A lot of people's games of last year happened to be Rayman Origins, well Ubisoft aren't disappointing on their yearly showing of games by fully announcing Rayman Legends at E3, even though it may have been announced slightly prior to the show. At E3 they were able to announce that it's being released on the Wii U and a brand new character to hit the franchise; Murphy.
Murphy is a character exclusive to the Wii U GamePad and allows an extra player to take part putting the total player cap to five. Murphy allows you to aid the other players in the game through various methods making him more of a guardian angel than extra player. He can chop ropes, grass, poke things in the eye or move pieces of the environment to help you along. As well as doing things that help the player progress through a level he can collect Lums but tapping moving creatures out of the playable space to help ramp up your end score. He also has the ability to turn normal Lums into purple Lums as well as create them in certain instances. Plus he can help the player even more by popping their bubble when they die, bringing them back to life just like a normal player can.
The demo on the show floor was made up of the levels that were shown during the Ubisoft pre-E3 press conference, Murphy aiding a player through multiple levels in different ways. This then finally evolves into a music themed level which is what made their playthrough astounding. I love rhythm in games and reactions to music, not enough games do it, but it now feels like Rayman has a hint of it. Of course there has always been a hint of music in the musical instrument themed levels in the past Rayman games, but it didn't have the same effect as this.
Although Murphy is a great asset to the game I feel he's at his best during the musical segment of the level, tapping eyes that only he can see to the beat of the music while Rayman jumps and kicks obstacles in the level. Murphy also has the ability to create Lums in arcs at certain points in the stage to aid the player in their collection of Lums while also giving you the feeling like you're conducting the music.
And Murphy isn't the only addition to the game, you can see that Ubisoft are going all out to introducing new characters to the game, it's no longer the days of the same baddies in different clothes. We now have dragons, bugs, skeletons and of course grannies rocking out on flying coffins. Plus with the addition of Murphy it looks like puzzles are having more of a feature throughout the game which will help slow down the pace of Legends, as Origins was a very fast paced game, perhaps too fast for some.
Sadly a lot of people gave up on Rayman Origins due to the difficulty curve, meaning that a large portion of players didn't complete the last few levels in the game. However Ubisoft have promised that they've addressed the difficulty in the newest outing. Making it a more manageable and friendly experience for all players, while still offering a challenge for those that want one. With hard secret challenges and treasure puzzles as we've come to expect from Origins.
While also with the addition of Murphy who currently seems to be an invincible character it'll be a great way to get a younger child involved with the game. You just may want to have someone older take care of the more difficult puzzles, thus then making it a much more social experience where you pass around the GamePad.
One of the best moments of playing Rayman Origins was playing it with friends, and once again that'll be the case with Rayman Legends. Although the one big thing Ubisoft haven't really announced yet is whether we can expect online co-op in Legends for the Wii U, or other consoles if it doesn't turn out to be an exclusive.
Rayman Origins was an exceptional game and brilliant reboot to the Rayman franchise; it looks like Legends is heading in the same direction so we can't wait to see some more on the levels and for some more details to be announced. For those with the artistic eye, or just eyes will immediately notice a slight change in visual style of the game. It now has less of a cartoony feel and features slightly warmer colours and softer lines on the characters and environment. I'm still not 100% sold on the new look but it still felt great playing it, and it looked lovely on the Wii U GamePad screen.
Rayman Legends is currently being released for the Wii U and no official launch date or year have been announced, fingers crossed it'll be a Wii U launch title as it'll mean there's a really strong third party presence for the console's launch. However I also hope it'll be released on other consoles too.