Review: The Legend of Korra
The announcement of a Platinum Games developed Legend of Korra video game came out of nowhere just a few months ago while also offering good reason to be excited about an Avatar game. Considering their previous work Platinum Games are a legitimately great choice for translating the style of action from the show into a character action game. Unfortunately, due to the game being just a smaller downloadable title, the game lacks the kind of budget that would be needed to do the show justice. The Legend of Korra has the feel of a Platinum game (fun and challenging combat), but it’s scaled down and doesn’t necessarily pack the same kind of punch you might expect from them.
Positioned between Book 2 and Book 3 of the show The Legend of Korra doesn’t really attempt to tell a story. The game teases you with all of your bending powers fully upgraded in the intro before stripping away everything within the first five minutes of the game. From there you’ll fight through a handful of familiar locations from the show, regain your bending abilities one-by-one, and take on the evil guy who is essentially there just to give you someone to fight. While the lead up to the final confrontation does give you some context as to who the villain is I think they could have done much better. It doesn’t help that the short time-span between the events of Book 2 and Book 3 don’t exactly leave much room for anything major to happen.
As the Avatar you have the ability to bend Water, Air, Fire, and Earth. Each have their own light and heavy attack as well as a combo tree that will grow as you level up each element. Water is great for ranged combat while fire is better up close. The combat takes a while to get going, but once you’ve unlocked all of your bending powers it’s a lot of fun to string combos together while switching elements on the fly. Unfortunately this doesn’t happen until near the end of the first playthrough. In the three hours it took me to finish the game the first time it wasn’t until the last thirty minutes that I started to see the potential of the combat system. You can take all of your abilities directly into a new game on Extreme difficulty, but I still wish the game would have introduced each element a little faster.
The Legend of Korra doesn’t have the budget of a full retail release and it shows. The levels feel empty, there’s very little variation in enemies, you’ll fight the same ‘boss’ multiple times, and everything just feels scaled down. If you’re going into this expecting the same sort of crazy over-the-top set piece moments that Platinum Games is known for you’ll be disappointed. For what it is, as a cheap downloadable title, The Legend of Korra is pretty good despite its many faults. At the same time it’s hard not to think about what the game could be given more time and a larger budget. Otherwise it’s important to temper your expectations for what this game actually is.
Aside from the core gameplay there’s two additional activities in the game. In one you’ll ride on Naga, Korra’s polar-bear-dog companion, in a sort of Temple Run style mini-game. You’ll move between three planes and avoid obstacles using each of your bending abilities. At first this seems like a pretty neat diversion from the main game, but it quickly becomes rather dull. There’s also a Pro-Bending mode which serves to be a pretty faithful recreation of the Pro-Bending sport from the show. That said Pro-Bending isn’t very fun. Your AI partners aren’t very good and the AI opponents have the annoying ability to block everything you throw at them on harder difficulty settings.
The core gameplay in Korra is great. It’s not as expansive as some of the other Platinum developed games and that’s okay. This is the kind of game where it’s important to keep your expectations in check between what the game is and what you might want it to be. There will be those who are unable to look past some of the faults and others, like myself, who are able to deal with its shortcomings. Whichever side you ultimately fall on will likely determine whether or not you should check this game out.
A copy of this game was purchased for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Fun combat
- Music from the show is used
- Final boss
What I Dislike:
- By the time you get all of your powers back the game is almost over
- Fighting the same enemies over and over again
- Naga and Pro-Bending games