Rayman Legends Review

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Title: Rayman Legends
Developer: Ubisoft
Game Type: PlayStation Vita
Download: 1.0 GB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download | Retail

EU Availability: Digital Download | Retail
PSTV Support: No

The genre of side-scrolling platform games has been around for a very long time.  Since the age of the NES and even earlier, this genre has been around and has only gained popularity since then.  When thinking about the genre, gamers often think of the most popular of the genre.  Super Mario Bros.  Mega Man.  Castlevania.  Ghost n Goblins.  Ninja Gaiden.  The list goes on.

The genre doesn’t stop with those older games, though.  Many new franchises have spawned since then in the PlayStation/N64 generations all the way until now.  Many franchises that I can think of are games like Rayman, Limbo, Shovel Knight, and more.  Some of these franchises are one-hit wonders and some are not.

One franchise that has still flourished throughout the years without losing the side-scrolling part of the gameplay is Rayman.  That series started on the original PlayStation and is still getting new games on all kinds of systems.  The PS Vita has gotten two Rayman releases, from Rayman Origins to the most recent title as well.  Taking a look back a couple years in the Vita’s life, here is my official review of Rayman Legends!

Story

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The story of Legends shows that Rayman along with Gloxor, a character from Rayman Origins, have been sleeping for over a thousand years.  Since then, a character known as the Bubble Dreamer has been creating nightmares of increasing strength.  Due to this and the fact that The Magician survived the events of Origins and divided into 5 creatures known as the Dark Teensies, the race of teensies has been captured by the nightmares along with all 10 princesses from the land they’re in.  Afterwards, Mufy from Rayman 2 awakens them and they set off on a rescue mission.

The story of Rayman Legends isn’t nearly as complex as the above paragraph sounds.  There is a brief introduction for the game and the rest of the game plays out in stages and short voice-less scenes much like how the old LEGO games used to play out.  It is mostly comedy rather than deep character development.

Gameplay

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Like Origins, Rayman Legends is a side-scrolling platform game.  You will be traveling into different worlds and stages and progressing through them in a 2D fashion, despite the depth the character models have.  Whether you’re trekking through the forest as Rayman or fighting off a dragon as Princess Barbara, you will be platforming and fighting in a side-scrolling environment.

Rayman has a couple different ways you can play the game.  You can play by yourself or you can do local co-op with your buddies if you’re around with another PS Vita.  Unlike the descriptions’ claim of “WiFi” multiplayer, everything is local only.  Aside from the normal stages, there is also a multiplayer football-type game you can play through.

The main game has different worlds with painting that you can jump into to go through each stage.  Imagine this like how you enter worlds in Super Mario 64, but in a side-scrolling fashion and without a complex castle for you to explore as you go along.  You will have access to certain worlds and as you travel through them and collect items and Teensies, you will unlock more worlds and so on and so forth until you’ve unlocked everything.

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The main goal of the game is to play through the stages and unlock the stages that allow you to free the 10 princesses that have been captured.  These princesses each have a “boss” level for you to clear before you can save them.  After you do this, you can also recruit them into the large array of playable characters of the game.

Playing through the stages has two main segments.  There are segments where you play as your chosen playable character and there are segments where you play as Murfy.  Playing as your own character has you platforming through the stages along with fighting enemies and solving puzzles and whatnot.  Playing with Murfy is different.  Instead of controlling the character with him, you control the environment as he runs in an endless-runner fashion.

These sections are where the Vita-specific features come in.  In order to move platforms, cut ropes, rotate wheels, etc, you will be using the Vita’s touch screen and motion controls.  This section will be a matter of timing and quick reflexes as you sometimes only have a few seconds to do things to get Murfy to side-track to where secret content is.  It is also what is keeping Rayman Legends from working on the PlayStation TV, specifically the motion controls.

Across the game’s 120 levels, including re-done levels from Origins, the game should last you at least 6-8 hours, if not longer.  There is something to note that you will have to update the game with a patch to get all 120 levels in the game.  Once you have, though, you’ll have enough content to keep any side-scroller fan happy for a good bit of time.

Controls

As I have stated in the above section, Rayman Legends has button controls as well as touch and motion controls.  The good thing about this is that the touch controls don’t interfere with the button controls.  The buttons are disabled during the touch areas and the touch controls are disabled otherwise.  The controls, themselves, work very well and never felt like a hindrance or a problem during gameplay.

To move your character, you can use either the D-Pad or Left Analog Stick.  Dashing while you’re moving is done by holding down one of the triggers.  The rest of the controls are done with the face buttons.  The X button can jump, double-jump, and hover.  Along with this, the Square and Circle buttons allow you to use attack commands.  All in all, it’s a very easy control scheme to use.

Presentation

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The visual presentation is one of the most notable things to say about Rayman Legends.  From the moment you boot up the game, you will be greeted by a unique art style and visual style that looks 2D and 3D at the same time.  All of the environments will have a certain amount of depth and look very 3D in nature.  Even the character models are drawn and rendered in a way that you can see 3D features on them and they look like crisp 3D models set in a side-scrolling world.

The main negative part of the presentation is slowdown.  In a few situations throughout the game, there will be situations where the game will slow down for a few seconds.  This doesn’t happen very often.  It only happened to me a few times in the entire time I played the game.  It’s not something that you’ll see often, but it’s still something worth noting.

Summary

Rayman Legends is the newest entry in the Rayman franchise and a lengthy platforming game for the PS Vita.  On the downside, there is some slowdown in a few areas.  Outside of this is a beautifully crafted platform game that series fans and newcomers can dive into and enjoy. 

9/10

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