I’ve recently started playing my unfinished copy of Rayman Legends and am faced with a reminder why I loved this game and also got fed up of it.
The game is beautiful with vibrant colours and interesting environments. Importantly the core gameplay is fun, which combined with the visuals makes for a good experience. However there’s plenty well made and colourful platformers out there. What makes this game stand out from other games is the finale levels where the level is exceptionally well constructed so you jump and smash to the beat. The vibrant artwork and interesting take on established songs bring a real charm to these levels. I love them!
However the game is now without its flaws and the levels where you’re in a mad dash sprint highlight the biggest weakness in the game. The camera seems to want to keep the player bang slap in the centre of the screen.
The problem with this is that you have a limited view of what is ahead. Being able to see what is coming up and the troubles awaiting you is very beneficial, much more than what is behind you. For the bulk of the game this can be okay as you don’t need to run flat out, meaning that you’re less likely to get any nasty surprises. However if you’re going flat out and only have a limited view of whats ahead then very little time is afforded to react.
On numerous occassions I’ve died having gotten my timing slightly off at an early part of a sequence, only for that to make a later jump impossible. At its peak, Rayman is like other platform games where the jumping almost has a rhythm or flow to it (hence why the actual music levels are so awesome). If I jump, jump and jump at set intervals, I’ll expect the next jump to be the same interval. This is not always the case, but usually you see whats coming and can react. The problem with this game is that I only see the full picture of the next jump as I’m about to press the button.
What could Rayman do better then? Well if you’re sprinting, particularly in one direction for several seconds, move the camera so that you can see more of whats ahead, returning to a central position as you let go of the sprint (or hit something etc). If anything Rayman seems to do the opposite, with my character being closer to the edge of the screen where I’m heading.
[Note: This was written a while ago and was saved as a draft until I put together a video… which doesn’t seem like happening so apologies for the wall of text!]