Last year Rayman Origins changed the face of the platforming genre by giving it a much needed shot in the arm both creatively and aesthetically. So how does one follow up such a critically acclaimed title as Rayman Origins? What does one improve upon in a game that was damn near flawless? Well the answer is quite simple, you don’t improve upon it, you expand upon it.
Rayman Legends takes everything Origins did and turns it up to eleven. We had the origin of a Rayman, his ‘rebirthing’ if you will. Now we have him solidifying his legend as a deadset platforming hero.
So what’s new with Rayman Legends? Well it marks first Rayman’s legendary and exclusive adventure on the Wii U and introduces a lot of new gameplay elements that push the boundaries of what we know as platforming gaming as a whole. I mentioned that instead of improving upon Origins, Legends chooses to expand upon it. Now this expansion of the Rayman universe and gameplay honestly could not be possible without the ingenuity of the Wii U console itself.
The Wii U Gamepad plays a large part in co-op gameplay in Rayman Legends, with players using the gamepad taking control of the fairy-like character named Murfy. You may think that this role is not as important as the role’s of those playing as Rayman and his trusty companion Globox, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In Rayman Legends, Murfy is of great use in co-operative play due to his ability to effect the environment in which Rayman and Globox are traversing. For example, with a simple swipe on the Gamepad’s touch pad Henry can cut a rope, which will drop a platform for Rayman and Globox to jump upon, thus allowing them to move from one area to the next. Murfy is also important in the combat against swarms of enemies, of which he can provide assistance and protection to Rayman and Globox.
It’s easy to think that playing as Murfy would not be as enjoyable as platforming as Rayman himself, but this couldn’t be further from the truth, there is just something so pure and primal about providing aid to your friends co-operatively in this way and it never once stops being fun. It was really a shock to me personally because in the past similar gameplay elements in other games end up falling flat and leaving one player feeling left out. However in Rayman Legends the player controlling Murfy feels just as involved as those platforming through the level itself.
Besides the Gamepad gameplay, there is of course the tight, challenging and addictive platforming gameplay that captured our imaginations last year in Rayman Origins, returning once again here in full force. A particularly epic moment of the demo we played was a part in which you were required to time you jumps and actions with the music playing. It was a great moment to end an overall great experience on.
Aesthetically not much has changed but the visual presentation overall feels much more refined and defined than Origins and there does not seem to be a single ounce of creative flair lost in this sequel.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Rayman Legends was one of the best Wii U titles I got my hands on today and I can not wait to get my eager hands on the full game. I can sum up my entire experience with Rayman Legends quite simply, it was legend-wait for it…-dary!