Legend of Kay Anniversary Review – Garbage-Breath (PS4)
It’s been ten whole years since Legend of Kay first came out on the PlayStation 2 — quite a long time in the video game world. However, despite the many years, Nordic Games somehow made Legend of Kay Anniversary on the PS4 look fantastic, but the core game still contains quite a few flaws.
The world of Legend of Kay Anniversary is completely comprised of walking, talking animals, with players taking on the role of Kay — a brash, young cat who is tasked with restoring peace to his land. To do this, he must defeat the evil rats and brawny gorillas that have taken over the land and are ruling it with an iron grip. He gets some help from his alcoholic ninja mentor, an old cat who occasionally will pop up offer the player a new set of sword-play moves. The story sounds exciting, and it might have been, too, if it wasn’t for the game’s truly awful writing.
If someone told me that the script was written in the ’90s by a 14-year-old kid, I would be inclined to believe that. Kay has a very limited vocabulary, and often tries to hurl insults at his opponents before he actually attacks them, issuing such gems as “dipwad” and “garbage-breath.” His enemies aren’t too much brighter, either, and will generally retort with sentences that seem completely out of character. Between all of this dialogue lies the plot, but thanks to the immature and unintelligent writing, the plot seems unimportant. It’s hard to take a major quest to save the general population seriously when everyone talks like an annoying ’90s teenager, and it also makes it hard to fully understand the scope of Kay’s actions.
Jump, Attack, Repeat
However, it is Kay’s actions that help make Legend of Kay fairly entertaining. Similar to titles like Jak and Daxter and Knack, the gameplay is broken into different open-area stages, and it revolves around jumping over pits, killing enemies, and solving a variety of simple puzzles. Combat is fairly straightforward, as there are only a few different attacks to take advantage of, and it mostly involves dodging enemies and using fast sword swings. There aren’t a whole lot of unique enemies to take on, but they generally come in droves, forcing the player to rely not only on some quick moves, but also a variety of different items.
There are bombs, power-up potions, and other items that can be either found in each level or purchased from merchants. These give advantages in combat, and are incredibly useful when taking on bosses or large groups of enemies. On top of these basic items, new weapons and weapon upgrades can also be found in each level. These can be found in a number of secret locations hidden in every stage, which can be found by using special potions or using bombs to blow up parts of the wall. These upgrades and weapons aren’t necessary to get through the game, but they do make later levels a whole lot easier to complete.
Take a Look
Despite the action and combat being entertaining, though, it can be difficult to take full advantage of Kay’s quick moves and mobility thanks to a camera that is incredibly difficult to properly use. See, instead of being able to look up and down, moving the right stick forward or backward results in the camera zooming in or out, with the default view being an awkward, slightly askew overhead view. The view limits the player’s ability to look around the stage, and makes it difficult to see overhead platforms or ropes. Zooming in and out doesn’t offer any bit of help at all, and during one boss fight, my view was so bad that I wasn’t even able to see the boss when it was practically right next to me.
It’s a shame that the camera is so bad, though, because Legend of Kay Anniversary actually looks amazing. The entire game has been remastered, bringing it up to par with remasters of PS3 games — and I mean quality remasters of PS3 games. The title runs smoothly, the environments and effects look good, and the character models are simply outstanding.
But, the bad writing, poorly done plot, and awful camera controls makes me wonder if the gorgeously remastered graphics were even worth the time. Sure, the game has some entertaining action, yet it still manages to fall short. If you’re a big fan of the original Legend of Kay, I recommend buying the Anniversary version. But, if you’re on the fence about getting the game, it might be best to wait until it’s given a heavy discount.
Review copy purchased by reviewer. For information on scoring, please read our Review Policy here.