It’s always good to see a company that doesn’t give up on their franchises, even when they have some low points. The original Rayman is known for its great animation for its time and infamous difficulty. Since then, the subsequent releases had garnered mixed results. But then, things got better and we now arrive at this point with what is perhaps the best Rayman game yet.
Rayman Legends is the sequel to Rayman Origins, which was pretty good. There was last year’s Rayman Jungle Run, but that was a mobile game made by a third party developer. At first glance, it looks to be the best looking Rayman game yet due to excellent art direction that is to be expected from a Ubisoft game. Rayman Origins looked alright, but Rayman Legends is on another level in aesthetics, and also in gameplay. It shows that the series has come quite a long way and longtime fans are not being disappointed.
The series retains its humor and charm, as well as the excellent gameplay that Rayman Origins had showed two years before. This platformer is meant to be played with a flow as you go from the left side to the right, kind of like Cloudberry Kingdom. You have to negotiate gaps and obstacles, as well as various enemies that want to keep you from advancing. The jump physics may be a bit floaty, but it’s easy enough to get used to in time, the animations are quite smooth, and it suits the visuals.
While this game can be pretty difficult, it doesn’t punish so much when you die. It’s not like Super Meat Boy and I Wanna Be The Guy in this regard since those games make you feel bad for playing bad, while Rayman Legends is a bit more lenient. But this game is pretty tough, so it’s not like it’s a noob-ish game. At least it’s not difficult due to bad controls since this game does get it right with smooth and precise controls that let you do exactly what you want to pull off.
On the other end of the scale, when you do things right, you get tons of rewards that keep on coming whenever you play well. There are lots of great stages that you can unlock as you play more, including invaded versions of them wherein you have to rush through them. Ubisoft definitely didn’t skimp on the effort put into the level designs, which is the backbone of the platforming gameplay.
The various gameplay modes add variety and more challenge, like the Kung Foot mini game, the Murfy mode, and so on.
There are some gameplay modes that are better in some platforms than in others, like the Murfy mode that seems to be geared towards touchpads, so it may be better on the Wii U. Some would say that it makes the Wii U version inferior due to being easy-mode since you only control Murfy (the fly) and the AI controls Rayman in there, while you have to control both in the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions. However, it’s also worth noting that controlling both at the same time means that your attention is divided, so you can’t really focus on what that game mode is for. While it may not require as much dexterity to do well in this mode with the Wii U, it does offer the best overall gameplay experience as it’s actually enjoyable to control Murfy anyway.
Perhaps the only real downfall of this game is the absence of online co-op multiplayer, which is a bit of a waste since co-op can be quite messy and crazy in a good way. But then again, maybe it’s really meant to be played with friends in the same room so you can laugh and banter at each other as you try to get something done in the game. Up to five players can get together in the Wii U version, and up to four players on the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 versions. Sadly, LAN play is also not available for the PC.
You can get the PC version if you don’t have a console, but it would still be worth the trouble to play this game with a pad controller to get the best experience possible. Overall, Rayman Legends is a job well done by Ubisoft and shows that even a big company can stay faithful to their old franchises and still make it relevant.
Tested in PS3. Final Score: 8.5/10