Despite it’s unique art style and less recognizable characters, it would be easy to make the false assumption that Rayman Legends is just like any other platformer. It’s not.
In truth, Ubisoft’s most recent iteration in the venerable Rayman series is a force to be reckoned with. If players who pick up Legends are familiar with it’s predecessor, Rayman Origins, then they might not be as stunned to find the level of difficulty on display in this game. If not, however, they are in for a rude awakening.
Rayman Legends is an impeccably designed game: one that demands players be at the very height of their platforming skills in order to even complete it. The caveat to this difficulty comes in the way that the levels are created with a sort of rhythm to them. If you can get the rhythm down then you can conquer just about any level without too much trouble, but here’s the kicker: the rhythm changes level by level.
Of course, this rhythm was apparent in many of Origins levels as well, which is likely what inspired the creation of the musical-themed levels featured in Legends. Set to songs like “Black Betty” or “Eye of the Tiger”, the rhythm-based levels are one of the final challenges awaiting gamers who seek the coveted 100% completion on their respective platform. In fact, players who wish to master this game will have to be able to make it through every single musical level without a single mistake, all while the levels use tricks like obscuring your view or mirroring your vision.
“Sure” you say, “the game is hard. We get it, but what’s that got to do with you?” I’m sure that’s the question you’re asking, and I’m almost certain you asked it just like that. My how perceptively specific you are!
Well, to answer your question, the actual final challenge of Rayman Legends comes in the form of a final achievement, one that can only be obtained by the kind of dedication that would see a player return to the game every day for as much as three to six months.
Players who have managed the time, patience and mastery of the game that is required to gain this highly coveted and insanely rare trophy will know that it is no mean feat. As you might have guessed by the pretentious way I’m setting this all up: I happen to be one of those players.
I have to wonder how you can spend so much time dedicated, at least on some level, to a single game without it changing you, at least a little bit. Sure, the same could be said for dozens of games. Animal Crossing and other sims certainly try to motivate you into coming back every day, and return you will. The same goes for multiplayer shooters, which will see players returning daily to compete against one another and grind for gear and upgrades.
Rayman‘s approach is decidedly different than these examples though. Whereas most games try to compel you with more of the same, albeit on a rising scale, Legends compels you to return with a unique set of challenges that change with each passing day.
To gain the coveted Platinum/100% completion, players must push themselves every single day to get a little bit better, a little bit faster, a little bit more aware. There is no short road or trick to getting Legends‘ final achievements, just the promise of a commitment from you, the player, to return and prove your mastery over the game very regularly for an extended period of time.
You see, to be granted the 11th level of awesomeness, you have to prove your worth. Trophies are handed out daily and weekly in-game, with each one boasting a value. Bronzes are worth 1 point, silvers are worth 5, and golds are worth 10. You need 1850 points to get the final achievement.
Now, before some cocky such and such pops in to point out that platinums are worth 50 points, let me just take the time to point out that you have to be one of the 10 best players in the world to take the challenge in order to gain that honor. This is something I managed a time or two, but the amount of work it takes, and the threat that you can get kicked out of the top 10 if anyone else achieves a better score before the day is through, makes this a near insurmountable challenge.
Hell, I once managed to be #1 in the world in a Rayman Legends challenge. Guess how long that lasted: long enough for me to take a picture, but not much longer than that. When I checked back a few hours later, I wasn’t even in the top 10 anymore but ya know what, for one fleeting moment I was the best in the world at something, and let me tell you, that’s one amazing feeling to have.
As anyone who knows me will probably attest, I have very little interest in online leader boards. I almost never play multiplayer games, I despise the idea of in-game chat, and generally speaking, I avoid any kind of interaction with other humans in my games. After all, video games are where I go to get away from the humans I have to see all day/week long. Gaming is my escape from the demands of social interaction.
However, somehow Rayman Legends not only broke that wall down, it made me enjoy the process. I began adding other players I didn’t even know just for the thrill of competing against them and raising the stakes a bit. Every day I would wonder if I had what it took to top a friend’s score, and would sometimes stay at the game much longer than the required 15-20 minutes daily in order to beat their score by just a fraction of a second, or by just a few inches of progress.
The kinds of stubborn games like these, those that can break a man of long held habits, are the true teachers of this hobby of ours. They show us not only that we might be wrong about what does or doesn’t interest us under certain circumstances, but that we might even be able to push ourselves further than we ever imagined in hopes of obtaining a victory, meaningless as it may be in the grand scheme of things.
Getting the final trophy or achievement in Rayman Legends might not win you the Pulitzer or gain you a place on the Dallas Cowboys, but it does show you one of life’s most important lessons: that nothing comes easy, and that the only way to be good at something is to put in the time and put it in often.