Review: Legend of Kay Anniversary
The original Legend of Kay was released on the PS2 back in 2005. Now, ten years later, the Anniversary version of the game includes updated textures, character models, and sound to create what would almost seem to be a brand new game. Aside from old animations and some dated voice work, Legend of Kay Anniversary feels like a 3D action platformer that could have been made today.
As the name suggests, this is the legend of Kay. You play as Kay, who is a young fighter with a lot of attitude, and wants to save his village. In the world, rats and gorillas have come together to conquer Kay’s and others’ villages. Not many stand up to the intruders, but Kay decides to fight for what’s right. You’ll fight through a wide range of environments to track down the rat and gorilla commanders, and you’ll fight plenty of enemies along the way. Characters you encounter don’t have much personality though, as many of them look the same, and you don’t interact with them much after you meet them for the first time. The game has a decent-sized length and offers a lot of content to play through, including multiple boss fights, and races.
With the game being a 3D action platformer, you jump on platforms, attack enemies and find upgrades. Platforms can be treacherous with spikes on them, enemies can have armor that can only be defeated with a certain weapon, and upgrades can be found to increase your health, mana, or items. Platforming feels great, and for a game based on platforming, it’s essential. I was making jumps with ease and was able to judge jumps well. Kay moves smoothly through the areas and you feel in control of Kay at all times. A problem, however, that affected the game was the camera. You have 360 degree control with the camera, but it sometimes locks to specific enemies and can get caught up on other geometry in the area easily. With combat, you’ll take your sword or other weapons in to battle against the armies of the enemy. Simple combos can be pulled off by experimenting with button variety, and when pulling off a combo and blocking effectively, there is some satisfaction when taking down a larger enemy. Combat is simple enough, but it isn’t anything that is daunting for younger players. It’s geared towards all kinds of players. Races break up the pace of gameplay well. Some sections have you jumping and running past obstacles at break-neck speeds while on the back of a boar or dragon. These sections can be a tad frustrating, but are a welcome addition after you slash through a massive amount of enemies. Bosses are encountered after each area, and when playing on the normal difficulty setting, these bosses can be dispatched with ease. Except for the final boss, all the other bosses could be defeated in less than a minute. It made seemingly big and tough encounters feel lackluster.
Visually, when looking at the game, it looks great. New character models and environments look great, though their animations can look a bit dated. Expect to see the same animations on enemies and characters a lot. Majority of the small cutscenes are in-engine, but some of the more elaborate cutscenes are shown in a widescreen comic book style. The style from these comic book cutscenes make the game look brand new and look like they have been completely redone for the Anniversary edition. The in-engine cutscenes are what you’ll be seeing most of the time, and, for the most part, they are done well, but at times they can feel unnecessary. In the latter half of the game, small cutscenes are shown that has Kay talking to the enemy. These conversations tend to come down to both parties throwing insults at each other before they fight. The conversations can’t be skipped either, meaning you’ll have to sit through them every time. It’s not terrible, but they happen so often and freezes whatever rhythm you had in the game that it becomes annoying.
If the Legend of Kay Anniversary came out today, originally, and was not an update to a pre-existing game, you would think this was a 2015 game. Some of the animations and dialogue are dated, but the excellent platforming and easy- to- learn combat shines in 2015. The game offers multiple difficulty settings and a range of unlockables to keep you playing through each time. Kay seemed to be overlooked back in the day of 3D platforming mascots, but Legend of Kay Anniversary makes a case for Kay to be on a level with the likes of Sly Cooper and Jak and Daxter.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Simple, Satisfying Combat
- Comic Book Cutscenes
What I Dislike:
- Unneeded Dialogue
- Boss Fights