Rayman Origins was a great platformer that didn’t get nearly the attention it deserved. When I heard that the sequel, Rayman Legends, would be a Wii U exclusive a little piece of me died. Ok, perhaps I’m being a bit dramatic, but I was very disappointed. Fortunately Ubisoft ended up releasing the game for all of the major platforms. I’m happy to say that Rayman Legends for PS3 does not disappoint.
The story is pretty generic but Rayman is not about story. Just collect Lums, rescue Teensies, liberate princesses, and beat up the bad guys. The Super Mario 3 style world map from the Origins game has been replaced by a simpler menu system represented as galleries of paintings; jump into the painting to access that level or mode. You can also use the triangle button to quickly jump out to main areas. I like the new system better. It’s quicker and more clear. There is also a new soccer style Kung Foot multiplayer mode which is fun. Co-op multiplayer mode is local only but there are new online daily and weekly challenges that let you compete against other players for rewards. It’s basically just challenge leaderboards but the top players at the end of the day/week get rewards that help unlock characters in the game. There are 40 Origins levels that are tweaked versions of the levels from Origins. These can be unlocked with lucky scratch off tickets that you earn between levels (every ticket wins something). Finally there are the Party of the Living Dead levels which are more difficult 8bit remixes of the music levels. These can be unlocked by rescuing all 400 Teensies.
Rayman Legends plays the same as Origins but there have been a few tweaks to the mechanics and level design. One of my favorite additions are the stealth levels and the music levels. The stealth levels require you to stay out of the path of deadly light beams, while the musical levels have the music synced to your actions. The music levels are short but fun. I do miss that fast fluid pace of Origins though. Rayman Legends is harder. You will find your self pausing and timing your next move more than you did in Origins. The levels that force you to move fast can be brutal. Because of this they added way more checkpoints. The result is that the pace is slowed. You die a lot but you still make progress. The Origins levels don’t have the extra checkpoints. You die, you go back to the beginning of that stage just as you did in Origins.
There is also the burden of controlling Murphy. This character was designed as a 5th character for the Wii U tablet but on other systems you will have to partially control him as well as your character. It’s a little awkward but it works. You will hold down the circle button to have him clear paths or move objects for you. The problem is that you don’t really control him. You have to move within proximity to the thing he needs to clear before you can make him clear it. If you are already hopping between moving platforms and dodging fireballs, to have to worry about him too can make him feel as much like a burden as an ally. Co-op play makes this easier to deal with since you can be saved if you make a mistake. You can still revive fallen teammates as you did in Origins but the other players can now jump in and out more easily which is cool. Keeping track of where you are on screen can still be confusing while playing with 3 or 4 people though.
My only issue with the game was the final boss. I felt like that level was absurdly more difficult than the rest of the game. Anyway, Rayman Legends is still fun, more beautiful, and just as challenging. I do miss those levels where you have to chase down the chests, but there is still a little bit of that in the Origins levels. The Invaded levels and the Living Dead levels are the closest you get to the Chest levels and they are really fun. In order to get the maximum scores in those types of levels you basically have to play flawlessly. There are no check points either. When you do finally beat it you’ll feel like a pro. If you liked Origins you will probably like this game. If you didn’t play Origins then you should probably try one or both of these games before you put your PS3 away. If you are on a budget go with Legends since there are Origin’s level in it.