It seems a long time since I’ve played an Avatar game, in fact there hasn’t been one on Xbox in seven years when Aang was the Avatar in The Burning Earth. Sadly it’s been mainly known as the game to get, arguably, the easiest possible 1000 Gamerscore from and I guess now is the time to give us something new to remember the Avatars for. Step up to the plate The Legend of Korra.
Based on the Nickelodeon television series of the same name, The Legend of Korra focuses on Korra who is the latest incarnation of the Avatar, taking on the mantle after the death of the previous Avatar Aang. This game aims to fill the gap between seasons two and three of the TV show with a story penned solely for this purpose. From what I can grasp an ancient evil being that came through a portal has stripped Korra of all her elemental powers and thus the journey to regain them to defeat this villain begins.
The story itself is told via sporadic cinematic scenes that are over in the blink of an eye which is why I have to start on a negative point. Basically the synopsis I’ve given you already is almost the whole thing bar a minor expansion on this evil being’s past. Not only do they fail to help you connect with Korra but also the other characters such as random minions and mini bosses. In fact, apart from the main villain I don’t believe they refer to any other enemies with any real care for who they are.
Putting that aside for a moment, generally if a game plays well then you can be tempted to overlook a weak story. As a third person beat-em-up it’s all about the combat and when you get all four elements (Earth, Wind, Fire and Air) at your disposal it feels simple enough to use them in tandem switching from whirlwinds to fireballs at the press of a button and it looks great. By the time you have them all though you’ll be nearly finish with the eight chapters long (or short in reality) story and don’t get long to make the most of such awesomely stylish combos.
For times when fighting just won’t work too efficiently against the foe attacking you, mainly the big robotic types, there’s always the more evasive route. Dodging out of the way can be the best option when facing certain attacks and for everything else there’s countering. Although it does become instinctual to counter, if you go off the game’s “attack incoming” warning signs then you’ll be all out of sync. Usually it’d be press when it signals to; instead it’s more like wait a short time period then counter which isn’t really explained. When countering works though, it encourages players that a good balance of offence and defence is key to overcoming the odds.
Apart from running through areas and fighting off the four different types of enemies (not including the main boss) there’s the odd bout of pro-bending, I mean like two small bits, and travelling around on the back of Naga. A cross between a dog and a polar bear, Naga carries Korra in a few sections across the story mode where the player must navigate this spiritual animal over gaps and around various obstacles. It’s fun at first and then pretty soon I kind of wished the end of the level would hurry up so I can get back to smashing rocks and such into enemies.
The main mode is over in a few hours at most, after which it seems like it wants you to go back to replay earlier missions to use the now unlocked powers to gain access to more collectibles trapped in chests that were unavailable to get to in the first playthrough. There’s also a shop filled with costly talismans that you won’t be able to afford without a bit of grinding. Needless to say I had no urge to go back and redo any levels. Especially when the fighting could get pretty annoying with a camera that you need to manually adjust all the time to see what’s going on around you.
This left me to play the mode unlocked after story completion, Pro-Bending, focussing solely on the popular sport as you play as Korra’s team, the Fire Ferrets. There are two teams of three benders and the aim is to either gain more territory on the playing field across three rounds or knock the other team off it entirely for the instant win. I see a lot of promise here, if there were more options on choosing your team or even being able to play it against other human players then it would increase the enjoyment massively. As it is I became bored after a few matches, however I will credit the developers for showing the games rules beforehand for anyone completely alien to the concept.
I had plenty of excitement to see what Platinum Games and the show’s creators had collaborated to bring us on the story front, yet this is where the main disappointment lies. The Legend of Korra is certainly not for anyone who isn’t already a fan of the TV show whilst it also will possibly fail to please those who know and love the Avatar world.
Even for £11.99 on Xbox One I don’t see value for money, as the best parts only come when the story mode is almost over.
The “Legend” of Korra is tarnished sadly.