Rayman Legends is the Good Kind of Frustrating

I’m almost certain games today are, by and large, made easier in order to appeal to mass markets. Through focus testing and committee meetings, publishers push developers to make games a touch easier here and there.

As someone who grew up playing the classics, this kind of sucks. You might have already read my piece about DuckTales: Remastered standing as a perfect example of how tough games used to be. Here’s a slice from that review that captures the gist:

Amidst the review buzz surrounding DuckTales: Remastered, some critics knocked the game for being too darn difficult. Folks, if you grew up gaming on the NES, you know that games have gotten a whole heck of a lot easier since way back then. In today’s games, we’re lead into each experience by a chain of obnoxious tutorials.

I can remember renting games from Blockbuster or the local Video Scene as a little kid, getting home and being absolutely destroyed over and over again within the first level alone. My first thought was never “this game is too hard;” no, it was that I needed to learn how to beat it.

That last line about taking my time and learning how to beat a tough game? That’s where I am with Rayman Legends, and it’s perfect.

It’s hard in a good way.

Rayman Legends has several exceedingly difficult moments throughout its campaign. It’s fairly simple in the beginning, but the game gets downright devious in later levels.

It’s the kind of deviousness that might require you to restart a level or section again and again and again. You’ll have to memorize patterns, perfect your timing and add in a splash of luck in order to conquer these moments.

But, look, Ubisoft padded this difficulty perfectly. As I’m reading stories about players getting controller-tossing frustrated about slices of Rayman Legends, I find myself shaking my head in disbelief.

First off, Ubisoft was smart to make the time between death and getting back into play minimal. It’s a near instantaneous transition. You die, wait a second and you’re right back in the fray. It’s a notch or two slower than the instant restart you’ll see in Super Meat Boy, but it’s fast.

Second, Rayman Legends is pure cartoon joy. It’s slapstick gaming with incredible musing and pitch perfect platforming. I’ve never once found myself mad at the game for being too tough. The game is great. It’s been developed and tested. It’s meant to try your patience and skill.

Why are we complaining about game difficulty? When a game is meant to be challenging and you buy it, it’s up to you to rise to the occasion and figure it out. That’s where I am with Rayman Legends. It’s up to me to beat this game, it’s not gonna beat itself.

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