Friday, September 6, 2013

IMPRESSIONS - Rayman Legends.

I'm playing Rayman Legends on the Vita, and - unless, a'la Origins, a new world opens up when you've done everything else - I'm two worlds away from completing it.

"Completing it" may be misleading.  I'm two worlds away from finishing the game's campaign, assuming I don't faff about with the remixed Rayman Origins levels - which I do find rather appealing, as Rayman Legends - despite it's gorgeous presentation and bountiful, cheerful good nature - is not as uniformly excellent as Origins was.

I fear this may be due to the Vita version - or more likely, due to the fact that the game was conceptualized for the Wii U, with one player dashing along as Rayman or Globox or Barbara with a Wiimote in hand, and another using the Wii U's gamepad to control Murfy - a green sprite who lifts platforms, cuts ropes and rotates the world so you can get through impassable areas - and his inclusion in the mechanics on the other platforms is a mistake.


Folks who've played the Wii U version say the Murfy levels are a highlight of the game, and its zany co-op turns Legends into a reason to buy a Wii U.  In the PS3 and 360 version, I'm told, the player still controls their player-character, but an AI Murfy zips about, going from one interactive piece of background to the next, and the player has to tap a button to make him interact with it before moving on - which mucks with the platforming flow, and "you may find that the levels where Murfy swoops into view are the ones you enjoy least." -Eurogamer-

On Vita, it's a different beast entirely.  You don't control the platforming character at all - you control Murfy.  You go into the level with your chosen avatar (I'm favoring Barbara, of course), and after about fifty feet she'll discover her path blocked.  You're then obliged to tap the screen, she high-fives Murfy and an AI Globox begins dumbly wandering through the level as you cut things and move platforms and tilt the Vita to control Murfy, hoping and praying that the idiot AI doesn't get itself killed.

The Wii U gamepad.  Where Murfy should've stayed.

Killed is a best-case scenario, as multiple times per level I'll find myself cursing Globox's stupid face as he walks past a cage with a precious, captive Teensie begging for rescue.  As a result, if you want to rescue all the Teensies in a given Murfy level (which is the point of every level in the game), you'll find yourself obliged to replay it multiple times to find just the right interactions you have to make with the environment to guide Globox towards your goal.

It's intensely frustrating, and I've taken to just playing those hateful levels once and letting the chips fall where they may.

Murfy levels aren't merely "the ones you enjoy the least" on Vita - I actively despise them.  I didn't buy Rayman so I could play a co-op game or a wonky touchscreen minigame - I bought it for pure platforming, and its Vita version forces this touch crap on me two or three times per world - about 20% of the levels.

The rest of the game is still Rayman in the vein of Origins, it's still gorgeous to look at (though Globox, oddly, has a really rough facial texture when zoomed in) and wonderful on the ear. And it's still got stuff like this :

I still don't feel it has the same brilliant gradient of challenge that Origins wielded with such mastery, but it's... nice.  I will say this, though - when I'm tired of the crap that Legends occasionally throws at me and I just want to have some fun?

I go play Dragon's Crown. Rayman Legends, you are no Origins.

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