Personal Rating: " Classic - Must buy"
Traditional Rating: 10/10
Award: Sir Faulty's GOLD GAME AWARD
Rayman seemed to find his limbless arms and feet after the release of Rayman Origins - a beautiful and intoxicating adventure of a game that turned out to be one of the most unexpected surprises of 2011. Taking Rayman back to the drawing board, Ubisoft and series creator Michael Ancel took the bold decision to steer the series back to its 2D roots with the introduction of a new framework called UbiArt that simply has to be seen to be believed. Through the use of UbiArt - Rayman Origins became the closest game this past generation to get the actual look and feel right of a Disney movie or cartoon come to life. It was also a wise decision because it helped differentiate the new game in a 3D platform dominated AAA arena. With its tight, razor-like controls harmoniously married to the games increasingly frantic series of precise jumps, runs, kicks, swings, slaps and air glides, Rayman Origins was an absolute delight to play and a joy to handle despite almost reaching Super Meat Boy levels of frustration towards the end. So... after years of roaming the platform desert (where many a failed platform hero is sent out to die) the genre suddenly had a new unsung hero. Had Rayman finally arrived at the gates of Mount Mario ready to take his place in the pantheon of platforming gods?
Everything about this sequel is larger, funnier, livelier and more joyous than the first. It's also bat-♥♥♥♥ crazy in the same way one would expect an asylum to be when that asylum has been taken over by the nut hounds themselves. Legends goofy story pretty much picks up where Origin left off with our friends once again awakening from another 100 year slumber only to find out that the mad magician from the previous game has split into five dark magicians who are once again running amok releasing nightmares of all kinds into the Glade of Dreams and its mythical lands beyond. Yet again, the nightmares and the magicians have gone on to capture all of the teensies along with the 10 princesses that rule this delightfully wacky world and it's once again left up to Rayman and his mad, zany cohorts to save the day. Like Origins - the game starts out deceptively easy but ramps up the difficulty pretty fast becoming rather super-duper difficult towards the end and will rely on lots of precision timing in order to complete. You will need pixel perfection to complete this adventure and if you don't mind that, you are going to have a blast and some seriously good laughs along the way.
I really admire Michael Ancel and the team he put together to create this platforming adventure. The levels of creativity on display in Legends far surpasses the surprise and wonder from Origins as they disassemble the traditional platformer yet again and in the process create what I now consider a platforming masterpiece. Coupling this with some of the most intensely satisfying level design and music they really have gone on to create last generations platforming masterpiece. If platformers get any better than this - please direct me to it because quite frankly this is the new gold standard in my books.
If I have one gripe - its a large one but thankfully the games generous and loving heart is so huge it has swayed me not to deduct a point from the score - is that is still does not offer online co-op. In this day and age this is a major oversight on Ancel and his teams part. I would want nothing more than to experience this zany adventure with some of my close friends who don't happen to be sitting on the couch with me but alas I can't. Like the Lego games from Traveler's Tales this repeated oversight is starting to make them look like stick-in-the-mud's and I hope that with the next release they seriously consider making this an option because I won't be so kind the next time around. If you are a platformer, cartoon or - hell, even humorist enthusiast you owe it to yourself to own this game immediately.
Welcome to the pantheon Rayman - your seat is the one next to the Italian Plumber with the red hat!
***On a side note - this is only the sixth game in my thirty year history of gaming (has it already been that long?) to get a perfect score from me (it really is that good). The first being Mega Man 3 from Capcom, the second being King's Quest VI from Sierra On-line, the third being Diablo II from Blizzard Software, the fourth being ICO from Team ICO and the fifth being Dark Souls from From Software***