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Rayman Legends (Wii U) Review

Review for Rayman Legends on Wii U - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Ubisoft has kept Wii U owners waiting far longer than expected, with Rayman Legends originally due to arrive on launch day, then being pushed into the 'launch window' before eventually losing its system exclusivity status and finally landing on the cusp of September 2013, despite reportedly being completed back in February. Whatever the case, the Ubisoft Montpellier platform outing is finally here and it comes with all of the charm found in the various demo versions tried since it was revealed prior to E3 2012.

Cubed3 definitely has a penchant for 2D platform adventures, as can be seen from the high praise games such as Gunman Clive and Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D received recently, as well as the plaudits heaped upon older releases, like A Boy and his Blob and Kirby's Adventure Wii. When done right, not even new Mario titles can compare, with the New Super Mario Bros. series still proving to be impressive, yet not quite as delightful as Mario's adventures of yesteryear.

Rayman Origins saw Ubisoft give its platform icon a reboot that many thought it perhaps did not quite deserve after going off the boil somewhat over the years, with fans and media alike always looking back to Rayman 2 as being the standout in the series that started way back in 1995 and has been accused of stealing the idea of a limbless lead character from Plok, which arrived a couple of years prior. Whatever the case, Michel Ancel's creation was given a shot in the arm and wowed gamers the world over, with Rayman Origins (yes, even the scaled down 3DS edition did not disappoint!).

Looking at all the furore surrounding the release of Rayman Legends and its eventual appearance on pretty much all formats, excluding Wii and 3DS so far, it is hard to imagine that Rayman Origins was actually only planned in as a download-only title in the first instance. Whoever decided to make the switch to retail must get a hearty pat on the back each morning, or at least have a fantastic sense of self satisfaction. To have left this reboot of the series as 'online only' would have been almost sin-like as it is indeed pure platforming bliss.

Screenshot for Rayman Legends on Wii U - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Not only does it include all manner of play styles to keep things fresh throughout, but it encourages players to head back in and have another crack of the whip in order to collect every last little goodie dotted around, with rewards aplenty on offer for those of a meticulous nature, scouring the gorgeous side-scrolling, multi-layered landscapes to hunt down hidden objects and characters that lead to the unlocking of other extra features further down the line.

Having not tried any other version than the Wii U one, it is hard to imagine how successfully the concepts of GamePad tilt technology for rotating on-screen objects and touch-screen antics to remove obstacles in particular levels are achieved in the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 iterations of Rayman Legends. This was built from the ground-up on Wii U and it truly shows, with any hesitations about moving from Wii Remote to GamePad controls being quashed within seconds of starting the adventure. Pinpoint accurate leaps, punches, wall-jumping, hovering techniques, and so on, are all present here and the addition of gyroscope and stylus input merely adds to the already more-than-solid setup for probably the smoothest platform romp gamers are likely to play until a team like HAL Laboratory comes up with a tight-knit Kirby escapade on Wii U or 3DS.

Screenshot for Rayman Legends on Wii U - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Chase stages, side-scrolling shooting sections, twitch-reaction levels reliant on players reacting to the beat of the background music, intricate puzzle elements, gruelling boss encounters - there are so many impressive elements packed into what is by far a meatier end product than the 8-10 hours that Rayman Origins offered. Here there are not only the standard levels, but numerous online and daily/weekly challenges, a local multiplayer goal scoring mini-game, stages dedicated to saving other heroes that can then be chosen and played as in the main adventure (yes, including a version of Rayman dressed as Mario, and other similar treats that will raise a smile), as well as a five-player co-operative option where four friends can use the GamePad or Wii Remotes to aid the lead reach the final goal with the least amount of toil.

A considerable part of Rayman Legends' charm certainly stems from the graphical layering aspect, which was driven home as a great addition in Donkey Kong Country Returns, showing how not only is the idea aesthetically pleasing, but beneficial to the platform genre for expanding horizons. Rayman can leap from the foreground to the background to great effect whilst progressing through a level. The depth to each stage is wondrous, and even when in the near-distance there are objects almost popping out of the screen to mimic the effect of Rayman working his way through almost realistic locations (at times, obviously - like with jungle stages, for instance - rather than lava filled routes!). Equally as breath-taking is the level of detail bursting out of the screen, with crumbling rocks, windswept vegetation and undulating waves being just a few examples of the lively nature of the world surrounding the eponymous hero.

Screenshot for Rayman Legends on Wii U - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Perhaps 'eponymous' is not quite accurate since there are so many other characters to select, each re-appearing with various costumes to give the appearance of variety. In all honesty, though, everyone handles in the same way, so there is never any real need to switch from Rayman in the first place, other than for a visual shake up. The more Lums collected during a level (the in-game currency), the higher the chance of unlocking more content, providing a wider base of options to choose from. It should be noted that nothing is done against the clock either, so those wishing to do rush through will be pleased to know that each area can be blitzed thanks to pixel-perfect jumps and cleverly placed enemies for bouncing needs to prevent slowdown, whilst those hoping for more depth, longevity, and overall value for money, it is indeed possible to merely wander around, searching every nook and cranny without fear of time limits or cheap deaths (instant regenerations at checkpoints are such a God-send! Not having to redo a level completely each time an enemy is bumped into, or a hole is fallen in to, is such a blessing).

Doing wall-jumps, pounding weak areas of ground, and seeking out hidden portals en-route to the final goal can be done in peace and without stress. Treacherous leaps over bottomless pits abound, delving deep underground to traverse gloomy caverns, bouncing from wall-to-wall to scale new heights, precariously jumping from tiny platform to moving objects, all the while dodging incoming dangers, navigating underwater labyrinths. Rayman Legends takes everything from Origins (including its levels, which can be unlocked as bonuses!) and adds to the classic sections by ramping up the music-based levels, making some highly inventive developments using the GamePad's features, and then serving it all up in a superbly crafted package that should definitely get the attention of the creative bods at Nintendo who really need to take another look at how to keep the New Super Mario Bros. series from growing too stale.

Screenshot for Rayman Legends on Wii U- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

Stunning improvements have been made over Origins, which in itself was already an impressive reboot of the Rayman series that had grown too stale over the years. To add so much to Legends, something radical had to be done, and the Wii U GamePad certainly plays a strong part in making this new platform adventure so unique, with the design team pouring its heart out onto Nintendo's machine.

Graphics

Truly stunning to look at, Rayman Legends is a visual masterpiece and the already award-winning graphics of the previous game now look even sharper and vibrant than before, complete with some wondrous use of 3D gameplay elements that give an amazing sense of depth, despite its 2D confines.

Sound

In recent years soundtracks to platform titles have been improving considerably as developers have taken note of feedback about immersion into adventures being upped if the music is suitably atmospheric. Legends picks up where Origins left off, bringing epic tunes and some unforgettable riffs that get the toes a-tapping during gameplay, even going as far as incorporating the music into the gameplay itself in some sections.

Value

The only two flaws that Rayman Origins had were that it was more of a retread and refinement of the genre, and that it only lasted about eight or so hours for those more au fait with platform titles. Rayman Legends packs in far more content, fresh design aspects, stages from the previous game, heaps of challenges, and all manner of online content and multiplayer antics to ensure this is not removed from systems for quite some time indeed!

Cubed3 Rating

10/10
Rated 10 out of 10

Masterpiece - Platinum Award

About this score
Rated 10 out of 10

As controversial as the score may be, it is hard to argue against Rayman Legends being the unrivalled platform adventure of this generation, and the 'one to beat' in the upcoming new generation of systems that is about to kick-off. Building upon the superbly solid foundation of Rayman Origins is no mean feat, but Ubisoft has indeed managed to out-do the House of Mario in the genre in which many thought Nintendo was untouchable. Made for Wii U, playing this on any other format will undoubtedly be an inferior experience.

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01.09.2013

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Developer

Ubisoft

Publisher

Ubisoft

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10 (4 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

Wonderful game! I just started it today and had a blast just playing the challenge mode, but the main game is fantastic! Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends will go down as my favourite 2D platformers ever.


Staff Member

Rayman Origins never quite grabbed me as much as others but I'll still pick this one up sometime this year. So many games I want to get, it's crazy. Smilie

Cubed3 Reviewer/Feature Writer | Twitter | Backloggery
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

A bought my copy, downloaded, but haven't had any time to play yet - loved the demo and challenge app, so really can't wait to get stuck in. It is rare that a 2D platformer is as tight and fluid as Mario, and in a lot of ways this definitely steps it up a notch! Great review and well deserved 10/10 Smilie

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer
Guille (guest) 01.09.2013 12:39#4

Rayman Legends and Donkey Kong Country Returns: Tropical Freeze are the two games im most excited to play in the Wii U, i only wish you could play all the stages online instead of the mini games the game offer.

Does this run at native 1080p by the way?

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Yes, it does! Smilie

By the way, the Wii U version outsold the PS3 and 360 editions in the UK this week! Smilie Deserved, yet unexpected!

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

There are too many games coming out this fall and not enough time to enjoy them all. I loved Rayman Origins so I guess this is just one more title to add to my backlog of games. Smilie Hopefully I'll actually be able to find the time for these.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

I'm so impressed with Legends - still having lots of fun with it, despite completing the main game ages ago. Well worth the investment Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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