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Platforming greatness

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    Rayman Legends

    Rating: 4.5 – Outstanding

    Platforming greatness

    Ubisoft has breathed new life in their Rayman series by taking the titular character back to his 2D roots. Rayman Origins was a pretty great platformer, but the developers at Ubisoft raised the bar and then some with the follow-up, Rayman Legends. Even though Xbox One is not the ideal console to play the game on, it’s still a brilliant experience and one of the best platformers ever made.

    Originally, Rayman Legends was a Wii U exclusive and was even slated to be a launch title for Nintendo’s new system. The game then got delayed by a few months, and from there, was delayed until the end of the year so that Ubisoft could release it on other platforms as well. The game is clearly made with the GamePad in mind, so playing it with a controller is honestly not quite as magical or cool, and it can sometimes be a hindrance. However, it still controls well enough that it’s hard to complain all that much.

    If played on the Wii U, the game would have players interact with the environment and enemies by tapping them on the GamePad touchscreen. Ideally, this would be done through co-op. Speaking of co-op, the game supports up to five players on the Wii U, which is another advantage that system has over the other versions of the title as well.

    To work around these touchscreen controls, the Xbox One version simply has a cursor in the form of Murfy automatically hover over whatever can be influenced with the touchscreen. Murfy is then activated with a button press. This doesn’t always work as fast as is necessary for levels requiring the player to get through them as fast as possible or when there’s a gauntlet of environmental hazards to get through, but most of the time it works just fine, and it’s honestly surprising and impressive that they were able to work around the issue so well.

    The core gameplay experience is virtually identical to the one found in Rayman Origins, but with a higher focus on replayability and unlockable content. There’s more playable characters this time around, instead of restricting the player to simply Rayman, Globox, and two Teensies to choose from. Co-op is still not the best way to play the game as the levels require precision and nuance as opposed to the crazed frenzy of the New Super Mario Bros. series.The co-op players can’t unlock achievements or any in-game content either, which is ridiculous and stupid, and honestly one of the most disappointing aspects of the entire game. There’s also no online co-op, so despite being billed as a co-op game, I recommend just playing Rayman Legends solo as it is a lot more fun and a lot less frustrating that way.

    Levels have three goals. Players are to reach the end of the level, collect enough lums to earn all of the trophies, and rescue all of the Teensies hidden throughout them. The levels have significantly more variety than the ones from Rayman Origins, with levels that play like a platformer shoot ‘em up and others that are basically platforming rhythm games that are absolutely incredible. It plays with platformer expectations in clever ways, resulting in one of the most unique and memorable platforming experiences possible.

    There are six worlds to complete, each with their own theme. By collecting lums and Teensies, even more content is unlocked. This includes scratch-off tickets (that unlock even MORE content), "Invasion" paintings that see enemies from other worlds show up in mini-levels in old ones, and an exhausting amount of alternate costumes. There’s a multiplayer versus mode that is very barebones, yet also extremely fun and an absolute delight to play if you can get a good group of friends together.

    Fans of Rayman Origins will be happy to know that the best that Origins had to offer is featured in Rayman Legends as you can unlock classic levels known as "Back to Origins" paintings. These little trips down memory lane just bolster the already content-heavy Rayman Legends with even more to dive into, resulting in one of the best bang for your buck platforming games ever made.

    Daily and weekly challenges round out the content in Rayman Legends, resulting in constant replayability as you fight to beat high scores set by other players around the world. These challenges come in regular difficulty as well as "extreme" flavors, putting the skills of even the best Rayman Legends players to the test.

    Using the UbiArt Framework engine, Rayman Legends is a beautiful game. It looks like a classic Disney cartoon. This likeness is built upon further by the game’s wonderful soundtrack, featuring an outstanding score that will stick in your head for days. The music in the game is truly wonderful. Overall, the presentation is simply wonderful.

    Rayman Legends is certainly the best platformer that I’ve played for Xbox One, but not only that, it’s one of the best platformers I’ve played ever. The level design is impeccable, the controls are almost perfect, and the game has a dizzying amount of content to offer. Fans of the original are going to be blown away by this massive improvement, and those looking for a great game to play on their Xbox One don’t have to look any further than Rayman Legends.

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