Tag Archives: Game Reviews

Rayman Legends – Game Review

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Rayman: Origins is a side scrolling platformer, starring Rayman and his cast of crazy friends. The action puts Rayman and Co in the centre of numerous adventures, that require you to jump, flap and fly to save the world from an assortment of wacky villains.

This game is incredibly good fun. Every single minute of it is enjoyable. Whether you are playing along to the rhythm of Eye of the Tiger performed exclusively by ukuleles or fighting an enormous luchador, the result is the same, pure, unadulterated entertainment. I thought I would mention this at the beginning of the review because it’s what struck me first when playing it. It’s just easy to pick up, beautifully creative and whacky fun. You jump straight in and never want to jump out. It is an engrossing experience which shows what can be done using even the simplest of gaming mechanics and principles.

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Fighting a giant luchador, is just the beginning of the unique fun that happens regularly in Rayman: Legends.

Its a super stylish, super crazy and exudes an absurd personality that is omnipresent within the game. The visuals and soundtrack are both completely unique. The backdrops to the side scrolling action are remarkably creative and this helps to give each adventure a unique tone and feel. The music complements this fantastically well, evoking a playful atmosphere which is pulsating throughout. An example of this is a spy themed level where the cliché Bondesque music is pastiched brilliantly. This is probably why I like this game so much, it just exudes a unique, fun character which shines a light up to the gaming industry as a whole, giving a message that games are primarily about fun, not just shooting.

Rayman: Legends is currently available on the PlayStation store for only ten pounds. This represents great value for money and is a sound investment for any avid gamer. You also get two games for the price of one as you can play every level from Rayman: Origins on this game. I had already played Rayman: Origins and enjoyed it thoroughly and replaying some of the levels was just as enjoyable as when I first played them. If you haven’t played origins then this makes the game incredibly good value. At this low price point I must say that I would recommend any gamer to buy this. It’s such a refreshing gaming experience that can be enjoyed by any of gamings niche audiences.

The new music style levels are my highlight of the game. They basically have you platforming at high speed hitting certain objects to the beat of the song, in a similar fashion to the Guitar Hero franchise. You play along to Eye of the Tiger as well as a fantastic orchestration level which is quite probably my favourite level of the game. They are a fresh idea for the Rayman franchise and give the gamer yet another means to have some great fun and memorable moments.

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New musical levels provide even more depth to the Rayman experience

This game accommodates for all level of players from beginners to platforming fanatics. If you are beginner you can cruise through most levels, but if you are more advanced you will trying to find every hidden character and collect as many lumes (the equivalent of Mario’s coins) as possible. This is a huge undertaking as the game just gets harder and harder. At times it has you screaming at the screen, but I think this is a good thing as few games offer the degree of difficulty that some of the levels provide. The cliché of a game being easy to pick up difficult to master, is very apt for this title.

Despite me saying that this game is for everyone, it should be a approached in a light hearted way, this game says nothing about everyday life or the human condition, it’s just fun. So there is a chance that those less whimsical could be caught up in being cynical about the surreal nature of the game, but to the cynics, I say relax, it’s a game and enjoy it for what it is, a wonderfully creative achievement.

Offline Co-op is another aspect of this game. It allows four players to pick up a controller and jump into the action. You go through the single player campaign with multiple players. This has problems though, as the screen gets packed with too many characters and it ruins the pacing which is so fantastic when played alone. The online offering is not much better either, this game is definitely best experienced on your own, or with two players in my opinion.

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Playing with too many players can lead to a visual overload.

I am scoring this game 9 out of 10. This is because it’s an unbelievably fun game with whimsical, eccentric environments and soundtrack. It is a unique experience and at just £10 it is a sound investment for any gamer. For me this is a standard bearer of how much fun a light hearted game can be and I will certainly remember my experiences of Rayman: Legends for a very long time.

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Valiant Hearts: The Great War- Game Review

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Valiant Hearts: The Great War

 

Valiant Hearts: The Great War is a side scrolling puzzle game available on the Playstation Store.

First and foremost Valiant Hearts is a stunning game. The reason I decided to buy it was purely for the unique artistic direction. The visuals are something of a cartoon, but they manage to convey such emotion. The character design is simple, none of the characters have eyes, or even movable mouths, but they still seem like coherent characters with different personalities. The simplicity of the characters is what makes them. You as the gamer convey all of your emotions onto them. The backgrounds and the environments are equally beautiful. They are very similar to what you see in the recent Rayman games, from the same developer, but with a much more sombre atmosphere.

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Just one of the many beautiful scenes in the game

The game is an adventure puzzle game. Most of your time will be spent working out numerous different puzzles. These range from trying to get objects to finding your way around objects blocking the trenches as well as a few adventure sequences. Each of these are satisfying to complete, but it must be said that this is not a challenging game. This didn’t put me off particularly, due to the fact that I wanted to progress through the story, but if you are looking for challenging puzzles look elsewhere.

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The puzzles in the game are charming rather than challenging

The story follows the 4 protagonists journey and experiences throughout WWI. The characters stories interlink at numerous points, with them sharing the overriding joint goal of taking out a German commander. You will play as each of the four characters; Emile, an ageing French farmer, Karl, German born, living in France, is forced into the German army (he is also the son in law of Emile), Freddie, an American soldier bent on revenge for his fallen wife and Ana, a Belgian nurse. You also order around a dog, who helps you to complete the puzzles. Each of the characters play the same, apart from their special abilities, such as Emile being able to dig. The characters are simply designed, but due to cut scenes they all have meaningful back-stories which give them unique personalities. Playing the game, you definitely feel empathy for each characters position as well as the war itself. Needless to say this game is a melancholy affair, due to the subject matter. But there are uplifting moments, like saving the lives of opposition soldiers and riding a taxi out of Paris whilst avoiding objects. The game is a human story, it tries not to portray any politics, simply that it was an awful time to be a human in Europe. However it must be said that the villain, the German commander, is a somewhat negative stereotype that doesn’t fit the atmosphere of the game as a whole. He is a lazily created and by far the worst in the game.

The audio of the game is fantastic. The whole game has piano driven and orchestral pieces which really ramp up the emotion. They help to convey a sense of melancholy which is needed in a game about the great war. However there are some more upbeat sounds as well, such as a band playing in the train station before Emile enters the war. It is one of the stand out features of the game and it combines with the visuals perfectly to provide a coherent overall atmosphere.

One of the criticisms I have read elsewhere  is of the historical notes that appear during the game. Throughout, as you reach new levels, notes are available, detailing the actual history of WWI. I find this criticism completely unfounded. The notes appear in the corner of the screen  and you have to press a button for them to pop up. They don’t appear on the screen by themselves. If you don’t want to read the historical notes provided, there is no reason for you to do so, you can easily play the game without reading them. But for me, as a bit of a history nut, it was great to read the true stories behind the environments and the narrative. The game places you in areas of real significance to WWI such as the Somme. This was an added bonus for me, but even if you don’t like the history, it’s not a negative that they accommodate for those interested, which is why I find the criticism unfounded.

At just £11.99 this game is fantastic value for money. It gives you a unique experience in a period of history which is not often portrayed. If your looking for a simple game with high emotion and fantastic artistic direction, give this a try. In fact if there is anyone reading this who is looking for a unique experience, just try it, this game is full of character and is suitable for people without much gaming experience. There is no denying that this game isn’t perfect but it is very good indeed. I would rate this game as 8.5 out of 10. Valiant Hearts: The Great War puts to shame the amount of games being priced at around £50 and is well worth the money for an interesting and emotive gaming experience.

 

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