Published on December 14th, 2012 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor1
Lightning Can Strike Twice: Rayman Legends Wii U Demo Impressions
The Nintendo Wii U has got a lot to prove. The console itself has many non-believers questioning its graphical integrity, particularly those who already own the current-gen of HD consoles.Regardless of whether or not the Wii U has “X” amount of RAM, or an “xTREME GRAPHICS x9483” card under its hood, games like Rayman Legends are proving themselves more than worthy to grace the platform.
The sequel to the hand-drawn Rayman Legends title has already made its splash into the Nintendo eShop. The demo dropped into the online marketplace Dec. 13, and is already shaping itself to be a must have title.
After playing through the demo quite a few times, it is no wonder that the continuation titles in the Rayman franchise have been such a hit. The second game in the series mildly changes things up a bit, having Rayman and Co. heading into portals hidden in portraits. At first, these images look nothing more than interesting, some housing what looks like a Medieval era. All of a sudden, KABLAM!
The change in scenery brings along a change in cast. Don’t worry, Globox is still in the mix. Oh, and that Rayman dude is still there, too. New to the series is Barbara, a red-headed battle-hungry firecracker who wields a battle axe.
Below you can check out the second portion to the “Teensies in Trouble” gameplay we’ve recorded to see her in action.
Something that I did like about the demo was its change in character weight. Each character performed as a different entity. Some of that change in control can be seen in the underground video where I was trying to collect the Lums. Having control of the character Barbara was a bit different to that of Rayman himself. Er, itself. Whatever.
The game looks to expand upon the creativity that the ‘Origins embarked on. There is no doubt that we will be seeing just as much care and artistic substance crammed into each level. For example, the aesthetics to the level “Castle Rock” bring more than just a jam to some old school band. The level pops with animations, leaving the music to spark with flare as the speed run ensues.
The controls of the game are simple. The GamePad makes use of the ‘R’ shoulder button to sprint and the other buttons are simplistic and familiar. Much like any platformer the ‘B’ button jumps (which is the bottom button where most jump actions are mapped to) and the ‘Y’ attacks. The GamePad screen shows off the same action seen on the TV above. The only time this changes is when the motion controls are enacted. This is something that the game does very well.
There aren’t intrusive motion controls that force players to partake into some control scheme that they don’t want. Instead, the game drops hints of motion controls while casually introducing them into the whole scheme of things. This is refreshing to have developers focus on the GamePad as an option instead of relying on the controller to shape the game. The touch screen is used nicely and makes its use worthwhile.
The only gripe I have about the game is simply something more of critique. When you are selecting your “Hero” from the main menu, none of the names are announced or highlighted. Rayman Legends might be a sequel, but new Nintendo Wii U owners aren’t going to know “who” they are. A brief description of each character, or a simple” GLOBOX!” announcement when each is highlighter/selected would work just fine.
The gameplay keeps its root in providing a seamless blend of platforming and prestigious artwork. There wasn’t a hiccup to be found and it was smooth sailing the entirety of the demo.
Each character has a different feel to them and can be played differently through each level. The Nintendo Wii U GamePad works well with the simplistic controls, but also performs perfectly incorporating motion and touch controls.
I can’t say how much I’m impressed by the Nintendo Wii U gameplay for Rayman Legends. The February release date is realistically about two months and a few days away, but this Ubisoft Montepellier product is close to perfection.