Gaming History 101

Know Your Roots

Legend of Kay Anniversary Review

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legend_of_kay_ann_logoNote: This review originally appeared on the B-Team Podcast site and has an agreement with the owner of the review, Fred Rojas, to post on Gaming History 101 as well and visa versa.

Typically any game being remade in HD comes with the acceptance that it was already a prominent title, which accounts for the ongoing debate as to whether or not to re-purchase it. That’s why Legend of Kay Anniversary strikes me as such an interesting decision because almost no one played the original on PS2 in 2005 or even the port to DS in 2010. Granted, when you complete the Anniversary edition the phrase “We’ll be back!” is at the end of the credits so I can only guess an upcoming sequel is the reasoning for this beautiful HD remake. Having now played the game to completion I have to admit that Nordic was smart to purchase it from Capcom and this partial Zelda clone does make for a lengthy and impressive campaign. When it originally released, Legend of Kay garnered quite positive reviews and I’m pleased to say that the game is just as great now as it presumably was when it released, only now it has received one hell of a face lift.

legend_of_kay_ann_04You play as protagonist Kay in a world where anthropomorphic animals are the norm. Cats, along with many other creatures, have been imprisoned by a pact with the rats and the gorillas. Apparently the rats realized they were the brains, gorillas realized they were the brawn, and the two worked together to be the super power of the region. When the tragedies of the outside world invade Kay’s little village, he embarks on a quest to bring down these armies and return his lands to the peaceful places they once were. The entire game is worked over with a martial arts theme and unlike my comparison to Zelda games there’s a lot of platforming to enjoy, but you can’t help but notice when your life is literally quantified in heart containers. The comparisons don’t end there, either, with each hub world having a dungeon to explore, a shop for which to buy items (some you can only get in the shop), and even the fact that you don’t get your first sword until traversing a cave to see your master.

legend_of_kay_ann_01Any way you look at it, this game is gorgeous. All of the graphics have been faithfully brought up to this generation and unlike other HD collections, all of the assets appear to have been reworked as well. There will be no blurry and poorly upscaled cutscenes mixed in, you won’t see a single texture tile stretched out like it was cut and pasted in Microsoft Paint, and the entire game feels like one cohesive whole that could have been natively build on modern platforms. The hud and display properties of the game have also been overhauled for a cleaner interface that is focused on you seeing the gorgeous visuals. Thanks to this game already being fully voiced, there’s just an overhaul in clarity for the game’s sound and aside from the cheesy lines it all makes the journey feeling as crisp and polished as the other improvements. As far as PS2 games go, it’s also that interesting length that is just on the cusp of outstaying its welcome, but makes for a hefty campaign (especially by today’s digital download standards). Given that this is a PS2 game, you will still notice some of the problems from that era are all present as well. For starters the camera, while movable, just isn’t as versatile as you need it to be and of course there will be times when you lose control completely and make a simple task quite difficult. You are also limited to a set number of lives, which isn’t really a problem, but I hate to have to keep track for a game like this. Difficulty doesn’t seem to be balanced very well either since on normal you will be faced with a large degree of currency and almost nothing to spend it on. Regardless of these flaws, the important factors like input lag and hit detection have absolutely no issues so in the least Kaiko and Neon Studios focused on the important aspects of bringing this game back.

legend_of_kay_ann_02

What results is a fun adventure that will keep you hooked for at least one playthrough. I haven’t taken the time to beat the game on the various difficulties, but I had a great time learning the story and fighting through the 20 or so levels this had to offer. It’s a good mix of platforming, combat, puzzles, and boss battles that had me impressed and hooked all the up till the end – and I had Metal Gear Solid V waiting to be played. If you are tired of the same shooter or limited scope indie games in this generation, Legend of Kay Anniversary can offer a colorful and beefy campaign that is relatively unlike most games of this generation. If you missed it the first time around – and chances are you probably did – this is a worthwhile digital release that is anything but limited.

Final Score: 4 out of 5

A Playstation 4 review code was provided by the publisher for this article. This title took the reviewer approximately 12-15 hours to complete. Legend of Kay Anniversary is available on Steam for $19.99, Wii U for $24.99, and Playstation 4/Xbox One/Playstation 3/Xbox 360 for $29.99.

Written by Fred Rojas

October 6, 2015 at 11:00 am

One Response

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  1. I wish the game had the OBSCENE option to play in a different language with subtities. The original german dub is quite good.

    Andrew

    October 7, 2015 at 10:32 pm


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