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Rayman Legends Preview

Rock out with your Globox out!

Sometimes a title comes along that brings to mind childish wonder. A game that brings back memories of the past, before realism was the standard and fantastical worlds were the norm. A title that includes colorful graphics, spinning spike-riddled death traps, and rocking grandmas. Wait, what?

Rayman Legends is all these things and more. A sequel to last year's eight kinds of awesome Rayman Origins, Legends wants to be more than more of the same and it looks like it's achieving that with the Wii U GamePad. Combine the touch screen with the creativity and solid platforming of the Rayman series and you have one of the most anticipated titles of the new console.

Rayman, Globox and the Teensies are all sucked into various paintings that tell the tale of mythical worlds in need of rescue. Rayman and company must make their way through each of these areas to free the captured Teensies with the help of Globox and Murfy. A simple premise for sure, but it breeds a diverse array of locations for the game to take place in.

No matter where it takes place however, you can count on the game looking beautiful. As with Rayman Origins, the art design is drop dead gorgeous. Foliage is vibrant green, characters pop right off the screen, and animations are fluid and inventive. This world is certainly cartoony in the best way possible. Inspiration definitely is taken from the wackiest of cartoons like Ren and Stimpy, The Fairly Oddparents and the MGM Tex Avery cartoons.

The graphics aren't the same as Origins however, as upgrades have been added to Legends. Although still a 2D platform title, new 3D elements have been added such as switching between foreground and background plains. Michel Ancel and his team have also implemented a snazzy new lighting system, as well as a new rendering system that makes the character models look almost three dimensional.

Of course, Rayman Legends is one of the big releases for the Wii U and that means that the Wii U GamePad controller is utilized. With it, you control Murfy and use the touch screen to do a multitude of things. You'll direct Murfy to cut down ropes, lift obstacles, turn yellow lums into the more valuable purple lums, grab enemies for Rayman to attack, and more.

The controller can also be used to manipulate certain aspects of the levels. In the demo, there's a point where you use the gyroscope in the controller to turn a rotating device with deadly spikes on it so the other players can avoid it. This was also shown off in a wheel-shaped death trap, where one player helps the other navigate through a maze riddled with spikes to reach the teensie at the end.

One of the most impressive moments in the demo showcased the combination of the classic Rayman platforming with rhythm game elements. In the final part of the demo, Rayman and Globox run through a multitude of obstacles in a fast-paced level that requires you to keep moving. Murfy assists by moving obstacles and changing lums but this time it's to the beat of the music. Furthermore, players will jump to the downbeat of the drums, punch in time of the bass line, and zip line to guitar solos.

The level is just amazing and watching players as they jump from wall to wall, take out enemies in mid-air with ease and get shot through a row of rings on fire is breathtaking. Sequences like this are promised to be abundant in the game and it's simply awesome, and is also a perfect example of how diverse the gameplay in Rayman Legends can be while staying true to its platforming roots.

In case you haven't noticed, I'm excited about Rayman Legends and I think you should be too. Although Ubisoft showed a lot in terms of the game's diversity, it was all taken from about four areas in a single level. We've only scratched the surface on this title, and I'll be looking for more information as the release window of fall 2012 comes closer. In the meantime, check out Rayman Origins if you haven't already and if you plan on picking up a Wii U this fall, this will be one of the must own titles for the system.

Rayman Legends was supposed to be released on the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 as well although it may now be a Wii U exclusive. It's expected to be a launch title for the Wii U, which is rumored to be released in November.


 

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