The Avatar series has been a mainstay on Nickelodeon for years now. Unfortunately, it has not translated very well to other forms of media. The movie was atrocious, and the video games have been slightly better, but more so because the movie was just that bad.
It was with all of that in mind that I came into my experience with the Legend of Korra with very low expectations. I knew that the story and characters lent themselves very well to the action game game. I also knew that the developer, Platinum games, were experts at crafting stylish action games. But, I knew above all else that licensed games are fighting an uphill battle from the minute they begin development.
They had a good chance to defy my expectations, and they did in some small ways, but I canʼt say that Legend of Korra was a “good” game.
Platinum games is known for their contributions to the stylish action genre and that is the one lonely area where Legend of Korra shines. I have long dreamt of knowing even a little bit of what it is like to be a fully realized avatar. Platinum has managed to get me as close to that as I will ever feel. Combat is relatively simple on its face. You use one of two face buttons on the controller to initiate quick and strong attacks. The bumpers on the controller are used to rotate between the four different elements of bending (air, water, earth, and fire). Rotating between them creates some insane combos that mix the four elements in visually astonishing ways. The different elements each serve different purposes (water is used to attack enemies at range, earth is good against armored opponents, etc). The mechanics of the combat are sound. Korra was not the most agile of characters I have played as in these genres, but all of her moves were deliberate and strong. It suited Korra very well.
The problem with all of that is that I was robbed of the ability to experience all four of the elements together in concert until the very end of the game. Platinum accomplished this through the narrative by having the antagonist rob Korra of her bending powers at the very beginning of the game. I spent so long plodding through the game trying to earn it all back that I likely would have given up if I were not playing it for review.
The blessing in all of this is that Legend of Korra is a very short game. It is a bite sized experience that could be beaten within a few days of play. This helps keep its repetitive nature less of a flaw. It feels more like a walk up a steep hill than a trudge through a miles-long swamp.
Family Gaming Assessment
All of the conflict resolution in The Legend of Korra is completed through combat. She unleashes powerful kicks and punches against her enemies in fierce combinations. She also uses her bending to use each of the four elements against her opponents.
In the end, the action in the game is no more intense than that of the Nickelodeon cartoon. If you would let your child watch the show, then there should be no real concern here.
The Legend of Korra is not a simple game. Controlling Korra and all of her bending powers requires a the use of multiple different face buttons on the controller as well as the bumpers on the shoulders. This will make the game challenging for younger children with small hands all on its own.
The complex control scheme is only made worse by arbitrary spikes in difficulty at different parts of the story. There are times where even experienced players will need to retry encounters because enemies are just doing far more damage than they feel like they should be.
I want to recommend this title because I am such a huge fan of the show, but it is hard to recommend this game to anyone who is not really hungry for Avatar content.