Rayman Legends Preview

15Dec

By Paul Barbara

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Ubisoft is back with Rayman Legends for the Wii U.  The game is not out yet and it will launch on your Wii U consoles on February 26th, 2013.  So you’ll have to wait till then to get your hands on it.  However, as of today the Wii U marketplace has a demo that you can download freely.  I’ve taken the liberty of downloading it and I’m here to tell you exactly what I think about it.

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Firstly the demo starts with a cute but awesome cut scene showing all the creatures, characters and enemies in Rayman’s world flying about the place.  The first thing that you notice almost instantly is the sheer graphical beauty of the cut scene and the overall presentation.  The game screams ‘next gen’ so to speak and well, it just looks beautiful on a Nintendo Console in HD!

After the cut scene Rayman is essentially in a room with some large paintings which represent the three available levels in the Demo.  They are from left to right, “Teensies in Trouble”, “Toad Story” and “Castle Rock”.  You have to of course play the first level in order to progress to the others.

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Here you tilt your gamepad to spin the object above.  Notice the green guy on the wheel,  that's Murphy!

If you’ve played Rayman Origins, instantly Rayman Legends will feel well, the same, that is at the very start.  The visuals, gameplay and controls all feel like you’re playing the Xbox 360/PS3 version.  That’s most certainly a good thing however; we don’t want to replay an older title do we?  No!  We want something fresh.  Well fresh is what you’ll get, as you begin running around, jumping, punching, freeing your friends and collection those electoons.  Ah, I will never get sick of those cute characters.

Shortly after you run and jump about, suddenly the formula changes almost as a way to get you slightly reacquainted with an old friend, right before you take it to the next level.  Now that you’ve sampled the entrée, it’s time for the main course so to speak.  You’ll notice an alert on screen telling you to take a look at your Wii U gamepad.  It’s flashing for a reason because it’s time to meet Murphy.  That’s right, Murphy is your companion and together you’re going to defeat the enemies ahead.  You can use Murphy to complete simple tasks such as killing an enemy by simply swiping your finger across the enemy, to distracting the enemy via tickling.  Again, slide your finger to tickle the enemy.  You also can help Rayman run and jump across platforms by slicing cables that hold ledges or platforms up.  Or, you can raise or lower platforms too.  You can even swing platforms around by rotating the Wii U gamepad.  You’ll also have opportunities to tap enemies such as eyeballs on the screen to destroy them and much much more.  There are certainly many ways that you can use the Wii Game pad to assist your adventure and this is just the beginning.

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In this scene, touch the eyeballs on the Wii U gamepad to pop em!

Within no time at all, I had blasted my way through the first two levels and was ready to embark on the third level called “Castle Rock”.  You begin by running essentially, and jumping.  It’s essentially like the speed runs in Rayman Origins where you had to catch the enemy and if you missed a jump or overshot a ledge, it was all over as the screen moved at a continual pace and crushes anything that doesn’t keep up.  However, there is a noticeable difference with Castle Rock.  As I completed the speed run, the jumps and enemy attacks were timed to the rhythm of “Black Betty”.  As you sang the tune in your head or out loud perhaps, your jumps needed to be timed to the beat of the music.  I had so much fun with this level, I replayed it 3 times!  It certainly added just that small differentiating factor but it was pleasing to see enemies shout, bam-a-lam to the music as you ran on by.  Great stuff!

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Jump to the rythum in this level called "Castle Rock"

Finally there is also a dressing room where you can change into other characters and play the demo with any character you choose.  I personally stuck with Rayman, after all the game is named after him.

Overall Rayman Legends looks to be a stellar title for the Wii U.  The use of the Wii U gamepad in the demo was already very promising for an early title.  Everything from a map, to full interactivity was explored with Rayman and you actually have a solid balance of on screen fun versus handheld fun/interactivity.  It didn’t feel that you were being forced to stare at your Gamepad all the time, the balance was good and that’s important.  Visually I was impressed with the quality of the title and as I said, for the Big N, it’s fantastic to see titles like this that basically took what was already a great game and now redevelop it with an edge over the competition.  I loved it immensely and have already played the demo several times this evening.  Do yourself a favor and try the demo out.  I promise you if you liked Rayman Origins, they you’re going to love Rayman Legends.