Thursday, 11 February 2016

First Impressions: The Legend of Korra

Earth. Fire. Air. Water. Only the Avatar can master all four elements and bring balance to the world. Da dooh dahh! Oh yeah, I am the Avatar!

That was my first thought as I started playing The Legend of Korra by Platinum Games after having been a fan of the show for years. The game starts with the same intro as the show does and by Raava does it set the atmosphere up perfectly. Not only this but the beautiful music from the show is here as well, as are all the original voice actors (pretty impressive for a licensed game!) which all adds up to you feeling as if you are in the show itself. And then you've got all the Easter Eggs and references to both the Legend of Korra and the Last Airbender, from the collections (found throughout the world in chests) that includes cabbages to Katara's necklace to the Equalist's electrified gloves. As well as this, even the achievements are references to the show with such names as 'Zhu Li! Do the Thing!' (use an equipped item) and 'Be the Leaf' (perform 100 dodges). It really does do justice to the show's rich history and fan base.

The first chapter has you introduced to each, distinct, bending format as well as the basic premise (old shady looking guy = bad) and the pro-bending tournament! The normal game is a 3D action beat-em-up platfomer (or at least that's what I'd class it as) and pits you, as Korra against the evil old man and various enemies from the first and second seasons. The first battle that you partake in is against the dark spirits and has you in what I can only presume to be full power mode (for reasons we shall discuss later) and introduces you to the elements and their different fighting styles by basically throwing you in the deep end... Which is absolutely brilliant fun due to your overpoweredness I mentioned earlier. However, as you to have some sense of progression in a game, your bending is then taken away by some chi-blockers and so you have to learn it all again! Hooray! So, for fans of the show, you've basically turned from fourth season Korra to first season Aang. Hooray again!

Pro-bending, on the other hand, is an entirely different Powder Disk and is one that I've been hoping someone would design ever since first watching the show. The basic premise (I'll explain the rules more in-depth in the review) is that you have to use your bending to knock back the opponent and, either occupy enough zones or knockout the opposition completely (think of it as a more complicated and elemental form of boxing). The tutorial has you fighting the full team of opposition (a Firebender, Waterbender and Earthbender) as only Korra (after Earthbender Bolin and Firebender Mako get knocked out straight away - well-done guys!). The gameplay itself is very different, with the camera being far behind you as well as you only being able to shoot water at the enemy in short blasts while having to dodge and counter the enemies' shots so as to stay in the same zone. Should your HP drop below a certain point then you get knocked back a zone and if you fall off the final zone then you are knocked out and the opposition wins automatically. Otherwise, the game is divided into two-three three minute rounds (depending on whether or not there is a knockout) with the team who has occupied/knocked out the most zones/opposing team members in the time allowed winning the round and the team with the most rounds winning the game (although a full knockout always gives a victory to the team performing it).

As well as this, there is also a (not-so-endless) endless runner-esque mode involving Naga (a polar bear dog) and a shop run by Iroh (an old (really old if you think about it) character from the Last Airbender series). The shop lets you buy new moves such as the Air Scooter and Water Whip as well as Healing Water (heals you), Katara's Oasis Water (revives you after death) and various talismans and items that give you certain bonuses (and sometimes detrimental effects) to help you tailor the game to your style. Finally, there is Korra's Room which lets you check on all of your combos, equip your items and change costumes (unlocked for fulfilling various requirements) from anywhere in the game.

Overall, the game, so far, is really fun and a great fan-service although there are some negatives; namely the camera, which is designed for console (I'm playing on PC), and the fact that you can Earthbend on wood (and I really did think that they had done their homework!) as well as that there doesn't seem to be any option for online or local pro-bending play (missed opportunity there, I can tell you!) I'm really looking forward to continuing to play and will bring you a review as soon as possible. Or at least I was planning to... but everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked!

Goodbye for now, Harry 

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