Title: The legend of Korra
Platform: Steam, Windows, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360

Reviewed on: Windows

Genre: Brawler
Players: Single player


Written by Bad Demoman 27th October 2014

















Fans of the Avatar Universe have waited a long time for a good Avatar game. The Last Airbender was plagued with some pretty terrible shovelware, one of which was infamous as a game bought only for the gamerscore you could get on your Xbox Live profile through it. With the new series, The Legend of Korra already on its final season, we're finally seeing some games based on it. The first to be released, simply titled “The Legend of Korra”, seems extremely promising – a hack-n-slasher created by the masters of the genre, Platinum Games of Bayonetta fame. But does the game finally give fans of Avatar what they want?


The plot of the game takes place between Book 2 and Book 3 of the series. After a pro-bending match, Korra is stripped of her element bending powers by a chi-blocker. Much of the game revolves around Korra attempting to recover her powers while also fighting off the main villain Hundun and his minions. The story really seemed to lack any form of direction at all – Korra goes somewhere for an indeterminate reason, bad guys happen to be there and she fights them. This isn't helped by Hundun, who offers no real development or motivations. He just shows up occasionally to wordlessly laugh at you and create unbreakable walls in a poor attempt to explain why you have to beat a load of guys before you can progress. Overall Hundun feels like a cliché, badly executed villain with no real character depth. Links to the series are fairly limited – only four side-characters from the show appear, and two only appear during pro-bending. The others are Naga, the polar bear dog that you occasionally get to ride in between-stage minigames, and Jinora, who acts as a guide for Korra in her endeavours to recover her Bending Styles. This pretty much just boils down to showing up once every couple of stages to give you a challenge that allows you to recover a bending style, like ''Get a large combo'' or ''Dodge a certain amount of attacks''. In other words, Jinora doesn't offer much development or important dialogue, and serves as an awkward method of gaining powers.





























At the start of game, you're given a short introduction where you have access to every single bending style at their most powerful, with a massive wave of enemies to test your powers on. Its a nice introduction to the game, making you feel powerful, and the styles flow well into each other. Unfortunately, all of your styles are shortly after taken from you. I really hate when games do this. I understand why it might seem like a good idea – give the player a taste of power to make them anticipate becoming that powerful later in the game. However, what it ends up achieving instead is making the start of the game, where you are weak and nigh-powerless, feel sluggish. This is especially the case with Korra. Even when you do regain your styles, they are extremely weak and you must level up each style through use to become more powerful. Normally this would give some sense of progression, but when the game is as short as it is (5 hours at the most) the progression doesn't feel like it really matters. It's hard to find the motivation, after reaching a high level with one style then gaining another, to return to being weak with the new style and level it up. This, combined with the gaps in between getting new bendings means that the flowing combat that you got in that first segment, switching styles mid-combo, never really happened for me, since all my styles were different levels. Most were just not powerful enough to make mid-combo switches particularly worthwhile or effective. Each style does have its own situational uses, but I found myself mostly relying on one or two. Water-bending is the first one you get, and excels at long range combat but feels weak and lacking in impact. Next is Earth-bending, which is slow and massively powerful at close range, but since it gives you at most two-to-three hits, it doesn't lend itself to stylish combos and can be boring to use. Fire-Bending uses fast combos with lots of hits but again, feels weak. I usually ended up dealing really small amounts of damage and getting hit a lot using this one, so I mostly ignored it. Finally there’s Air-Bending, which is acquired very late into the game. This is a shame, because it's by far the most fun style. It has lots of sweeping area-of-effect moves, and I particularly enjoyed it since a lot of the moves were seemingly inspired by Street Fighter. Each style is fairly shallow, with a really small amount of combos for each. I honestly think the game would've benefited a lot from having every style available from the start. It would've given some much needed variety early on and would've probably resulted in more even distribution of levels in each bending style.


Visuals-wise, the game is hit-and-miss. The cel-shaded character models look great, especially considering Legend of Korra is a budget game. The only problem with this is the enemy variety. There's only a small pool of different enemy types, and many look very similar. The Equalists are partially excusable, as this is how they appear in the show, but you'll find yourself fighting the exact same members of the Triple Threat Triad over and over again. It also bothered me quite a lot that characters mouths don't actually move when talking. The environments are equally nice-looking, but they have the same problem as the enemies – lack of variety. This particularly applies to the earlier levels set in Republic City, but is less of a problem in the levels set in the Spirit World. The bending styles each have their own distinctive visual effects, with abilities gotten in later levels of the styles having a particularly intense display. They add a bit of extra impact to most of the styles (notably lacking in the water style, as previously mentioned).





























After finishing the game, Extreme Difficulty and Pro-Bending mode are unlocked, as well as some extra items for purchase in the store. The extra difficulty, as well as the unlockable costumes and collectables from the show to find might entice fans of the show to do repeat playthroughs for the shout-outs to the show. I personally didn't much like the pro-bending mode, but friends who played the game told me they enjoyed it, particularly because it follows the rules of pro-bending in the show. The segments where you ride Naga, which play a bit like Temple Run, are also available to replay seperately. Even with this extra content though, the game is painstakingly short. I finished the main story mode in three hours, and the extra content doesn't hold attention for too long.


Legend of Korra is a disappointing game. Fans probably won't be getting the great Avatar game they've been hoping for all these years, but the game is especially disappointing to me as a fan of Platinum Games, as I know they can do so much better than this. I can only assume that this title was rushed, and possibly developed by a B-team while the main team worked on Bayonetta 2. Here’s hoping Webfoot Technologies, creators of the Legacy of Goku series, make a better attempt with their upcoming 3DS Turn Based Strategy, Legend of Korra: A New Era Begins



Pros

Great cel-shaded visuals,

Fun combat later into the game, when more styles are available.


Cons

Lack of variety in enemies and environments,

Extremely short,

Combat isn't nearly as fun early on.


Final Verdict,

Legend of Korra gets a 5 out of 10.



Written by,

Bad Demoman



















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