Legend of Kay Anniversary - Wii U

Release Date:

29 July 2015

Also on:

Wii U PS4 PC

Viewing UK:

Also on USA.
6.5

Summary:

Legend of Kay Anniversary is a thoroughly remastered version of the original game with high resolution textures, new & more detailed character models, modern rendering techniques and crystal-clear surround sound which give this great classic a new shine. Full of fond allusions to old martial arts films and pop culture quotes, Legend of Kay Anniversary is both an incredibly funny game and a challenging action-adventure for young and old alike.

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Posted:
2016-01-01

Den_Merry

Writer

Wii U

6.5

Legend of Kay Anniversary was developed by the team at Neon Studios and published by Nordic Games Publishing. The title was released this past July for the PS4, PS3, Wii U, and Xbox 360. As a remastered reboot of a decade old video game we were curious to see what Neon Studios was willing to bring to the table for an IP that was relatively cult like in its prime and almost glossed over by todays standards. We picked up a copy for our PS4, interested to see how the title got upgraded and before long we found ourselves smiling along to the action. Legend of Kay Anniversary isn’t a perfect port but it does a ton right to bring back those nostalgic glory days. Keep on reading to see if you need to upgrade to the PS4 version.

The last time that Legend of Kay hit gaming shelves most fans looked right past it. The cute and cuddly warrior feline on the front was not an active enough icon to pull new gamers in and the IP itself wasn’t big enough to stand by on its own. So Legend of Kay got glossed over and most people continued walking. But it wasn’t long until the game started to pull together its own cult like following. As it turned out, Legend of Kay was a fast paced and fluid action platformer. With fun cartoonish graphics, a neat leading hero, and tight controls it wasn’t long until fans were actually trying to find the game to give it a shot. That cult like following made way for the remastered port to the PS4, among other consoles.

Back in 2005 the gaming world was quite a bit different. We weren’t really so much worried with open world games, crafting based titles, and huge MMO like experiences. What gamers wanted was addictive action oriented gameplay with intriguing heroes. Nintendo cornered the market on this niche and Sony got a few hits in (Ratchet and Clank). This was a time of platformers and Kay just didn’t stand out from the rest, which is a shame. But a new release on a console with a limited library will push gamers into checking the title out, which is a good thing.

You play as the titular character Kay. Kay is a warrior on a journey to take out a bunch of evil characters who are in league oppressing his village. Definitely we get some Spyro meets Avatar vibes in the backstory. The narrative thread itself is a rehash of just about every young warrior tale but it is still done in a way that remains interesting. Not completely, refreshing, but the story does well enough to hook in both young and older gamers alike. What we can say is unique and refreshing is the story of Kay and how the character is well developed even if there are some other issues going on around the narrative. We’ll get into that more later.

The title is developed with colorfully animated character models and a backdrop that reminds us of Spyro but the art direction is pushed forward by comic book style cutscenes that let the story breath out in different ways. These comic book scenes are beautifully realized but suffer from staggeringly poor voice acting. The voice acting is only made worse by dialogue that seems written for the lowest common denominator, full of contrite puns and martial arts jokes. When the dialogue isn’t mangling our ears the story itself is pleasing enough and definitely appealing to a younger demographic while still being accessible enough for us older gamers. All the cut scenes are completely skippable so if you find the acting to be too poor then you don’t have to suffer through it. It’s just lame that you’d have to miss out on so much of the narrative.

Legend of Kay Anniversary is comprised of a variety of different levels, all told through the Mario 3D styled platformer view. You’ll romp your way through swamps, forests, caves, and many other environments while taking on baddies and looking for collectibles. The locations in the game are well designed but start to feel eerily similar to one another at least in the early going. As you progress in the game the level designs start to get more and more cluttered and your in game map is rendered almost useless.

Navigating in the game would take on an open world feel if the maps weren’t so full of instanced content. Navigation is further exacerbated by a camera that rotates with your movement, causing you to lose angles as you walk and have to fight with the controls to get your line of sight back. Platforming segments in particular can be frustratingly difficult when the camera decides to go rogue on you in the middle of a jump or complicated section of ducks and weaves.

Graphically speaking Legend of Kay Anniversary looks like an entirely new title. On the PS2 the original Kay looked great but time has not been kind to it or its genre. With blocky textures and stiff animations, Neon Studios had a ton of work to do. For the most part the digital facelift is done well. HD textures and new character models make the game feel updated without losing its retro feel. The action in the title is smoother than it has ever been and the problem of stuttering frame rates, which plagued the first title, Is non existent. You can fill your screen with bad guys, items, and action and still not lose a drop of the sequence.

The game starts out with a simple set of gameplay mechanics but slowly builds up as you play. We got LoZ vibes from the combat but the combo system is much more basic, emulating many traditional 3D hack and slash entries. Still, everything works smooth and that makes this the ultimate kind of 'sit back and relax' treat.

Legend of Kay Anniversary is a quality upgrade to a cult classic and a new entryway for gamers to get back in the world.

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By:

Nordic Games

Release Date:

29/07/2015

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