Legend of Kay (PlayStation 2) Review

By André Eriksson 08.06.2015

Review for Legend of Kay on PlayStation 2

Legend of Kay is one of the many lost gems of the sixth console generation, being overshadowed by other games in its genre, especially God of War that was releasing in the same window on PS2 during its EU release, and in NA strongly overlooked because of the release of the Xbox 360. Has Legend of Kay kept its charm after all these years, ready to make a comeback a decade later?

2005 was the year everyone spoke about the future. It was the year when the sixth console generation was coming to its end and the seventh started with Xbox 360. During that year, Sony started to pump out its last load of great games for the PS2, especially action adventure titles such as the classic God of War and Shadow of the Colossus. During that year Legend of Kay was also released. Overlooked thanks to all the other great news, it remained a lost gem to many. Now, 10 years later, it has resurfaced again in this classic re-release.

Legend of Kay could be seen as the lovechild of the 3D platform and action adventure genres. With engaging mini-games that could have been taken straight from Donkey Kong 64, along with action parts that are worthy of most action adventures, it maintains a light-hearted feel all the way through, despite its serious tale.

The story takes place in a fantasy land where four species - bunnies, frogs, pandas, and cats - live peacefully together, until one day when gorillas attack their country, trying to take control of it. This is done by making local beasts turn hostile using mind control devices created by the rat king. Therefore, the peaceful animals that have never needed to fight before, are forced to go to the gorillas for protection, and, therefore, forced to obey them.

The theme of colonisation is heavily played upon in a way that would be terrifying if it wasn't done in the form of a fable, since they have a wonderful way of taking even the heaviest and darkest subjects and turning them into child-friendly tales of adventure and discovery, while still keeping the subject touched upon graspable for the younger audience. This is something Legend of Kay does wonderfully in its story-telling.

Screenshot for Legend of Kay on PlayStation 2

Legend of Kay's yarn has aged well, but sadly the gameplay has not, mainly because of the camera. It is not always noticed, but during really hectic fights, the low speed and inability to zoom out properly becomes an issue as it is very easy to be stabbed in the back and most, if not all, deaths are likely going to be the result of that, as opposed to being because of any real challenge. Despite the camera, though, the combat is really enjoyable, yet can become repetitive. It is great that the combat is mixed with platform elements, which are just challenging enough to keep gamers on their toes and are not dependent on the slow camera.

Areas previously visited are shut off afterwards. It is common courtesy in the genre today (at least in most cases), but since this is somewhat inspired by the platform genre and its mini-games, the option to turn off back-tracking is a highly questionable design choice, especially as it would be pretty easy to let the player use the map displayed when changing stages to teleport to previously visited locations.

This choice also leads to some power-ups being missed. Instead of making them "forever lost," though, thankfully they are available in the shop. This is, however, also highly questionable design, as it takes out most, if not all, of the reason to keep on exploring the world in the true sense of an action adventure, effectively removing the adventure part by underplaying the value of actual exploration.

It is, however, very difficult to remain too disappointed with Legend of Kay for long just because of this. The wonderful environments delivered mean that proceeding throughout the beautiful world laid out before Kay continues unabated, visit all the species found throughout the lands. Legend of Kay has some flaws that are not as forgivable now as they were 10 years ago, but it is still a good action adventure from its time and will likely be strongly enjoyed for those who liked similar games in the early '00s.

Screenshot for Legend of Kay on PlayStation 2

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Legend of Kay has aged very badly. The camera issues, which were more forgivable in 2005, are completely unforgivable today from a gameplay perspective. The standard has simply increased so much that this classic stands out like a sore thumb. With that said, the rest of the package may have actually slightly improved with time. The ageless fables are something that are strongly lacking in the industry today, especially on home consoles, making Legend of Kay fill a hole in a way it didn't when it was originally released. For newcomers, this is certainly worth a go. But for those who played it on the PS2 already, it is not worth replaying as the camera will leave disappointment and tarnish those fond memories.

Developer

Neon

Publisher

Big Ben

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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