. The idea is to make use of the various music prompts to avoid various obstacles. It all works really well and makes the player feel involved in the process of playing along as the music plays.
The amount of work that must have gone behind creating the various environments for Legends is very impressive. It’s impossible not to stop various times to enjoy the views provided. There’s something for everyone with the likes of giant for items and singing fish making an appearance. Each of the worlds has a different theme and it’s cleverly used in each of the paintings. The art style does wonder for the game and stands out with its colourful environments.
It’s not enough to play through all the content that is eventually unlocked. There are also online challenges that change on a weekly or daily basis. The system makes it very easy to see who is winning – specially since there are scrolling messages displaying such information at the bottom of the screen. These challenges are addictive and will create some friendly competition between those that take part. It’s clear that players will still come back to see what new challenge awaits each day/week. Specially if Ubisoft is able to keep up the momentum with new objectives and levels for a long time.
Those that are fortunate enough to have real life friends can also play levels in co-op. It’s not as easy to keep up – due to the nature of players that may run ahead faster than others. However, this is really down to team work and not an issue with the game itself.
There is also the superb Kung Foot where players can split up into teams and see who can score the most goals within a period of time. It’s remarkable that even someone who isn’t interested in the sport can still enjoy Kung Foot. This is mainly due to the fact it’s purely for fun and the ball even moves faster as it’s kicked repetitively. It’s the sort of mini-game that is bound to become an instant favourite at social gatherings.
Music is incredibly catchy and also manages to fit in with the theme of each painting. This is particularly vital in the music levels where the music is used as prompts to avoid incoming dangers.
If Rayman Legends sounds like a pretty impressive title so far – then that’s because it really is. There isn’t a moment where it won’t fail to amaze the player. Even during the toughest of challenges, it still manages to pull through. The delay may have caused some fans to question Ubisoft’s motives, but it’s wonderful to think that it’s possible for more players to experience it now.
Rayman Legends is one of the most original titles in recent times and one that players must experience.