I am going to start this review with an aside. I like bad games. I like finding the charm in imperfect creations. For God’s sake, I 1000G’d BCFX: Black College Football: The X-perience: The Doug Williams Edition, (Yes, that is a real game. Yes, that is the full title.) but man… Legend of Kay Anniversary was rough, from beginning to end.
(Note: This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of this game)
In Legend of Kay Anniversary, we get to take a sweet trip on memory lane, back to 2005, to an apparent cult classic game. The developers thought it would be a great idea to hop on the Remastered Express and milk a little bit more money out of this cat-astrophe. (wink) The last time I checked, remastered did not mean “Let’s leave the game practically alone, make it look average for the Xbox 360, and leave in the awful animations and bad voice acting (Yeah, that’s right. I’m calling you out.). We are also going to charge you THIRTY FREAKING DOLLARS for it…” What?!? $30 for a game that is 10 years old, and not very good?? You are crazy. You play as a sarcastic cat warrior-in-training, trying to save the island that is inhabited by four warrior groups (cats, rabbits, frogs, and pandas). However, one day the rats and gorillas attacked. Where did the come from? Don’t know. Maybe their separate land because plot. After Kay has had enough of the oppressive regime of monkeys and rodents, he sets off on a wild and crazy adventure for liberty. Not really wild and crazy, just very linear, and at points, just bad. Honestly, if this was its own game, and not a remake, I probably would have let it slide by with a decent review, but for a 10 year old game that you have to pay $30 for??? Nope. You’ve released the Kraken.
The music in this game is actually really good. I enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere and the fight music never got too old during sessions. I really, really enjoyed the music. But then everything changed, when the dialogue entered the picture. Instead of blending the music with the dialogue, Neon Studios thought it would be great to drop music to low levels, and blare the dialogue. This is not generally a problem, annoying, but not problematic. However, in Kay, the voice acting is probably some of the worst VA I have seen in a video game, in a very long time. Kay sounds like he is talking through a cup, the rats make me want to stab my ears, everyone has talks in very disconnected manners that don’t flow, and the frogs that are apparently Jamaican are voiced by people that can’t do the accent worth shit. (Why did they even have to be Jamaican? Why not just give them normal, American voices? That is obviously all that you had at your disposal.) If it wasn’t for the music being good, I probably would have literally just played on mute.
Comparatively, they are better than the original. I will give Neon Studios that. However, that does not make them “good.” The fact that we have THIS and Skyrim running on the same console, and this was released almost four years after Skyrim is pathetic. The colors popped by all means, but the textures and features were just “meh.” While dialog occurs, I hope you enjoy watching lips flap randomly and three different animations happen for a character. Over. And over. And over again. Because that is what you are getting. Who needs to sync lips in a game? “It will add to the nostalgia.” BULLSHIT. No it does not. With the resources that are at developers’ disposal, it is possible. Combine all of this with the fact that “cutscenes” look like they are slightly moving comic book pages, (which do not get me wrong, I loved this feature, but the fact they did it for cut scenes and only cut scenes is weird to me. The style was neat, but seemed out of place.) and you get… what you see on the screen. Something adequate for about $10, but robbery at $30.
I’m going to say it. I did kind of like the fighting and platforming of this game. The fighting is okay if you like pushing the attack button over and over, or rolling and attacking, then jumping and attacking. The fighting is very cookie cutter, but almost therapeutic. You don’t have to fully focus on the game. You can let your mind wander. I played on “Hard” and had very few troubles, outside of the game glitching that is. The platforming was also nice. Kay’s double jump and snappy response was actually good for exploring the landscape. (Wait.. where is it? I just said nice stuff.. wait… there it is… it’s… it’s…..) BUT, although the controls were nice to you, you may as well have been looking through a potato. This is because the camera is absolutely horrible. “Want to jump over there? I hope you guesstimate the distance because there is no first person.” “Want to think through this puzzle? Too bad, you just have to do it over and over until you learn it like the back of your hand, because I won’t let you look.” Honestly… the camera? You couldn’t have at least fixed the camera?? According to some research I have done, not only did they not improve the camera, but somehow they actually made it worse! For shame, for shame.
In the game, there are some collectibles, but they may as well not even be required for achievements or trophies. Why? Because I had to use a walkthrough to even get a rough idea where to acquire some of them. There are heart containers, magic containers, and demon doors.(yeah, these were way out of place, but I’m just going to overlook it.) Most hc and mc you can get by doing a little bit of exploring, but a couple are convoluted. The demon doors, on the other hand, were next to impossible. The only way to remotely know where they were, was to buy hints from the shopkeep, and he MAY give you a clue where you can find it. Once you are in the vicinity, you must use a potion to gain demon vision for 10 seconds to see the door and jump in. Yeah, convoluted as all get out. The BEST(/s) part of the collectibles? Once you finish a chapter, you can never go back to that segments. If you miss something, you must start over and go back through. Yeah. What a load, huh? Just add that to the list of “Let’s try to make Doug love us, but in the end make him resent us” moments.
To me, this game was not good. It never should have been remade. The world is a different landscape for videogames than back in 2005. While Kay had the opportunity to step up and give us more, the developers chose to take the easy route, barely improve graphics, not change the voices, and leave the game as a mediocre blob in the middle of the floor. If it was $10, I could justify recommending, just for shiggles, but for $30, unless you want to experience a beloved series again, or you personally want to see how bad it is, steer away from this. Steer as far away as possible. There are positive aspects, but the negatives cannot be overlooked and those negatives completely overshadow everything else this poor soul could have shined on. At best, the game is “kay.”
*Note: I understand that the graphics may be gorgeous on current gen. The fact of the matter is that this game was not just released current gen, but also last gen. If the graphics are overlooked for previous gens, then why even bother doing it, other than for being part of a money grab? That’s just my thoughts on it. I’m sorry if I shat on anyone’s childhood today.