The Legend of Korra, for those that are unaware, is a western animation produced by Nickelodeon, and is the follow up series to the massively popular Avatar: The Last Airbender (or The Legend of Aang depending on where you live). It follows a young woman named Korra, the Avatar, who is able to wield all four elements within the world this series is set in (Fire, Water, Earth, and Air). Earlier this year, it was announced that Platinum Games, the same people behind such games as Bayonetta, Metal Gear Rising: Revengance, and Wonderful 101, would be making a tie in game for The Legend of Korra. Said game came out earlier this month, and I was able to finally get my hands on a copy.
This game, at least on PC which I played, looks amazing. The style is reminiscent of the show, with brand new animated sections made specifically for this game in between chapters. The music is mostly what you would hear on the show, and really helped to drive the fact that this is a Korra game home for me. The effects on the different bending styles look visually stunning and the impact of the hits feel right. While it isn’t nearly as impressive looking as previous Platinum games, it still has that Platinum feel to the design that any fan of their games would be sure to enjoy.
The Legend of Korra is an action beat-em-up, of the style that many are used to from Platinum by now. You play as Korra, fighting through waves of bad guys by utilizing the four elements, each style with their own strengths and weaknesses, and fighting a typically challenging boss at the end of each level. This game does kind of fall into the same problem that I generally always have with beat-em-ups, which is that the gameplay does get repetitive after awhile. Being able to switch between bending styles is neat at first, but I found that I would only use one or two of the elements through a majority of the game, only switching when it was necessary. Bosses were typically dispatched by avoiding their attack pattern until you get the one opening to damage them via quick-time event, which has always been something of a pet peeve of mine with this genre of games over the last decade or so. Even so, the game is fun for the time it takes to beat it.
This game is extremely short, with my personal run of the game clocking out at about 4 hours. It does encourage multiple playthroughs, with unlockable costumes, items, and various difficulty settings. Much like any Platinum game, there are a number of medals per level that grade your performance, with an overall medal awarded at the end of the level. Going back and improving these medal scores is always a fun challenge. There is also a small bit of exploration in the game, though I would have preferred a bit more. This usually takes form of a small diverging path where you can get a special trinket for bonus points at the end of the level, though this usually also means an extra-hard encounter to earn your points.
If there was one thing I absolutely despised about this game, it’s the Naga run sections. Naga is the giant polar bear dog (all the animals in Avatar are combinations of two animals) that is the animal companion to Korra, which she can ride. While these sections aren’t difficult, all it takes is a single slip up to have to start over again, and I feel like the game would have been better with their exclusion.
Finally, after beating the game once, you unlock Pro-Bending mode, a fictional sport within the Avatar universe. Once again you play as Korra, teaming up with two AI allies, in the form of her companions Mako and Bolin, to take on other teams of three and attempt to knock them off the stage. This is a fun little mode and a nice bonus at the end of the game, though it would have been nice to have played as someone else.
Since this is a new game I won’t go into too much detail about the story here, but I will warn you right now that if you haven’t seen any of The Legend of Korra the show, then you would do best to steer clear of this game until you have.
This game has it’s own storyline, set after the end of Season Two and before Season Three. After making a miraculous comeback in a Pro-Bending match right at the beginning, Korra is lead into a trap by a group of Chi-Blockers, remnants of the Equalists, an anti-bender group from the first season. Korra gets stripped of her bending through unknown means, and spends the first level completely without any bending. As the game and story progresses, she discovers that a malevolent spirit known as Hun-Dun, who had conflict with the Avatar in a past life thousands of years ago. As the game goes on, Korra will re-awaken her bending with the help of Jinora, a young Air Bending prodigy who is able to project her spirit and assist Korra. While the story isn’t anything particularly special, it was a breath of fresh air to see a licensed game that doesn’t just re-tread the same plot-lines as it’s source material, and instead served to give us an entirely new story and experience.
Overall, for a budget title being sold for a mere $15, this is a great game that could have only been better if it had been given the triple-A treatment, especially from such a reputable company like Platinum. If you are a fan of the series, then I think this is worth your time, and if you’re a fan of beat-em-ups or the work that Platinum does and don’t mind some spoilers, the game is a nice fun romp. I would definitely recommend this game, especially to those who are a fan of the series, and if you haven’t seen the series itself, then I would also recommend that as well.