Opinion: Rayman Legends Will Be Sorely Missed On Wii U Launch Day
A few weeks back Ubisoft announced, much to the disappointment of many, that Rayman Legends would no longer be a Wii U launch title and would instead be released in the first quarter of 2013. The official reason behind this delay was so that the development team could perfect the game allowing the player to have the best gaming experience possible.
However, many people have speculated this move is a tactical one, what with the Wii U launch title list growing bigger and more competitive seemingly by the day. Perhaps the top-brass at Ubisoft have thought they can generate more sales after Christmas where competition will be slightly lower and folks will have a bit of Christmas dosh to spend. It sounds like a reasonable tactic but perhaps they are simply adding that last minute polish to the game rather than rushing out an unfinished product.
Whatever the reason though, it’s a big blow to the Wii U launch and Rayman Legends will be missed. I’ve had my hands on it a few times now and I’ve found it to be an incredibly good game and, more importantly, an incredibly good example of what the Wii U can do.
The Wii U’s launch titles are a solid bunch of games, but few have really taken to the new hardware and shown off what the gamer can do with it more than Rayman Legends has. Take Nintendo Land and ZombiU out of the equation and the others are all games, good as they may be, that don’t offer a whole lot of intuitive innovations on the Wii U.
Mass Effect 3, Assassin’s Creed III, Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 all look great on the Wii U and will have really interesting new ways of playing that you can’t do on other versions, but in the end they’re all just ports of games that are on other consoles. Take away the extra GamePad functionality and it’s the same game.
Even New Super Mario Bros. U doesn’t really show off what the Wii U is capable of. Sure it’s a good game and plays like any classic side-scrolling Mario platformer should, it’s got new power-ups and looks fantastic in glorious High Definition, but there’s no real reason why, at its core, this is any different to what we’ve played on the Wii.
Rayman Legends however, has so much more about it and really innovates not just the Rayman franchise but the platforming genre itself. The whole game has been developed to take advantage of every single capability the Wii U has to offer. Take the GamePad for example, you can use it to help your friends through the game just as you can in New Super Mario Bros. U but instead of just placing blocks around the screen you can actively defeat enemies, move objects and catapult Rayman and his chums around the levels. In Rayman Legends, the GamePad is essential to the gameplay, in New Super Mario Bros. U it’s not; it has the same function we saw in Super Mario Galaxy that allowed a second player to pick up a Wii Remote and collect star shards for the primary player. It’s a nice little novelty, but it’s not integral to the gameplay.
Multiplayer is also a big feature in New Super Mario Bros. U and Rayman Legends with both featuring the ability to have up to five people play at once, but whereas the GamePad’s use in New Super Mario Bros. U is very limited, in Rayman Legends it’s intuitive and makes the player feel like they’re making a difference to the action. In New Super Mario Bros. U you can get from the start of the level to the end without the GamePad’s help, but in Rayman Legends there are segments that demand the GamePad user to get involved as progression without assistance is impossible!
Saying all that though, the Wii U’s line-up on launch day is a good one. It offers something for everyone: Nintendo Land for the family; Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and the incredible ZombiU to keep first person shooter fans busy; kids have games like Tank! Tank! Tank! to get stuck into; beat ‘em up fanatics have Tekken Tag Tournament 2; and then there are the games for everyone such as New Super Mario Bros. U! It’s just a shame that Rayman Legends couldn’t make it to the party as the Wii U needs titles that really show off what Nintendo’s new console is all about.
New Super Mario Bros. U is not a bad game by any means, it’s actually really good and is a lot of fun to play, it just doesn’t offer anything that says: “This is a Wii U title.” When you play the game, not taking the fantastic visuals into account, there’s no reason why you should think you’re playing it on the Wii U. It could just so have easily been brought out on the Wii.
Rayman Legends on the other hand says: “This is a Wii U title and you can’t play me on anything else.” And that’s why it will be so sorely missed.