It can often feel like local co-op has been thrown to the wayside when compared to the presently more prevalent successor: online multiplayer. It never occurred to me how anemic the selection of local co-op outings available on plat-forms are until after I had someone in my life that I could play with on a regular-basis, that being my fiancee.
Rayman Legends is the fifth main-title entry in the Rayman series, acting as a direct sequel to Rayman Origins, which was released a couple years prior. Developed by Ubisoft Montpellier and published by Ubisoft, Legends marks the first installment in the Rayman series I’ve played from start-to-finish. I had some familiarity with the franchise, playing some of Rayman Origins, and owning a scratched-up copy of Rayman on the Original PlayStation.
Although it has been too long to speak on my experience with the original Rayman for a review, I can say the reason I never played Origins from start-to-finish is because I think it’s an experience that plays best when you have a buddy to tag-along with you. In the midst of waiting for Studio MDHR to release the Cuphead DLC, Beccah and I decided to sit-down and check out Rayman Legends, which I’d owned a copy of for years, but never actually played. Does Rayman Legends scratch the itch I needed scratching, and how is it as an overall gaming experience?
Rayman Legends won me over right off the bat with enthusiastic and vibrant visuals, bolstering high-octane creativity for the level-design on an aesthetic level. The colorful scenery makes it easily one of the best looking side-scrollers on the market. Although the hyper-realism in video-games continues to improve, dwarfing titles like Rayman or Cuphead in-terms of high-budget production-value, Rayman’s jubilant nature and vivid imagination is enough to bring a smile to curmudgeon’s merely by the sight of it.
Something I appreciated about Rayman Legends as well, is its decision to include nearly all of Rayman Origins, embedded in as an unlockable. I recall hearing some criticisms in-regards to Legends’ short-length, which should have been more than remedied by the inclusion of Origins, but, even without that, I found that more than enough bang for my buck was had with Legends. HowLongToBeat (dot) com lists Rayman Legends as completable is under ten hours, which is a decent enough length for a retail release, but, with the added challenge of collecting the Lums and Teensies, I played Legends for hours and hours, and did so, for months.
As I’ve suggested, Rayman Legends is a side-scroller, with the objective to rescue the Teensies. Although it doesn’t require the player to rescue all of the Teensies scattered through each level, it does have a small quota in-order to unlock different levels. The game-play incorporates elements of plat-forming and level exploration, with collectibles hidden in every nook and cranny you can think of, as well as rhythmic game-play, utilizing its sound-track in various different ways.
The levels are fun, and although it definitely has an approachable, casual play-ability, through its extra-features, including timed levels or a player embarking on a quest to gather collectible possible, a considerable challenge awaits as well, similar to the experience I had with Cuphead, you’ll finds way to progress through muscle-memory, pattern-recognition, and more-or-less hammering things into your head.
The incorporation of the soundtrack is one of the most innovative and creative aspects featured in Rayman Legends, whether it be Rayman renditions of classic songs like “Eye of the Tiger” or the original music heard in “20,000 Lums Under the Sea,” it not only has one of the best soundtracks I’ve ever heard, but it makes use of that soundtrack in one of the most creative ways I’ve ever experienced as well.
If I do have any criticisms, they’re to do with certain hiccups in the local co-op, with players constantly bonking each-other in the head or in areas where time is of the essence, characters being teleported to the next segment in a way that gouges time.
A thought I had while I finished Rayman Legends was about where it stood against my childhood favorites. I liked Rayman with I was a little kid, but, for whatever reason, Rayman wasn’t a childhood favorite. Maybe that’s something I’ll uncover when I look back at the earlier installments, but I never held Rayman in the same way I held Spyro or Crash Bandicoot, and I never held him the way I went onto hold Sly Cooper and Ratchet & Clank. When I rode the train of thought to its only logical conclusion, I discovered Rayman Legends is the best mascot video-game I’ve ever played and I think it might even be one of the best plat-forming video-games of all-time. There’s no telling if this will hold, but what will certainly hold is how much I loved this Ubisoft plat-former.
Like most of my glowing reviews, my thoughts on Rayman Legends fall on the short-side, save stating my praise in a repetitive fashion. Rayman Legends incorporates very enthusiastic and inspired visuals with creative implementation of music, and couples it with a fun and energetic plat-forming for a perfect experience I highly recommend.