Before we get into this, I want to point out the most important detail about this game: It is FIFTEEN (15) DOLLARS($).
The Legend of Korra video game developed by Bayonetta and MGR: Revengeance’s Platinum Games was worth it’s price. By no means did I feel ripped off as I have in the past with *certain* games (ie. Lollipop Chainsaw) iii and as a fan of the series, I couldn’t have asked for much more.
This game’s story took place between season 2 and 3 of the television series, though unless the creators of the series do anything about it, it doesn’t seem like it will be canonical to the storyline of the show. Although the story of the game wasn’t anything mind-blowing, I will try to keep this review devoid of spoilers to the best of my ability.
TLoK was fun, fun for the whole 4-5 hours or so that it took to beat it and that doesn’t include the pro-bending mode you unlock after finishing the story. For reasons that I do not want to reveal, within the first 10 minutes of the game you find out that you lose all of your bending arts and are forced to fight hand-to-hand.iii Throughout the story you work on re-learning your lost abilities and level them up separately by using each element. This is not to say that you’re forced to only use one element at a time, you are definitely allowed to switch through the elements at any time and such is the creative portion of discovering combos with multiple elements.
Platinum Games’ style of combat and fluidity in the gameplay is noticeable in TLoK. While the game unfortunately re-uses enemies constantly throughout the game, the entertainment comes from the combat itself. Much like Bioshock Infinite, TLoK introduces harder and harder enemies through the first half or so of the game and then combines them with what you’ve already fought further down the road. The difference here being that there is actually a final boss, and a pretty damn epic one at that.
The combat is your standard action beat ’em up style of game where your combos stem from the fundamental mixture of light and heavy moves that differ depending on the sequence you push them in. What’s unique here is what I mentioned before, in that you can change elements mid-combo and create a combo to best handle the current situation. For instance in water attunement, I can do light x3 > heavy which does a whip that pulls the enemy in, then switch to rock, push heavy to launch them> jump > then light to smack them down to the ground at which point they should be defeated. It can be tricky though since all 4 elements have different combo paths that you need to memorize, but luckily with a bit of repetition, it’s not that difficult to put into muscle memory.
TLoK has 3 difficulties for the story mode, of which you only have 2 available until you beat the game on Normal in order to unlock Extreme. Playing the game on Normal, I’ll admit I died more times than I can count. The enemies in the game are ruthless, and they don’t care if you’re jumping, attacking, or running away, they will do whatever it takes to land a hit on you. While I welcome a challenge, and beating certain sections felt somewhat rewarding, my biggest gripe with the game is that when you die you’re allowed to buy items for your inventory, and you can equip/de-equip your items during a chapter.
My preference in games, while masochistic in a way, is that if you die and have to start back at a certain checkpoint, you should be required to try again with the same items you had at that point. If you cannot do it, then you should have to start the entire mission over again. The difficulty in TLoK seemed to be dulled by the fact that you could buy items at the “Try Again” confirmation screen, and go into the challenge with whatever helps you beat it the easiest. It’s possible that because items cost money (Spirit Power) that they wanted you to feel like you were wasting money because of your failures, and while I can understand that, money seemed to be so easy to acquire that I never cared when I had to buy more healing items. Then again, I might have just been dying more than average because I used the talisman that sacrificed half of my health for double experience.
Between the short length of the game and re-used models (and something else that I won’t mention because of spoilers), it’s obvious that this game was designed with the 15 dollar price-point in mind. While I would have liked to have a longer, more “full” game at the usual 60 dollar tag because I’m a fan of Korra, I believe this game is 100% worth its value. I would recommend it to anybody who is a fan of Platinum Games, or the Korra cartoon series.
For anyone who needs it, the passwords for the two secret costumes and the one secret item are:
Spirit Korra: Up, Up, Down, Down, Square/X
Chi-blocker Korra: Up, Down, Up, Triangle/Y, Square/X, Triangle/Y
Shadow Amulet: Right, Right, Left, Left, Square/X
Make sure to highlight the respective outfit while inputting the code (you probably won’t be able to tell, just try both costume codes while highlighting each outfit). You simply need to be at the Item Shop screen to input the Shadow Amulet code, you can then buy it for free.