Rayman Legends (Available for PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, and Xbox 360)
ESRB Rating: E10+
Number of Players: 1 to 4 (5 on Wii U)
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Release Date: September 3rd, 2013
Rayman Legends was originally planned as a Wii U exclusive, but due to poor sales of the system Ubisoft opted to go with a much safer strategy and released the game on the PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, and naturally the Wii U. I’ll tell you right from the get go that you should absolutely buy this game for whatever system you want. The version I’ll be reviewing today is the Wii U one, simply because that’s the game Ubisoft sent us and also since it’s the definitive version as it was originally developed for the platform. That being said, if you do not own a Wii U, make sure you buy the PS3, or 360 version as this is a serious contender for 2013′s Game of the Year award. From what we’ve played of the Vita version, it looks like a solid portable port and something Vita owners should be proud of. You do miss the chaos of multiplayer gaming (Vita Legends only supports 2 players), but it is the only way to play Rayman Legends online.
Rayman Origins was released in 2011 and floored everyone with its fantastic visuals and chaotic multiplayer. I had never played a platformer before that actually worked with cooperative gameplay. Origins was a solid single player game, but was delightful when played with friends. Legends is a rare example of a direct sequel that improves upon everything the original did. Although I enjoyed Origins tremendously on the PlayStation 3, nothing could prepare me for the amount of fun I was about to experience with Legends. It is chock full of content for every gamer out there, and also demonstrates that asymmetric gameplay on the Wii U can enhance multiplayer gaming.
The multiplayer is without a doubt the very best feature of Rayman Legends. The single player game can stand on its own, but when you add a friend (or more) to the mix, Legends becomes something else. It’s pure chaos. Since there is friendly fire, you end up hitting your buddies just as often as enemies and you wouldn’t want it any other way. It makes some sections more challenging, but it balances things out by letting you revive your pal. However, doing so is not always an easy task, especially in fast-paced levels where you’ll often end up dying when trying a rescue. I invited a friend for a few beers and some laughs a few nights ago and we ended up playing for six hours straight without even noticing. Even after all that we were hungry for more.
The touch screen levels are fun but somewhat tiresome when played alone. With a friend its a whole different story. The guy playing on the GamePad basically becomes the protector of all the other characters. If you screw up, your friends will let you know. You need to use the touch screen to do a variety of actions like tickling foes, opening gates and blocking fire balls with a giant shield. My favorite parts are when the games plays like a shmup, Here, one player needs to jump on your shield while you move it across the screen. The other player must also shoot enemies so this plays just like a co-op shooter, but with only one “jet”. There are also levels that require you to move the GamePad to let your buddy navigate a maze. These GamePad levels spice things up, and add variety to a game that was already excellent to begin with.
+ Worth every penny! While you can reach the credits in around six hours, doing so will only show you about half the game. Trying to collect every last Teensie will easily double that time if not triple it. There’s also an unlockable world, and some daily and weekly challenges. Those are fantastic as they compare you with the best from all over the world, as well as people from your friends list. Remember how I praised Origins above, well the full version of Rayman Origins is also included in Legends as unlockable levels, not DLC. For Nintendo fans, this is your first chance to experience the original in HD.
+ Perfect difficulty. Although Legends can be brutally hard (trust me, some of the later levels can take around 30 minutes to complete) the checkpoints are often and lives are unlimited.
+ Every world contains a music rhythm level that’s playable after beating the boss. These quickly become a highlight as they’re a blast to play! You won’t stop playing just so you can experience them.
+ Plenty of unlockable characters that all offer slight variations in gameplay. There are also speed-runs that get unlocked the farther you progress. While brutal, these are some of the best levels in Legends.
+ Absolutely gorgeous visuals. This is 2D gaming at its finest. The music and sound effects are also excellent making this an extremely polished package.
+ The soccer mini-game is freaking awesome! Try it with a few friends and time will fly by. It’s unreal how they were able to create such an addicting mode with such a simple idea.
+ Controls cannot be any more tighter.
+/- The lack of an online mode will turn some people away. I personally think that this is one example where it’s better to play with people in the same room, but you should always have the option to play online as well.
Rayman Legends is the pinnacle of 2D platforming. I cannot think of one single reason why you shouldn’t purchase it. It’s the best game on Wii U right now, and I have a feeling it will stay that way for quite some time. There’s just nothing more to add. If you had no intentions of playing Legends, change your plans, free up some money and make this your priority. It’s a one of a kind experience that shouldn’t be missed.
Final Score: 9.9/10