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Rayman Legends (Xbox 360) artwork

Rayman Legends (Xbox 360) review

"A great game containing a lot of content from another great game. Works for me!"

Those of us who are old-school and prefer to play our video games with standard controllers instead of the gimmicks Nintendo has been hauling out in recent years had reason to rejoice when Ubisoft decided to not make Rayman Legends a Wii U exclusive, instead delaying it for a few months in order to release it on multiple platforms. As a guy who loved Rayman Origins, I much preferred being able to stay with my Xbox 360 to play this game, as opposed to having to obtain a new system and deal with its GamePad's touch controls. To be truthful, a big part of why I currently consider Rayman to have supplanted Super Mario as my favorite modern series of platforming games is because I can play Origins and Legends without dealing with things like motion controls or 3D screens, which never seem to feel "right" to me.

But, hey, to each their own! Some people do enjoy Nintendo's modern control schemes (or at least have been "Stockholm Syndrome'd" into thinking they're neat) and likely were a bit upset to find out that, not only would they have to wait for Ubisoft to release this game, but it also wouldn't be only for them -- which was reflected by subpar sales. So, taking that into consideration, what makes Rayman Legends such a great release, comparable to (if not better than) the biggest names in the genre?

For starters, this game possesses an abundance of riches. While I can't say every bit of content in this game is great, there's a ton of it and most of it provided me with a good time, as I cleared one level after the next.

First, there's the vanilla game, which consists of five main chapters (portrayed by paintings) and a sixth that will only be unlocked after you've done a lot of work. Each of these chapters consists of about 10 levels ranging from sprawling levels loaded with tricks and secrets to shorter sprints where the main goal is simply surviving. Your main goal, other than completing each stage, will be to find as many Teensies as possible. The longer levels have 10 -- two in hidden rooms and eight scattered throughout the stage; while the sprints and boss levels have three apiece. As you gain more Teensies, you'll gain access to more levels. You only need a small amount to unlock the second through fifth chapters, but it will take a whopping 400 to open the sixth.

You'll not only be collecting Teensies, but also Lums, which are essentially the Rayman version of Super Mario's coins. However, instead of granting extra lives (not necessary, since this game gives an infinite number), they're mainly used to unlock new characters in case you want to control someone other than series stalwarts Rayman and Globox. Even more characters can be gained from beating 10 specific levels scattered throughout the first five worlds. On the surface, these levels are similar to the other "sprint" levels, as they're short and only contain three Teensies. However, completing them will grant you one of many warrior princesses to serve as your on-screen avatar.

But what if you're happy with only controlling Rayman? Why should you bother with trying to collect as many Lums as possible per level or work to endure that one devilish princess level that delivers a daunting obstacle course with nary a checkpoint? The answer to that lies in the Lucky Tickets. By collecting enough Lums in any level, you'll get one of these tickets, which can be scratched off for a variety of prizes. While a lot of these involve either winning Lums or obtaining various creatures which can provide a small amount of Lums on a daily basis, you also will gradually gain a total of 40 slightly-remixed versions of Rayman Origins levels, which adds a lot of content to this game. By the time you've unlocked all 40, you'll have a nice mix of regular levels, shooter levels where you ride a mosquito, treasure chest chases and boss fights.

And that's not all. By completing levels in the vanilla game, you'll eventually start unlocking Invasion levels where you have to race through a short, checkpoint-free stage as quickly as possible. By completing it within 40 seconds, you'll be able to save all three Teensies being held captive, while slower times will grant you fewer (or none). There also are daily and weekly challenges where you compete against other players online in events such as seeing how far you can advance along a course before dying or sprinting a certain distance as fast as possible with Lums and trophies being given as rewards.

With so much stuff to do in this game, the main thing a person will have to determine is simply how much of this content works for them. For me, the only parts that I found uninteresting were the challenges and the final world. There were only a tiny number of challenges taking place on a handful of generic courses, with the only prizes being Lums to unlock even more characters and trophies toward improving my account's Level of Awesomeness, which has no meaning for anyone not determined to accomplish every single thing the game offers, regardless of how much tedious busy-work that might entail. As for the final world, if I'm spending a lot of time to collect hundreds of Teensies to unlock something, I'd prefer it to be a bit more enjoyable than each of the previous worlds' music levels, with checkpoints removed and annoying graphical glitches added for extra challenge. Extra challenge is good when it's fun. Not being able to see where you're going because the screen is obscured by static is definitely not fun.

As for the rest? To me, while no single aspect of the game is perfect, it all works together to create an excellent game with a lot of variety and long-term play value. The vanilla game offers a decent variety of stuff, with each painting's levels providing different challenges, ranging from scaling mountains of foodstuffs before they scroll off the bottom of the screen to outrunning massive walls of creatures made of darkness until activating a light source that dispels them to sprinting through a handful of stages to the beat of various songs. While there are many challenging levels, it's likely you'll only notice the game's difficulty on a handful of them due to this game generally bestowing checkpoints with amazing generosity. With a couple exceptions, I didn't struggle to clear anything other than a couple princess rescue levels, a handful of invasion stages and the final boss fight. The latter of those was the most noteworthy, as unlike the invasion levels and the troublesome princess ones, it had numerous checkpoints, but still gave me enough hell that I wound up being late for a work function because I refused to put the controller down until I'd persevered.

While most of the game's regular levels were lengthy and required a decent bit of exploration to find all the Teensies and collect enough Lums to at least get its Lucky Ticket, those princess rescue and invasion levels were designed to test your reflexes. Two of the more diabolical princess levels are set in dojos, where you have to clear a number of challenges in under two minutes, with any death sending you back to the beginning of the room you were in, essentially ensuring you'll have to start from scratch to beat the strict time limit. While finishing most invasion levels isn't that tough, doing so in under 40 seconds often necessitates you throwing caution to the wind, something that isn't easy when finding yourself floating through strong gusts of wind while avoiding guided missiles or fireballs, as well as the occasional enemy thrown into the mix in case you wanted yet another obstacle to impede your progress.

Including all those Origins levels was also a positive. While I could understand a person owning that game to think having so many of its challenges composing so much of this game's content was a questionable decision, it didn't bother me. First, I really dug Origins, so being able to revisit so many of its stages was a nice diversion. Secondly, their inclusion gives Legends a greater diversity as far as levels go. While the treasure chest chases are comparable to both the princess rescue and invasion levels, the mosquito shooters are different from anything else you'll experience in this game.

It's nice they're included because the vanilla game really could have used something like that, as its additions are a bit less effective. On a number of levels, a wizard will give your character the ability to fire missiles capable of eliminating foes (or damaging bosses) from a distance. Several others feature the assistance of an insect named Murfy. Murfy was originally designed for the Wii U, with control shifting to him in segments of levels. Your character would traverse the stage under computer control, while you'd use Murfy to clear a path for him by hitting switches, tickling monsters and cutting ropes to remove obstacles. On the 360, things are done a bit differently, as you'll still be controlling Rayman (or whomever), but will handle Murfy's actions by tapping another button. For the most part, everything works out fine, but the game's final Murfy-centric level proved to be quite brutal, as you'll have to sprint, jump and use him to clear paths with no margin for error while being chased by dragons. Adding that extra button to contend with turned a tough stage into one where I was grateful for the overabundance of checkpoints, as they made it so I'd only have to advance through it a piece at a time.

Rayman Legends is a game I'd recommend with no hesitation, with the only question being whether it is better than Origins. On one hand, including so many levels from that game reminded me of how much I enjoyed it, while some of the new things added for Legends seemed a bit lacking in comparison. On the other, Legends is a strong game on its own and, with the inclusion of so many levels from Origins, it easily could be said that it now supplants it as THE Rayman game to own. Regardless of which hand you're going with, this is a fun game that's loaded with content and deserving of a spin in whatever system you own.


overdrive's avatar
Community review by overdrive (November 09, 2017)

Rob Hamilton is the official drunken master of review writing for Honestgamers.

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