Right now, the next-generation consoles are in a state of simply needing their fires stoked once in a while until the big guns—Thief, Titanfall, Infamous, etc.—start trickling in, and it’s easy to see the influx of prettied up re-releases as little more than stalling for time until that point. Last year’s Tomb Raider redux, at the very least, felt like a game that needed a little technological breathing room and got it, resulting in a genuinely breathtaking update of a decent enough title. Rayman Legends needed no such enhancement, as the game already ran at 60fps and 1080p on the Xbox 360 and PS3. The new edition has uncompressed textures and new 3D effects that lend a noticeable crispness to the proceedings, but it doesn’t necessarily make the new systems sweat any trying to keep up.
The new version also completely unburdens itself of any load times, which is welcome, but the effect isn’t mind-blowing. The new features are a couple of new Assassin’s Creed- and Far Cry 3-based costumes, some special Xbox One exclusive challenges, and the ability to use the PS4’s touchpad to pan/zoom for screenshots, none of which should make anyone jump out of their seat to buy it, especially considering that the WiiU version was able to use the touch controls for so much more. So, why exactly did this get a next-gen port? Because only 320,000 people—across all platforms—jumped out of their seat to buy it to begin with.
Rayman Legends was released in a triple-A gaming dogpile, during when Grand Theft Auto V, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, and the latest Pokémon game all came out within weeks, and the PS4 and XBox One were a month away. This next-gen port is being released in a virtual desert. In theory, this should mean a much, much bigger push to get the game in front of as many eyes as humanly possible, but that hasn’t occurred. So, perhaps the obvious simply needed to be stated again, much clearer, and on a stage even more people are paying attention to: that this is the best platformer a gamer’s money can buy on any system. It’s the funniest, most creative, most diabolically challenging, and the densest in terms of just how much content is available (unlockable levels, levels with remixed enemies, levels ported from Rayman Origins, collectibles, weekly challenges and scoreboards, mini-games, and on and on and on). And now it has “the prettiest” locked up as well.
It’s a game that deserves championing, at a time when its particular brand of creativity and freneticism is in short supply, especially in the increasingly puerile platformer genre. It comes at a time when there’s absolutely nothing like it on the next gen, and not likely to be unless the game gets another sequel, or unless there’s someone else out in the world crazy enough to program a stage in a platformer set to kazoo-laden mariachi covers of “Eye of the Tiger” during the Day of the Dead who isn’t currently tripping on acid on the streets of Juarez. This port just gave everybody a second chance to experience the best platforming the current or last gen has to offer.
Rayman Legends is now available from Ubisoft. To purchase it, click here.