The limbless wonder returns for next gen consoles and looks pretty much the same as last time.
How does one improve on perfection? While many of you may have a different perception of the perfect graphical masterpiece, there’s no denying that for all intents and purposes, Ubisoft Montpelier’s Rayman Legends was simply perfect in what it tried to achieve with its visual style. Of course, it was also a supremely fun game to boot.
"The golden standard was already achieved – surely Ubisoft Montpelier wouldn’t go for a complete overhaul in terms of the art style rather than adding a few new costumes? "
The UbiArt Framework engine introduced in Rayman Origins helped create an expansive 2D sprite-like art-style that was both rambunctious and elegant, and gave the impression of the game being hand-drawn. The best part? Rayman Legends was 60 frames per second and 1080p resolution on all platforms. Considering the game was first developed on the Wii U and then delayed to make way for the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions, it’s a great sign of Ubisoft Montpelier promoting platform parity with the franchise.
This made the announcement of Rayman Legends for the PS4 and Xbox One somewhat strange. What could the next gen consoles possibly improve on? The golden standard was already achieved – surely Ubisoft Montpelier wouldn’t go for a complete overhaul in terms of the art style rather than adding a few new costumes? After a full analysis, the latter seemed ever more evident. Despite the promise of uncompressed textures and assets, Rayman Legends on the PS4 and Xbox One bear as much similarity to each other as they do to the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions.
So no, you won’t notice any additional particle effects or improved lens flares or such, and the uncompressed textures look virtually identical to the compressed assets on the Xbox 360 and PS3. This further hammers the point home that some ports aren’t meant to be improvements on their predecessors – they’re just meant to spread the game to other platforms. Take the lack of AA – it would have been easy enough to apply post process AA to the same and smooth out the edges on characters.
"On both consoles, Rayman Legends loads instantaneously, and you’ll no longer have those interactive loading screens to distract you during the core gameplay."
But Ubisoft Montpelier didn’t. Not that it makes much of a difference to the art style. The character models and their environments are still as crisp and vibrant as before. Lava-filled environments cast an orange-ish glow across players, further immersing you in the action, just as minutely detailed running and jumping animations can be gleaned even in the most frantic of moments.
The current gen versions never suffered from frame rate issues, even on the Wii U, so it’s only a given that the Xbox One and PS4 versions would run just as fluidly. There’s no hint of slowdown or screen stuttering anywhere. Honestly, if there’s any benefit offered by the next gen technology, it’s the faster loading times. On both consoles, Rayman Legends loads instantaneously, and you’ll no longer have those interactive loading screens to distract you during the core gameplay. Again, neither console is better than the other in this department.
There’s not much more anyone can say about Rayman Legends on the Xbox One and PS4. One could nit-pick the somewhat half-hearted implementation of the DualShock 4’s Touch-pad, which does nothing to approach the brilliance offered by the Wii U’s Gamepad. But on the whole, if you’ve never played Rayman Legends on current gen machines and want to expand on your next-gen library, it’s as much as a worthy addition to a PS4/Xbox One owner’s library as ever.