The animated Avatar franchise has had a bad history with video game adaptations. Past games that focused on the series have all been shallow beat-‘em ups with little enjoyment other than fan service. The Legend of Korra hopes to right the wrongs of past games in the franchise by being an action packed 3D brawler that can appeal to anyone.
For those not caught up with the series, don’t worry. The Legend of Korra: The Video Game takes place outside of the main story between seasons 2 and 3. While no prior knowledge of seasons 2 and 3 are needed to enjoy the game, knowing about character relations and current events will help add to the fan service.
LoK tells a simple story, following Korra as she travels through areas of the show attempting to gain her bending powers back after they were stolen by a strange old man. The 6 hour adventure takes you to places like Republic City, Air Temple Island, and finally The Spirit World.
The story itself is practically non-existent, solely being there to give the player a reason to visit each location. The removal and retrieval of the 4 bending elements makes little sense in context of the series, and shoeing in of characters feels forced and unnecessary. Having Bolin and Mako be team mates in the Pro-Bending mode is cool, but apart from that you’ll never see or hear from them again.
Being made by Platinum Games, it’s no surprise that gameplay is reminiscent of the Bayonetta and Devil May Cry series, but a lot simpler. Korra starts with no bending abilities and only being able to use her fists. Slowly she gains her abilities back, and every time one is returned to you, a small range of new moves opens up to be used. By the end of the game, you’ll have a wide arsenal of combos to use on enemies, but chances are you’ll find your favorite and most effective move and stick with that.
Using light and heavy combos, Korra battles through multiple arenas battling enemies. Unfortunately the games enemy variety is severely lacking, including only around 6 different enemy types with rotating colour pallets. Fighting these enemies is enjoyable for the first few hours, but fighting the same fire bender again and again gets old quickly.
LoK’s biggest problem is that the combat isn’t that great, and for a game that’s all about combat that’s a huge issue. While there are four different set lists of moves at your disposal, they all boil down to being small alterations of each other with different colours and sound effects.
It won’t be long until you max the level of your water bending and casually breeze your way through the majority of the game. Sure things are made entertaining again if you decide to switch to another stance, but the game never forces you to switch and actually rewards those who stick with water bending by making it the most effective against bosses.
Apart from the lackluster combat, LoK also suffers from on-rails Temple Run clone sections. During these sections, Korra will ride on Naga to get from one plot point to the next. You’ll have to jump, attack and duck over obstacles to get to the end, but the majority of the time it’s a pain and never works the way you’d like it too. Half way through the game you’re given earth bending and the ability to double jump with Naga. The game decides when it wants to use the double jump and will often lead to multiple infuriating deaths because of it.
These sections can sometimes be utterly unplayable and are a downer on the overall experience.
If you’re a diehard fan of the Legend of Korra series and looking to get your bending fix you’ll find quite a bit to enjoy and love in The Legend of Korra: The Video Game. If you’re new to the series or just have a passing interest, you’ll be hard pressed to find a reason to care about this lackluster downloadable release. In the end, it’s for the fans.
Should you play The Legend of Korra?
If you’re a fan of the series you’ll enjoy it
Everyone else will get bored
Thanks to Activision for supplying a review code