El33t P33k: Rayman Legends PS Vita impressions from gamescom

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Rayman Legends is one of my most anticipated games of 2013, and after recently reliving the excellent Rayman Origins on my PS Vita I was eager to see how Ubisoft Montpellier’s upcoming platformer fared on the handheld.

Ubisoft has released a demo for Rayman Legends on all target platforms apart from PS Vita, so I had a nagging suspicion that the publisher wasn’t very confident in the game’s handheld port.

Earlier today I managed to get some hands-on time with Rayman Legends on PS Vita at gamescom and can finally bring you some firsthand feedback on how this particular version of the game stacks up next to its home console and PC counterparts. I’ve played the Wii U demo for Rayman Legends in glorious 1080p so I have something solid to compare the handheld port to, especially when I take into account the differences between the home console and PS Vita versions of Rayman Origins.

The good news is that Rayman Legends appears to run at full resolution on PS Vita, that is to say 960×544 pixels. The game’s touch mechanics also work flawlessly and are even more responsive than they are on Wii U.

The bad news is that you can’t zoom in and out on the action by pinching the PS Vita’s screen as you could in Rayman Origins. Hopefully the full version will retain this feature as I’ll be mightily disappointed if it’s left out of the final build since it was very handy to be able to zoom in on levels where you character in dwarfed by his surroundings.

Another disappointing aspect of the demo was that the action would freeze for a millisecond every so often as the game’s UbiArt Framework engine struggled to stream the level while still maintaining a smooth frame rate. This was also an issue in the PS Vita version of Rayman Origins but thankfully didn’t occur very regularly. It’s concerning that the action stuttered fairly frequently during my hands-on time with Rayman Legends, especially when I was playing the musical Mariachi Madness level.

While the game’s colourful environments look stunning on the PS Vita’s OLED screen, it appears as though some of the fancy new visuals effects which Rayman Legends boasts have been pared back a little for the handheld port. For instance, the surface of the ocean in an underwater level I played doesn’t look quite as attractive and visually complex as it does on home consoles and PC judging by trailers, gameplay videos and screenshots I’ve seen.

So there you have it – based on my hands-on time with Rayman Legends on PS Vita it should be a similar visual experience to the handheld version of Rayman Origins, albeit with more frequent performance hiccups and conceivably missing the pinch-to-zoom feature of its predecessor.

Rayman Legends will launch on August 30th in European territories and September 3rd in the US for Wii U, PS3, PS Vita, Xbox 360 and PC. Head over here for El33tonline’s previous coverage of this quirky platformer from Ubisoft Montpellier.

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