Zzz… Hm? Wha…? You woke me up!
Will you check the clock for me?
What time is it?
[Day REALLY LATE O’CLOCK]
What? Really Late O’Clock?
How many minutes?
[TOO MANY. GET UP]
Whoa! Too many min.?
>OMG YES PLZ GET UP
DAY REALLY LATE TOO MANY MIN. O’CLOCK! I overslept!
Hello! Sorry to keep you waiting with that reference to Pokemon Gold and Silver. I’m Trey, and you’re reading my first post from my section of The Geekon Record, “From A to Zelda“! I’ll be posting about Nintendo-centric things every so often, so if you’re a fan of formulaic platformers, adventures containing lava, water, and grass worlds in every game, or enjoy a good laugh at an obscure reference to Nintendo’s past flops, check this out!
So here’s the deal. The Wii U came out last November. Did you hear about it? Don’t worry, apparently nobody did. Since its release, the Wii U has been the laughing stock of every game console with only 3.61 million copies sold (up to this point). At this rate, the Virtual Boy might have a new friend with its units sold. Many factors contributed with the poor sales that the Wii U has shown. The fact that the name is actually just the previous console’s name with an extra letter may have confused consumers, thinking that the physical console may just be a software update (that’s what I thought at first, at least). The second problem that the Wii U faces is that it’s console is not exactly the most powerful thing. In all actuality, it’s slightly weaker than the Xbox 360 and the PS3, which isn’t good for what now is the eighth generation of video game consoles. But the biggest thing that set the Wii U’s fate as a console with weak sales is the lack of games that were released to coincide with the the Wii U’s premiere. Only a select few titles were original and exclusive games for the console (such as New Super Mario Bros. U and Sonic All Stars Racing Transformed). On top of that, the games rarely used the console’s gamepad features, shooting down the most unique feature that has come to home consoles in an embarrassing way.
But y’all, something changed on September 3rd, 2013. Something amazing. Something that, when I played it, I was blown away to a world where I underwent a new occurrence in video game hardware that made me fall in love with the video game experience all over again.
On that day, a friend and I bought the new game Rayman: Legends, and I have to say, I won’t be returning it for cash anytime soon.
A quick history/review of this game before I get into the main body of the story, Rayman: Legends is the sequel to the 2011 game Rayman: Origins, a platformer with two objectives: collect things, get to the end. A simple platformer that shares many similarities with the Mario platform games. Except this game has a twist. Rather than having a straight multiplayer platformer that has you and your friends play to just reach the end and compete to see who can collect the most items, Rayman incorporates many unique gameplay moments where you have to defeat enemies in a certain order and in a steady rhythm so you can collect all of the Lums (collectible creatures similar to coins seen in the Mario games). This, combined with the fun and colorful design that the game does so well with, actually makes me prefer this game over the New Super Mario Bros. franchise, which is hard for a fan of Nintendo as big as me. So yes, Rayman equals good, A+ for Rayman.
Before the Wii U was released, I was a big snark about it and didn’t think Nintendo would ever pull it off (and they haven’t…yet). Then Christmas came around, and my parents got it for me because they know my loyalty to the Nintendo name. So great, I had this system with one game that I would have to play for about seven months, and let me tell you, I mastered New Super Mario Bros. U. Eventually I bought Nintendo Land at Game Xchange for ten bucks, but my collection was still lacking compared to the variety of games the Wii had to offer. The lack of gamepad use that the Wii U so reluctantly offered in Mario U was disappointing to me, and within a couple of months I was only using the Wii U to buy some great deals on retro games (and let me tell you, there were some GREAT deals). Then I got my hands on Legends, which took every sliver of hope that I had for the Wii U and tremendously blew them out of the water.
Legends shares the same style as Origins, where you gather some friends to play through a colorful and lovely game. Or play by yourself. I mean, I did. The twist to this game, however, is that the person on the gamepad has points where it is mandatory for the player to call in Murphy, a character who’s sole purpose is to move things in the environment through touching, sliding, and rubbing the objects on the pad. The concept seems kind of “lame” when you hear it, but once you actually do it, it’s a blast. There are bits in the Murphy sections where it is actually challenging, asking you to protect your friends while defeating enemies and opening paths so they can continue. And really, that much multitasking is fun when you’re doing it on your own gamepad. The controls on the pad are also surprisingly exceptional when you are playing as the platforming character and not Murphy.
Another thing that made me fall in love with this game and console is the amount of fun I have while playing it with friends. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been good at platform games. Really good. Like, so good that when I played New Super Mario Bros. Wii with others, I kept on going and collecting every single special coin. Every coin. All of the lives. It got so bad that one of them threw down the controller and yelled, “I can’t do this with Trey.” That’s the one rule I have when playing these multiplayer platform games: I’ve grown up replaying Mario platform games all of my life. I don’t stop and won’t stop, no matter how bad/new you are at it. I’ve found some good friends to play platformers with me who have a pretty good sense of humor with the whole “oh, we’ll never be as good as Trey at this” perspective (#TreyYatesBraggingStatus). Still, the games retain a little sense of dullness because I’ve always experienced that for a long time. Cue Legends. My friend and I are running as I collect every single special coin, Lum, and defeat every monster in my path. My friend then announces, “ALL RIGHT. I’M JUST HELPING YOU OUT NOW.” He taps on the pad and then assists me in collecting all of the coins, finding collectibles, and making Lums easier to gather. While this makes it easier for me, it finally gives me the teamwork experience that I’ve longed for so much in a platform game. Finally, no more, “OH GOD, WHY ARE YOU GOOD AT THIS GAME,” but more of a, “WOW, YOU’RE GOOD AT THIS GAME, LET ME SEE IF I CAN STOP YOU SOMEHOW WITH THIS MAGICAL MURPHY CREATURE.” Because the person on the gamepad can make things more challenging, and I think that’s beautiful.
In addition, the fact that the game is just incredible makes a strong final point. Legends was pushed back a few months so Ubisoft could release the game on the other consoles, even though it was supposed to be a Wii U exclusive. For your reference, the creator and developers through a fit over it. But looking at the reviews for the other consoles, you see that the Wii U version is by far the superior version. When you become Murphy on the other versions, the mechanics become weird. As an alternative to tickling a monster, tapping a creature out, or moving a platform, the other versions just have you press the B or circle button to perform these tasks. That, to me (and others), is a pretty lame alternative to the interactive way the Wii U presents to us.
Also, there are levels where you have to run and just run. But you’re not running to just anything. Oh no, you’re running to music. On one level, you’re running and beating things down to the rhythm and beats of Ram Jam’s “Black Betty.” On another level, it’s a mariachi version of Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger.” Another, you’re swimming to The 188.8.131.52’s “Woo Hoo.” And whoa, are those fun. Nothing beats gathering Lums that are lined up in a certain order to be collected on beat while you your adrenaline-filled fingers hit the buttons on time with the correct precision and accuracy.
Also also, there are levels where you turn into ducks and have to get to the end of the level as Murphy eats through cheese and spiky chocolate obstacles covered in boiling hot sauce. Why don’t you have this game yet?
The Wii U is having a rough time right now. Nintendo made some bad decisions while not fulfilling their promises on the use of the hardware (like really, who actually uses the 3D on the 3DS (I actually do, but I’m one of a very select few)). Unlike the 3DS, however, the Wii U can make a comeback in hardware if only Nintendo would release games that use the gamepad’s feature. And I don’t mean games that have already been released on PS3 and Xbox (looking at you, Assassin’s Creed and Mass Effect). Exclusive games. The games have to be special. Why Nintendo didn’t get to work on exclusive Nintendo games made especially for the Wii U, I’ll never know. But they can do it. I have faith that they can pull it off and not pull a Virtual Boy all over again. It all starts with this treasure of a game that is Rayman: Legends. The developers at Ubisoft got the gameplay right, and it’s making me excited for the games Nintendo has in store, starting with Super Mario 3D World and the next Super Smash Bros. game. So come on Nintendo, get these out already! I’M READY TO THROW MY WALLET AT YOU.