I’m going to level with you, this won’t be a very long review. To be honest, I think I’ll be lucky to get 400 words out of this game. Now, before you go jumping down my throat, it’s not because it’s a bad game, or it’s boring or non-descript. Far from it. In fact, Ryman Legends may well be the (if not one of) the best games that I’ve played on the Xbox One so far. The problem with it is, however, that my reasons for loving it are relatively short. You can’t get many words out of it because you can’t get many words out of the sentence, ‘it’s a brilliant game and it reminds me of being a kid again’. So I’m going to pad this review out with a quick tale from my childhood. That’s right, it’s a backstory story.
When I was about seven, my mum and dad bought my brother and I our first ever PC. It was a windows 95 and the year was 1998 – the theme of getting the obsolete version of the latest technology was one that ran through much of my childhood. Not that I’m complaining, when I was younger I was happy with whatever I was given, which sets you up well for adult life if you grow up expecting very little. Wow, that was depressing. Anyway, on with the backstory story. So my dad brings in this PC and sets it on the table, I start helping him pull out the wires from the big brown box, my hands trembling with the excitement of owning my first real PC. I rooted around in the bottom, trying to find the instruction booklet so that we could start setting it up, when my hand brushed against two cardboard boxes. I quickly pulled them out and tore off the layer of film. To my amazement, the PC had come with two games – Worms and Rayman. I was ecstatic, my first ever PC came with my first ever PC games. It took us a while to work out how to play Worms (some of you may not remember, but back in the day you sometimes had to boot your PC in MS-DOS mode to get certain games to work, and Worms was one of those games). Rayman, however, worked without the need for this Matrix like computer mode.
So, whilst my seven year old brain tried to get its head around the concept of DOS mode, my dad began to install Rayman. The game was simple and imaginative, I loved the cool character that was, and still is, Rayman – with his floating appendages and big white fists, and the whacky noises he made put a smile on my little face. It was the first platformer that I had ever experienced, and I loved every second. My brother, my dad and I used to sit and play Rayman together for hours – trying to crack the bosses and make our way through the enchanting levels. On one level we got so stuck that we actually called up Ubisoft and asked how to get passed it. The lady on the other end of the phone was happy to oblige and quickly guided us through the level. These were the days of dial-up, where it was quicker to phone a call-centre and ask how to solve a problem than it was to search for the answer on the internet. To be honest, I don’t even remember if you could search for an answer in 98, I was far too busy playing outside to care.
It’s not just a great game, a perfectly executed piece of entertainment – it’s my childhood, it’s spending time with my dad, it encapsulates a part of my life that I hope never to forget.
Anywhoo. Rayman was pretty much the first game that I ever completed, at least on the PC. But, since then, I never really played any of the other Rayman games. I didn’t bother with Rayman 2, nor did I pick up Origins or Raving Rabbits. I only got Legends on a whim, and I’m really glad that I did. It only set me back £25, which is an absolute steal considering that I’ve squeezed almost double the hours of play time out of it than I did Thief, and I’m hardly even a quarter of the way through. Rayman Legends reminds me of everything that I loved about the original Rayman. The gorgeous level designs, the quirky characters and the general ‘fun’ nature of the game. I’ve even played a couple of levels with my dad, who also enjoyed it as much as the original, over ten years ago. That’s what Rayman is to me. It’s not just a great game, a perfectly executed piece of entertainment – it’s my childhood, it’s spending time with my dad, it encapsulates a part of my life that I hope never to forget. It’s rare that I get to relive these feelings whilst playing a video-game, which makes Rayman Legends even more special, to me at least.
Of course, they’ve added a lot since the original Rayman. The graphics are better, they’ve incorporated multiplayer, the soundtrack has improved drastically and the game is more evenly balanced between the easy and difficult levels. They’ve also added in other features, such as challenge modes and a football-mini game that’s both fun and addictive. It really is an all-rounder of a game and I can’t think of a bad word to write down. Perhaps on occasion it gets a little samey, but can you have too much of a good thing? Maybe … you can have too much cake, I guess. Still, Rayman Legends is definitely a good thing, and I’d have still been happy if I’d had to pay £40 for this game. The fact that I got it for a measly £25 is a happy, happy bonus.