The other day I was having a civil discussion with fellow staff member Tony Polanco (yes we have them) about how the same word can have a different meaning. Which got me thinking about the term Avatar and how it means different things to different people. To most people the term reminds them of the James Cameron’s movie. Others are reminded of the of anime, Avatar: The Last Air Bender. A critically acclaimed show which went on to spawn The Legend of Korra. Now The Legend of Korra has gained a similar level popularity we now get a video game adaptation of show.
The story of The Legend of Korra picks up after the 2nd book/season. It is possible to get through the game without reaching the 2nd book. Though I would recommend going through it as it does explain things which can be considered odd even by the standards of the universe. The short version of the story is that the spirit portals are still open and ancient evil from the past emerges from the spirit world to wreak havoc on both worlds.
As the Avatar Korra, it’s up to you to put a stop to them and bring a balance to both worlds. You do so using the power of elements; wind, water, air and fire. It would not be a character action game without you losing your powers within the first 30 minutes. You spend a good hour and a half getting them back after getting attacked by chi-blockers. A good example of the narrative driving the gameplay.
The combat gets interesting once you get all the powers back. If you’ve ever played a game by Platinum Games then you know exactly what to expect here. Fast-paced, high octane and over the top action does an excellent job of putting a smile on your face. The combat is easy to learn and you will be mastering the combos shortly after unlocking them. However there aren’t many straight combos but you can switch among the elements to increase the variation of combos. Which is great considering that each element works best in a certain play style.
One issue I had was the lack of variation of enemies. After the first two hours you’ve already played against all the enemies the game throws against you. In an attempt to ramp up the difficulty later in the game, you get thrown against multiple mini-boss characters which does feel a bit cheap. Then again once you unlock the final element then large groups of enemies turn into cannon fodder.
The Legend of Korra attempts to stick the art style of the anime and goes for a cell shaded approach. This works reasonably well for the characters but leaves the environments feeling and looking empty. There are the odd destructible objects along with a few treasure chests off the beaten path. The voice acting has its high and low points. At times it is reminiscent of the show, at other times it is cringeworthy bad.
Like other games developed by Platinum Games, after completing the story you unlock an extreme difficulty mode. However you can carry over your progress from previous save thus reducing the difficult somewhat. Another incentive to complete the game at the harder levels is to unlock various outfits without the need to purchase them.
The Legend of Korra is a mixed bag of quality. One the one hand the combat is fast-paced and very satisfying, with the narrative and gameplay mostly going hand-in-hand. On the other hand the game does not feel as rich as other Platinum Games titles, with the repetitive enemies, uninspired environments and shading voice acting. Fans of The Legend of Korra will enjoy this as it respects the source material however it lacks the level of polish from other titles from Platinum Games.
This review of The Legend of Korra is based on the PC version which was provided by Platinum Games.