After a very successful reboot of the series in 2011, Rayman and gang are back for another outing with Rayman Legends, the sequel to Origins. Using the same detailed engine that powered the original, while improving on the already excellent gameplay, this new entry in the series promises to provide gamers both new and old with hours upon hours of platforming goodness.
Developed by Ubisoft Montpellier / Published by Ubisoft
Available on the PS3, PS Vita, Xbox 360 and Wii U. Reviewed on the Xbox 360.
*Review copy provided by Ubisoft
Just like Origins, Rayman Legends is light on exposition and strong in gameplay. A new threat has emerged from the Bubble Dreamer’s nightmares, and it’s up to everyone’s favorite limbless hero and his crew of ragtag characters to save the day.
The game plays just like you remember it. One to four players take on the roles of Rayman and friends, and head to gorgeous 2D worlds to collect Lums, save teensies, and defeat a large assortment of baddies. Each world is composed of multiple, sidescrolling stages that contain various hazards, enemies and collectables, so it’s up to the player to navigate these obstacles safely, while traveling off the main path to find all the hidden stuff.
As expected, the game plays fantastically. The controls are as accurate as ever, so it’s easy to pull off all those crazy jumps, team moves, and twitch reactions you’ll need in order to survive the game’s wildest traps. It’s all very good stuff, and while you’ll be dying frequently in the game’s more difficult stages, it’ll always be because a lack of proper execution and attention instead of a fault in the gameplay mechanics.
A new addition to the core gameplay is Rayman’s pal, Murfy (from Rayman 2: The Great Escape). Originally created for the Wii U version of the game, this flying, little green critter zooms across the screen to do things that Rayman and crew can’t, like cutting ropes to make new platforms, tickling enemies to expose their weakpoints, poking large foes in the eye to make them retreat, and more. Murfy is sadly more a gimmick than a substantial part of gameplay though, as he comes in every couple of stages and is more distracting than not as you have to manage two characters at once, but it adds a new angle to the tried-and-true gameplay we all know and love.
By collecting Lums and saving Teensies, you’ll unlock even more stuff this time around. In addition to unlocking new stages, worlds and additional playable characters (including the cool new Viking girl Barbara and her sisters), there are also scratch cards called Lucky Tickets that can grant the player additional Lums, Worlds (complete with stages) that go back to the setting seen in Origins, and collectable pet monsters, which in addition to being cutely designed, drop Lums every so often to get your score higher. As you can very well see, there’s a lot of stuff to collect in Legends.
Legends also comes with a couple of new gameplay options as well. In addition to being able to play with three other people in couch co-op, players can enter a new gameplay mode called Kick Shot for a chance to play some soccer Rayman-style. It’s a pretty fun mode that inspires some healthy competition between peers, and can quickly become your main diversion.
And then there are the online Challenges, which task players with completing stages and objectives as quickly as possible to earn trophy cups. The kicker here is that you’re competing against the rest of the world, so you’ll get to see their ghosts as they try to beat the challenge stage right alongside you. Players can unlock more challenges as they raise their ‘awesomeness’ meter, so this game mode will keep the title fresh for a good, long time.
In the end, Rayman’s latest adventure is as great as the first, and perhaps even better. You’ll have 120 stages to run through and explore for hidden goodies, a couple of new game modes to keep you busy well beyond the main campaign, and some very solid platforming gameplay that can be shared with friends. For a Rayman game, it can’t get any better than this.
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