Review: Legend Of Korra


Developer: Platinum Games

Publisher: Activision

Platforms: PS4 (version reviewed), Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, PC

Licensed games have had a pretty solid run as of late. Despite being a $15 downloadable title seemingly shoved out the door in relatively quick fashion, Legend of Korra seems like it might keep that trend going by featuring voice actors from the show, decent production values and Platinum developing it, which has the highest rated game of 2014 (Bayonetta 2, as well as one my favorite Wii U games, Wonderful 101). So the question is; does Legend of Korra continue that recent trend of surprisingly good licensed titles?

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The look of Legend of Korra is a mixed bag. I like the cel-shaded look of the characters and how they move, but the levels themsleves are a little barren, with only the slightest bit of detail. I’m a little more than willing to forgive that since it is a budget digital title, but Legend of Korra also features plenty of cut scenes that are just incredibly shoddily animated. Which considering how gorgeous the animation is in the actual Legend of Korra show is a huge let down.

One area I think Legend of Korra really excels well at is the bending itself. It handles managing your various elemental abilities by easily switching them on the fly and it’s easy to pull off combos and it looks cool, and different bending abilities work better against certain enemies, so there is plenty of strategy involved. The unfortunate flipside is that the fighting, much like games along the line of the Arkham Games or Shadow of Mordor relies heavily on countering enemy attacks, and the countering system is confusing and finicky. Like enemies glow red when they are about to attack and you are supposed to counter them, but when they glow red is not when you are supposed to counter, it’s a much more subtle moment and it seems to work only some of the time (I never seemed to have it work when I encountered an earth bender, and they were the hardest enemies for me). In addition to that is the camera regularly goes completely out of whack and you just get lost in the battles, especially with the bigger enemies.

…It’s a major disappointment in terms of both gameplay & presentation.

The only variation from the beat em up action is several stages have sections where you ride your Polar Bear Dog (yes in case you’ve never watch Avatar they just mix together animals) in a sort of endless runner style stage for a bit. These were perfectly fine, not terribly hard and even a little fun (I even enjoyed dying a little be because it was hilariously brutal seeing yourself slam hard into a big car or wall). This only became an extreme irritation in the form of a boss fight against essentially three huge robots at the end of the final section of this type where you do very little damage to them and it just doesn’t work very well. It was easily the most frustrating part of the game.

But nearly all of this would be a lot less noticeable if the level of fan service was anywhere near adequate. Using real voice actors? Only a couple and the “sound-alikes” are pretty bad. Besides Korra and one of Tenzin’s kids, the rest of the cast is barely in the game if they are in it at all. How about nods to the show or even just the really clever writing that is a trademark of the Avatar franchise as a whole? Nonexistent in Legend of Korra aside from some lame “vanity” items you uncover that are worth some extra points. The story is pretty bare bones as well, just some random dude who was defeated by one of the prior Avatars however long ago and wants revenge. Yawn.


At the end of the day, Legend of Korra is a mildly competent beat-em up that little kids who are fans of the show might enjoy for a few hours (especially seeing as it’s only a few hours long, but I won’t hold that against a $15 game. Given the pedigree of Platinum games and the opportunity to prove that even downloadable licensed games can be great, it’s a major disappointment in terms of both gameplay & presentation.


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