Words About Video Games

41 Games: Rayman Legends

I loved Rayman Origins when I played it last year. It had been a long time since I'd played a platform game with that combination of focus and creativity, plus it just felt good to play. 

Rayman Legends is like Rayman Origins dialled up to 11--more amazing levels, more creative mechanics, same beautiful art style, and a truckload of unlockables. And in the sense that that makes Rayman Legends more of a good thing, it's great.

But I can't help but feel it's lost a lot of the focus that I appreciated in Origins. 

Take that truckload of unlockables. You unlock things--levels, characters, scratch-off cards, monsters that give you bonus lums at such a pace, the game has no intuitive way to present them to you. They have created a specific menu screen for navigating your unlockables.

Or compare how Rayman Origins presents its levels--on a branching world map--to Rayman Legends' linear galleries. Yes, you don't have to do the levels entirely in order in Legends, but you do have to walk from right to left across multiple galleries to get to the level you want. Functionally, it's no different than a list, except a list would take less time to scroll through; presentation-wise it doesn't add much and detracts from the feeling that you're on an adventure.

This might seem like nitpicking, but I had no idea I was on the final boss of the story until the credits rolled. There was nothing about the level presentation to suggest I was at the end (and the story is so scant, there's no narrative momentum there either.) I had one whole gallery yet to unlock, and I wasn't even in the last level of the gallery I was in!

TLDR: The levels themselves are still delightful, but the presentation of the game feels like a massive step backwards.