Ray­man Leg­ends

It’s all good, arm­less fun in Xbox One’s most chal­leng­ing Chal­lenge mode Dev Ubisoft Mont­pel­lier / Pub Ubisoft / Re­porter Chris Schilling

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// A quick go turns into a fu­ri­ous hour of grit­ted teeth//

Has it re­ally been a year? From the day its servers were switched on, Ray­man Leg­ends’ chal­lenge mode be­came part of our rou­tine, and we were determined to stick with it – if only to keep up our rec­om­mended daily al­lowance of Vi­ta­min P (for plat­former, natch). But healthy habits can die all too eas­ily, and we’re mor­ti­fied to dis­cover our most re­cent run was 12 months ago. Time, then, to get back on the horse – and, at first, it seems a stub­born old nag. Was Ray­man al­ways this skit­tish, or are we just out of prac­tice? We’re sure it’s a bit of both, but af­ter a cou­ple of em­bar­rass­ing runs – the equiv­a­lent of that first breath­less post-fes­tive-sea­son jog – we’re back in the swing of things. There’s a cer­tain re­li­able rigid­ity to the way Ray­man’s peers con­trol, but there’s a pleas­ing gran­u­lar­ity to his move­ment that re­ally makes the chal­lenge mode work: with such fine con­trol over our hero’s mo­men­tum, ev­ery sin­gle in­put po­ten­tially adds or shaves off hun­dredths of sec­onds. The trail of Lums is a help­ful guide – as, too, are the ghosts of on­line ri­vals you’re rac­ing against – but find­ing the per­fect line is, as in Ol­liOlli, a fine art.

Un­like Roll7’s bril­liant ‘boarder, how­ever, you’ve got more than one chance to get it right. Set a de­cent score, and it’s enor­mously grat­i­fy­ing to see your op­po­nents’ times dis­missed with the noisy thump of the ‘beaten’ stamp. And yet you’ve only earned a bronze tro­phy, and you’re re­minded that oth­ers might well over­take you. So you go again, only this time the ghosts are that bit quicker, and it takes a lit­tle longer to tri­umph. It’s a fe­ro­ciously com­pul­sive feed­back loop that turns a quick go into a fu­ri­ous hour of grit­ted teeth, mut­tered swears and mo­ments of over­whelm­ing sat­is­fac­tion. So yes, like Whoopi Goldberg, we’re back in the habit – though we’re not sure it’s quite as healthy as we re­mem­bered…

Im­pres­sively, leader­boards are still reg­u­larly get­ting en­trants in the tens of thou­sands.

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