Content of the article: "I can’t believe I’ve only played Rayman Legends now"
This is a gorgeous game and exactly what I needed after a much needed reprieve from the first person perspective.
As for right now I'm still going through the game. I've completed every single Legends level and will be moving on to the Origins levels, which I still haven't touched. Asides from that and the multiplayer stuff, every single level was complete.
Being mainly a Castlevania and general metroidvania player I can't say my 2D platforming chops are top notch: stuff that requires precise reaction times are still fairly difficult to me and by default most metroidvanias tend to be more forgiving on the platforming aspect itself, which probably made me a shoddy player. With that in mind, I still managed to 100% pretty much every level, some of them having required a few replays to fully get through.
So why should you play Rayman Legends, whether by yourself or in coop? For several reasons actually. Graphically speaking, the game is gorgeous and clearly stands the test of time: everything is beautiful, from the areas and levels to the player sprites. They kind of get away with naming several re-skins for said sprites as different characters, but they all look so different and have distinct personalities in their portraits I can just excuse that. The camera work might make you wonder at first if the game is purposefully hiding something just beyond the border… but that's simply untrue. The camera does an excellent job at framing the action and sometimes even subtly tells you where a hidden section is. Obviously you'll still need to pay attention instead of just appreciating the beauty.
Gameplay? Simple and fun to learn, hard to master on later levels. The characters have a nice weight and feel to them. Besides certain exceptions (namely in the music levels), you rarely feel that the character is somehow disobeying the laws of physics (of the game's world that is). However given that the game is also very precise in certain details, you might find yourself getting killed in a spot where you usually came from unscathed. This happens most frequently in the invasion levels as you are required to just speedrun it, but since the levels are short the annoyance doesn't occur.
What about the levels? You've got 3 types: general levels with their own twists and mechanics based on the world you're in, full of pure platforming goodness. Next up are invasions: basically a radically changed revisit of a level you're already played, but this time you gotta speedrun a specific section (which also got changed to accomodate for the style of gameplay you'll be employing) in order to free 3 teensies before they get fired off to outer space. It's a nice test of your abilities and helps changing the action up even more. Lastly, your rewards for beating the final boss in a world: MUSIC LEVELS. Being a guy that dabbles occasionally in music production, these are without a doubt my favorite ones. And probably will be your favorites too. These levels take on a much more rhythmic feel and feel very satisfying to play through as you jump, punch, dash and use enemies as trampolines through the screen, perfectly in sync with the musical beat. Almost makes you feel like you're playing the music yourself. There are some odd parts where you might feel like you're going offbeat (which usually means you're either lagging behind or going too fast) and if you're not careful you might get wrecked. So feel the music!
Speaking of music… this game's OST is. PHE. NO. ME. NAL. No big orchestras like in Souls games, but everything is so catchy and full of character you can't avoid but just bob your head to. Including and not limited to a cover of Black Betty and a Flamenco rendition of Eye of the Tiger.
Only weak point in here really is the story, but you can already tell straight away that this particular Rayman game wasn't made with story in mind. It is quite clearly gameplay first, since there's so much crazy stuff in each world it makes you wonder what the next thing will be. Still, the objective is the same: Rayman's world is getting invaded by all kinds of monsters and nightmares, so it's up to Rayman and his friends to free every single Teensie, while also beating the 5 evil Teensies behind it all. The ending is as simple as the story, HOWEVER… it unlocks a full section of music levels. But this time in 8 bit and with the screen going ham in certain parts. What a way to celebrate!
Anyways, do yourself a favor and play this gorgeous game. Listen to the soundtrack. Bob your head as you go through Castle Rock, Mariachi Madness and Grannies World Tour. Have fun and stay safe!
- Rayman Legends has some amazing heart, and may be the most well-crafted platformer I’ve ever played.
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