Platinum Games has been known for some of the more addictively fun action games in the past few years. The creator of Bayonetta has taken to creating games based on popular franchises, from Transformers: Devastation to a game based on the Legend of Korra tv series. This action adventure blends fluid combat with well-known elements from the series; and an all-new story set between the second and third seasons.
You are given the role of Avatar Korra, who loses her bending capabilities after being attacked by a Chi-Blocker who leads Korra on a journey that puts her at odds with a chaotic entity named Hundun, who wishes to sow chaos and get revenge for a deep-seated grudge against the Avatar. At the beginning of the game, Korra has no bending ability, and must rely solely on hand to hand combat to fight. As The Legend of Korra progresses she gains water, earth, fire, and air; as well as eventually regaining her control over the avatar state, which increases her strength for a short time and enables her to perform attacks that use multiple elements at once.
Breaking down how each of the elements works in The Legend of Korra; The avatar Korra begins with only martial arts combat, and can only fight with her fists and feet for punching and kicking. Waterbending is acquired first and gives you ranged capability in order to keep enemies at a distance whilst still dealing damage. Earthbending is the next to be acquired, and features slow, earthen attacks that are very powerful and cannot be blocked, giving Korra the capability to break through enemy defenses easily. Firebending is likely the most versatile and balanced fighting style and can be upgraded to feature all three forms of attacks: Fast combos, slow and powerful burst attacks, and ranged distance combat. Airbending is the last to be acquired and features fast and powerful attacks that can affect all surrounding targets, combining the strength of earth bending with the range of water and fire bending.
As you defeat enemies with the different paths of bending, they will level up, giving you new combos and attacks with that particular bending path, while also making it stronger in general. You can also block and counter attack with the proper timing (similar to the mechanic in Bayonetta) as well as being able to perform finishing moves on weakened targets with the press of a button.
Every level has barriers that can only be broken by certain bending elements, as well as secret areas that can only be opened after you have completed other levels and unlocked other bending capabilities. There are a variety of other secrets to be found, and some provide a challenge that may not be seen unless you search off the beaten path in each level.
In addition to the exploration and action portions of The Legend of Korra, there are also two mini-games taken from the series. The first (unlocked after completing the game) is the Pro-Bending tournament, where you try to push the other team off the platform by repeatedly attacking them with bending. Additionally, seen throughout The Legend of Korra are levels where Korra rides on Naga (a large dog), attempting to reach an end goal without hitting any obstacles. This continues after you have completed The Legend of Korra, offering an endless runner mode with the opportunity to collect a lot of spirits along the way.
The environments of The Legend of Korra are rendered in a cel-shaded format intended to mimic the art style of the television series. As you progress you will be able to destroy elements of the environment in order to gain spirits, which can be used to buy power-ups, accessories, and consumable items in the Spirit Shop. Like in other Platinum games, The Legend of Korra has a medal system that gives you a score based on how much damage you take, as well as whether or not you used an item in that stage. Additionally, the time it took to complete the level is also taken into account when the score is calculated, rewarding you a medal at the end to signify your skill and completion.
Medal types go from stone, bronze, silver, gold, and then platinum and the criteria for each medal changes depending on the difficulty level that you have chosen. Casual Mode’s requirements are much more lenient than Normal Mode’s requirements for example. Sadly no matter the difficulty, the Legend of Korra only lasts between 4 and 6 hours of gameplay, depending on how long you take to level your bending and replay the various levels to unlock the copious amount of secrets within them. Afterwards, you can replay the levels on a higher difficulty, or redo the levels over again on the same difficulty with everything you have unlocked.
In addition to the short completion time, there are a few other issues with The Legend of Korra, particularly in the implementation of the gamepad support. At times, if you have a mouse and gamepad both plugged in, the right joystick will refuse to control the camera, and the mouse will have it bound instead. There is no real way to fix this issue beyond restarting the game, yet sometimes even that doesn’t help. With that being said a gamepad is strictly recommended for playing The Legend of Korra with the most ease of use.
Additionally, the mouse is trapped in the window, therefore it can be difficult for you to tab out if you need to (like to take screenshots for example.) Another issue with The Legend of Korra is the issue of the game’s reliance on quick time events (QTE) in combat. The QTE’s are fast paced and while they add a layer of challenge to the game, sometimes they can simply be annoying.
Overall The Legend of Korra is a good example of how television or anime adaptations of video games can still be entertaining and fun to play. While it has issues in a few areas and was nowhere near a perfect game, Platinum games fully embodied how it would feel to truly play as the Avatar Korra, and provided a fun (if short) action adventure for players of all ages and skill levels.
• Tons of secrets to find
• Fluid Combat
• Voice acting by the Original Actors of The Legend of Korra
• Buggy Camera
• Issues with Gamepad Support
• Short Campaign
• No subtitles
• Simple level designs
• Boring Runner missions