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Review: Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition

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Lame, man

I've been a huge fan of Rayman's revival period. After the Rabbids spun off into their own universe (which even got big enough to crossover with Mario recently), and Rayman fell into relative obscurity, I was extremely delighted to play through Rayman Origins and its even better follow-up, Rayman Legends. 

After only playing it on the Wii U, I was curious as to how well Legends' GamePad-centric mechanic translated to its ports and even how it played on the go. Luckily for me, a "definitive" version of the title collected all of the content spread across multiple ports and sought to deliver the best of both home and portable worlds. 

Too bad it only really nails half of each. 

Rayman Legends Definitive Edition (Switch)
Developer: Ubisoft Montepellier
Publisher: Ubisoft
Released: September 12, 2017
MSRP: $39.99

Taking place sometime after Rayman Origins, Rayman and his buddies have been sleeping while gross monsters and the like have wreaked havoc across the land. At the behest of a long bearded hookah smoker, Rayman and some compatriots have to save little blue fairy things called "Teensies." Saving these Teensies across Definitive Edition's many, many, many available levels and collecting Lums (little yellow fairies only factoring into a final level score and an unlockable toward the game's end) is how you progress. You'll unlock new stages and worlds almost constantly, so at least there's a good sense of progression throughout. It's even more pronounced in the Definitive Edition, as now there are many more characters and character skins (like a Rayman wearing a Mario hat or a Rayman with a suit of armor). So early on, it feels like there are a ton of collectables and fun to be had. But unfortunately, these massive piles of collectables devolve into white noise before too long. 

At least the gameplay is still as tight as ever. Running and jumping feels precise, and there are plenty of creative twists on platforming to keep the stages innovative for the majority of the time. Standouts are still, of course, the rhythm stages such as the famous "Black Betty" scored stage. These stages are platform design at its finest, and Definitive Edition definitely gave me an urge to replay some of the better designed stages. The worst aspect of this, however, is whenever the flying green friend Murfy is involved.

In the Wii U version, another player could use the GamePad's touchscreen and move Murfy around to interact with the level and help Rayman along. But in this version (and the older ports, apparently), Murfy is relegated to a button press as he automatically positions himself where needed. It's a bit cumbersome when trying to press a button to activate Murfy while jumping to platforms at the same time, or needing to quickly switch between the two in mid-air. It's such a strangely non-cohesive design choice for an otherwise tight game.

And for such a well designed platformer, this "definitive" port has far too many technical issues to ignore. While this still has the smooth animation and visual design of Legends, it doesn't look the greatest. Rather than feel like an updated version of a title initially released four years ago, it, uh, looks like a title released four years ago with even more compressed images. Compounding on this are the entirely too lengthy load times. To be honest the loading time wasn't a huge issue for me at first, but the more levels I played, the more I realized how much time in all I had spent waiting to play them. The waiting can be so egregious at times, it diminishes the easy and breezy vibe of Legends overall. As for the Switch's handheld mode, this works out better but I did notice a bit of slowdown in some levels. 

On one hand, I want as many people to play Rayman Legends as possible since it manages to reinvent itself and stay fresh with so many of its levels. The fact it's now available to a new audience with a slightly discounted price greases those wheels a bit too. 

On the other, there just isn't enough here to justify warranting a purchase of Definitive Edition. It's slightly worse than its prior counterparts (even forgoing the Wii U's gameplay twist with Murfy and not letting another Switch user connect and play in that particular way), and the only truly new feature is the ability to play a tournament mode in the Kung Foot soccer minigame.

Maybe I nitpicked Definitive Edition into oblivion, but there isn't a justification for such a wonky product that's the latest in a long line of ports. 

[This review is based on a retail build of the game purchased by the reviewer.]


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Rayman Legends Definitive Edition reviewed by Nick Valdez

4.5

BELOW AVERAGE

Has some high points, but they soon give way to glaring faults. Not the worst, but difficult to recommend.
How we score:  The destructoid reviews guide

 
 
 

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Nick Valdez
Nick ValdezAssociate Editor   gamer profile

Nick Valdez has been writing for Modern Method for years, but now he's writing about videogames! He likes games where you punch dudes in the face.  more + disclosures


 



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