The news finally hit the web today regarding how you’ll be enjoying Rayman Legends should you choose to play solo, and it may not be to everyone’s taste. Here’s how Emile Morel, lead game designer of Rayman Legends, explained it to Nintendo World Report;
“You play controlling Murphy with the GamePad and on the screen of the TV – and also on the screen of the Wii U GamePad – you will have an automatic Rayman controlled by an AI. Basically you will have to open the paths for him, you have to kill enemies for him, you have to make sure he survives. So you’re basically kind of the protector of Rayman.”
Nintendo World Report then asked if you could play as Rayman at all, to which Emile replied,
“No, in these levels when you’re alone you can’t play as Rayman, you have to play with Murphy. But not the whole game is like this – you have specific levels for Murphy and the GamePad, and also more classic levels when you are playing Rayman from beginning to the end. I would say half of the game, well maybe not half of the game but for a good portion of the game, you will have to play as Murphy.”
Right. Now. This initially sounds like a strange decision, a very strange decision indeed, but it’s actually one that, having played Rayman Legends, makes more sense the more we think about it.
Within these Murphy essential levels that Mr Morel has highlighted the little flying frog is essential. As we mentioned earlier today in our questioning of New Super Mario Bros U’s Assist Blocks, Murphy’s role in Rayman Legends is not as some throwaway helper to the limbless freak, his actions are vital to Rayman successfully navigating the levels.
Cutting down ropes for Ray-ers to swing on, moving platforms around, tickling enemies to expose their punchable bellies, rotating scenery, holding shields to defend Rayman from aerial assault, ‘swiping’ ls to increase their point value, removing threats to reveal jumps, revealing hidden lums. Murphy has a lot to do and much of it, especially when it comes to finding the hidden Teensies, has a puzzle-like feel to it (sometimes rope needs to be cut in a specific manner to give the hero enough to swing on, for instance).
When we sit here and honestly think about it there was no ideal way to do single player in Rayman Legends. Aside from making an entirely separate campaign that is, which it sort of sounds like they’ve done anyway with the 50/50 (ish) split between levels in which you play as Ray and those that force you to play as Murph, they just haven’t separated the Gamepad focused levels from the ‘normal’ ones.
But think about it this way. Think of all the things Murphy does in a level. Now imagine all of those things being automated. Swarms of enemies just evaporating as the AI proves its whack-a-mole expertise. Ropes being sliced the moment they appear on screen. Enemies not getting a chance to look menacing before the AI is on them. Lums appearing as if from nowhere because CPUrphy is programmed to automatically reveal every little secret.
Having a computer controlled Murphy would make the whole game feel like a bit of a sedate sightseeing stroll. At least when you’re playing as Murphy alongside a computer controlled Rayman you’re still playing an active role in his success, in locating hidden extras, and in working out how the environment must be manipulated in order for him to proceed.
At the end of the day Rayman Legends is a co-op game, and should be played as such, if possible, to get the most out of it. If that’s not possible though then hey, don’t worry. Half of the game, if not more, will be classic bounce-y, punch-y, inexplicably limbless-y Rayman action, then the Murphy levels will give you an interesting puzzle like break from all that hopping. Realise what you’re actually getting and it doesn’t sound half as bad now does it?