Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition (NSW) Review

We have arrived at SuperPhillip Central's first review of May, and it's for a 2D platformer that just can't stop getting ported. Who am I to complain, though, when it's a game that's as excellent as Rayman Legends? It's the Nintendo Switch's turn at the game, with what Ubisoft is calling the definitive version. It's Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition for the Switch. Let's check it out.

The legend continues on Nintendo Switch.

Rayman Legends was one of the standout titles on the Wii U, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. It has since been ported to nearly every platform under the sun, including PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PlayStation Vita. Now, the game gets yet another shot in the spotlight with a console it should be most welcome on, the Nintendo Switch--home to lovers of the platforming genre (thanks to a certain mustachioed plumber among many other Nintendo creations). The Switch version of Rayman Legends labels itself as the "Definitive Edition". Is this the case, or is the port a definitive dud?

Let's skip all pretense here and allow me to answer that question immediately. Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition is the total package here with all of the content of past ports and a new Kung Foot tournament mode included (though the latter isn't that big of a deal). At the game's launch, Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition suffered greatly from poor performance and long loading times. This has since been patched to run as smooth as the lanes of a well-maintained bowling alley. Rayman Legends looked gorgeous when it originally launched in 2012, and it still amazes thanks to the awesome work put in by the Ubi Art engine and the artists who utilized it. A delightful orchestral soundtrack backs up the action, and there are certain in-level triggers that happen where songs will seamlessly conclude or change to their next section after specific parts of levels are entered or completed. It's a wholly fantastic, bombastic score, worthy of listening to outside of the game.

If anyone has earned the right to strike a pose, it's Rayman.
Rayman Legends itself is the same game as it ever was, a sequel to Rayman Origins. The game contains five worlds based on various themes, and each possess a plethora of levels in them that range from incredibly creative to devilishly difficult. They're all aces, regardless. What's fun about Rayman Legends is how the game constantly introduces new mechanics into its levels. Unlike a Mario game, these mechanics aren't one-off experiences. Instead, they linger throughout a world, constantly reiterating on themselves, and creating new scenarios and challenges in the process.

Look out below!
The second world of the game, Toad Story, introduces wind tunnels that Rayman can use to gain as well as maintain altitude or slowly fall to the ground. This mechanic returns in the rest of the levels in the world but in different ways. There are wind channels to guide Rayman through a corridor of thorny vines, wind channels to keep Rayman elevated over a continuous bottomless pit for one level, and wind channels to navigate a crumbling castle. Whereas Mario games take a mechanic and exhaust every idea out of it in one level, Rayman Legends goes the distance, takes off, and runs with them.

With all of this wind blowing through this corridor, I hope Rayman doesn't get an
ear infection! Wait a minute. Does Rayman even have ears?
The levels keep pumping out new ideas or new twists on existing ideas that Rayman Legends remains refreshing to play from beginning to end. One level has you infiltrating an underwater base to press two buttons on opposite sides of the base to unlock a door to the final area of the level. The way to each button is simple enough, but when one is turned on, the power shuts off and the backup security systems engage. What could be a careless joyride through the level turns into a careful stealth section, dodging lasers and lights in spectacularly fun fashion.

Stealthin' like Sam Fisher, boys.
Meanwhile, another level shrinks Rayman down to a much smaller size. This allows him to walk along wires that he would otherwise grab hold of and slide down them in his regular size, as well as be able to enter small tunnels and channels that he otherwise wouldn't be able to go. While he can't defeat enemies as tiny Rayman, he can use foes as platforms and a means to bounce up to higher areas.

Sometimes Teensies are placed in some truly precarious locations.
That melon smell is never going to get out of this one's robe.
There are also some spectacular music levels that unlock at the end of each world that have you hopping, bopping, and smacking at a breakneck pace to the music. While many of these music stages contain hazards that are somewhat unexpected (and will kill you), making for the requirement to try them multiple times before you finally reach their conclusions, they remain enjoyable.

The music levels require good timing to reach the end. Don't platform while off the beat!
Even still, there is a bunch of refashioned levels from Rayman Origins in Legends--pretty much the majority from that game. These are a nice throwback to Rayman Legends's predecessor, and the new locations of hidden goodies make them worthwhile to replay if you've already burned through them in the original Origins.

Like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions, the Murfy levels of Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition have you controlling Rayman in the levels while pressing what I like to call the "Murfy Button" to have his winged friend interact with the environment--slicing ropes, moving platforms, tickling enemies, etc. While you're limited to this type of interaction in the campaign, you can play all of the Murfy campaign levels how Wii U owners did by using the touch screen to control Murfy while the rather smart AI controls Rayman or which ever character you choose to play as. Being able to both play as the character doing the actual platform and also being able to play as Murfy, interacting with the level, is something that I don't recall other versions of Rayman Legends having, making an argument that the Definitive Edition on the Nintendo Switch really is the definitive version of Rayman Legends.

Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition is bursting from the seams with content, whether it's finding all of the captured Teensies, collecting enough Lums in each level, completing the ambushed levels (where you have a set amount of time to rescue three Teensies before they're rocketed off one-by-one), scratch tickets to collect that unlock new content within the game, daily and weekly online challenges, the Kung Foot mini-game (yay, I guess?), and much more. If you somehow missed one of the hundred or so ports of the game, then Rayman Legends on the Nintendo Switch is a surefire purchase for platforming paradise. For everyone else, perhaps you'd like to own the Switch version of Rayman Legends, as the game definitely is definitive.

[SPC Says: A-]

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