Do you remember back on Day 39 of this blog - February 8th, to be specific - where I talked about the announcement to delay Rayman Legends for the Wii U, which coincided with the sudden announcement that it would no longer be a console exclusive to Nintendo, as it would be released simultaneously on all of the other platforms as well.
This was a big deal back then, as it was surprising to begin with that Nintendo landed such a big name game as an exclusive. Throw in the fact that the Wii U was desperate for any sort of game at the time, and it all meant that Wii U owners and Nintendo fans alike were sad.
Not just sad, but bored. And feeling a little forgotten about and neglected.
Well, eventually some games started to come out for the console, slowly but surely, with several more on the way. Sure, they aren't coming at record speed, but one excellent game every month or so up until next year isn't something to shake a stick at, as they say. And yes, Rayman Legends isn't an exclusive, but it's worth celebrating as a game for the Wii U. All the versions of this game are exactly the same (except the Vita version which was missing 28 levels for mysterious reasons), but the Wii U version has something that no other console can offer: the GamePad controller.
Word around the proverbial water cooler known as the internet is that the PS3 or Xbox versions of Rayman Legends is a lot better and more fun for single players, but the Wii U offers an far more enticing and enriching experience for multiplayer gaming, because of the GamePad. The unique controller can come in handy in multiplayer games, much in the same way it was used in New Super Mario Bros. U, as an assist tool, aiding the other players along the way.
For solo play, the game utilizes the GamePad in a very unusual way, with certain parts of specific levels forcing you to become the guide for an AI character as he runs to the end of the level, but not without help from you and your GamePad, using the touch screen to move platforms, cut ropes and eliminate enemies in the way. Personally, I had no problems using these controls, and feel like they are very intuitive and precise. The different game play style is a nice change of pace, especially when it comes after a normal platforming level that was harder than it felt like it should be. But hey, maybe touch controls on the GamePad aren't for everyone.
Regardless of what console you play this game on, it is guarantee to impress. The game is smart, and never truly punishes you for failing. There are no lives, continues or any of the normal platforming ideas. Which is awesome, because some of the levels get really, really difficult. They are never too hard, but always feel rewarding when you complete one.
Oh, and did I mention how amazingly beautiful and gorgeous Rayman Legends is? It might be one of the prettiest games I've seen in a long time, and the art style so whimsical and delightful, it's hard not to just stop and go sightseeing as you traverse the uber-creative levels. Seriously. Everything about this game is so over the top amazing, I can't stop playing it. It turned into one of those games that you keep saying "just one more level" after completing the last level. It's addicting in the best possible way.
Sure, it may not have come out when it was originally scheduled to. Sure, it wasn't an exclusive like originally planned. But I truly believe that while this game would have been awesome before, these several extra months the developers had to polish up the game was more valuable than having something to play on the Wii U earlier in the year. Let's just hope this momentum carries on through the end of the year, for everyone's sake.
It should be no surprise to anyone that this Spring is full - and I mean FULL - of huge, big name games. One triple-A title after another will be released, with seemingly no break in between. One noticeable pattern is clear when you look at the list, however. Almost all of the big games, and all of the biggest games, are being released on either the PS3 or Xbox 360 (or both), with the Wii U notably left out of the mix for the most part.
There was one for sure Wii U exclusive that was going to go toe-to-toe with the big action-adventure games coming out, and it's a colorful, whimsical, over-the-top platformer: Rayman Legends.
It's a game that Wii U owners have not only been waiting for since launch, when it was supposed to come out, but it's a game that Wii U owners have been clamoring for. It's a game they were going to rub in the face of PS3 and Xbox owners, bragging about how the follow-up to the smash hit Rayman Origins was coming to Nintendo exclusively, because Ubisoft was impressed with the GamePad controller, they couldn't see the game being played on any other controller.
Unfortunately, there is one problem with all of that hype. Yesterday, Ubisoft dropped a bombshell on the hearts of Wii U owners everywhere. Make that, two bombs, culminating in a nuclear fallout of bitterness and heartbreak. First, Rayman Origins is getting delayed, with the release date being bumped from the end of February to now September. Secondly, the game will no longer be a Wii U exclusive, as PS3 and Xbox owners will get a chance to experience the madness as well. Because of moving to these other consoles, and Ubisoft wanting to launch the game simultaneously on all of them, they decided to avoid the Spring launch madness for the Wii U, despite the game practically being done.
This, of course, sent Wii U owners into a frenzy. I've seen petitions circulating online trying to convince Ubisoft to just release the Wii U version on time and the other ports when they are ready, presumably in September. People don't understand that this decision is a business decision and nothing else. Executives aren't concerned, ultimately, about hurting the feelings of gamers, they are concerned with the bottom line and making the biggest profit.
Ubisoft tried to explain their decision, and also announced an exclusive demo coming to the Wii U sometime soon as a way to try and ease the pain of not being able to play their game as expected. At least they are trying, right?
I believe it is no coincidence that just a few days after Nintendo officially announced that sales of Wii U were lower than originally projected, Ubisoft came forward with this announcement. It's not hard to imagine that there was a deal on the table that stated that if the Wii U console sold X amount of consoles by a certain date (essentially establishing the install base), then they would launch Rayman Legends as expected, exclusively for the Wii U for the time being. But if Nintendo couldn't sell the amount of consoles that Ubisoft felt was worth it to them in a business sense to remain exclusive, even for a few months, then they had every right to pull and delay the game until the other ports were ready. Is that really a stretch in the cutthroat world of business? It's all about the money, people. Always has been, always will be.
Will all this make the game less of a game, or diminish it's value or entertainment level? Absolutely not. The only thing is we will just have to wait a few months to play. While September wouldn't be my first choice to release a game (GTA V anyone?), and while the Summer would be ideal for a game like this with the market wide open, I can't complain too much. This will just be one of a handful of games that will lead into the wild and crazy holiday season, hopefully filled with new, shiny consoles and limited libraries.
So I'm still excited for the game. I just feel bad because my Wii U is desperate for some TLC, which I can't give it without new games to play on it. Again, Pikmin 3 can't come soon enough!
And oh yeah, I was supposed to play and talk about a game tonight, wasn't I? Well, I played the game that rebooted the franchise for the better, and the reason for all this controversy to happen in the first place: Rayman Origins. I've beaten it soundly on both Xbox 360 and the PS Vita, and have no qualms about every playing it still to this day. It's a super fun, beautiful platforming game that still doesn't get the respect it deserves from the general gaming community. If this had Mario on it, instead of Rayman, it would be considered one of the greatest games ever. I have no problems admitting that, and I'm as big of a Mario fan as they come.
Calm down, all you rabid Nintendo fans. You will still get your game, and it will still be awesome. If this first one is any indication, and from what the demo has shown already, Rayman Legends will be epic. Hopefully you remember that it's out, though, when Grand Theft Auto 5 will be dominating the gaming dojo of September.
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