I often find that when a game gets a remaster or a re-release, it’s because there’s something special about the game. Perhaps it was a gem that was overshadowed by a much bigger game. Maybe it was a game that released too late on an older platform to get noticed. Whatever the case may be, a remaster allows you to highlight a game you feel is a gem and give it the needed remastering to make the game shine today. The Legend of Kay: Anniversary is not that game.
In The Legend of Kay: Anniversary, you play as Kay, a cat who is an apprentice to a great warrior master. It’s your job to save your village from a race of rats and gorillas and restore peace to the world around you. With the use of various weapons and combat moves, you take down various enemies and solve various puzzles and challenges. The Legend of Kay originally released in 2005 on PS2. This remaster came to PS4, Wii U, PS3, Xbox 360 and PC in 2015.
In doing this review, I looked back on The Legend of Kay on PS2 and came away impressed with the graphical improvements in this Anniversary edition. To be fair, you won’t confuse this game with a current generation game, but the graphical improvements are quite nice. The game starts off a little slow but picks up speed quickly, giving you everything you need to adventure long before the tutorial actually teaches you how to do it. I also really liked how the game presents its story through comic book-style cutscenes. These are really well drawn scenes, making the game have it owns unique feel. The game runs well on Nintendo Switch, having played the game both in docked and handheld modes. I didn’t notice any issues with the game running on the Switch.
With all that said, The Legend of Kay: Anniversary has a lot of problems. The biggest problem is that the game feels old. The controls and gameplay feel like an old PS2 game. This was something that wasn’t changed at all in the Anniversary edition. It looks nicer than its original release, but it still plays like an old game. The controls aren’t terrible, but the game is incredibly repetitive. After just a short amount of time, the game starts to feel stale because of this repetition. Even enemies become boring to fight after a while, they all have the same attack pattern. Once you learn it, then you pretty much know each enemy. It should also be noted how terrible the voice acting is in this game. I mean, it’s really bad. The main character, Kay, sounds incredibly dull to the point of being annoying. Other characters are clearly trying so hard that the acting and accents make you laugh out loud because of how badly done they are. You also can’t skip or speed up the dialogue in this game, which makes it somewhat painful to listen to the slow-placed, filler conversations throughout the game. Another issue is that the game is filled with “filler missions.” Filler missions are just that, fillers meant to add more to a game without adding much to make it worth your time. These side missions didn’t really feel like they added much to the game. In one side mission I needed to help out a villager recover pumpkins that fell from her cart outside the city gates. In order to get to the area where the pumpkins are located, I had to bribe a guard with a banana…that I needed to find somewhere else in the village. After completing the mission to find the banana and getting the lost pumpkins back, I truly felt that the “reward” for doing this side mission was not at all worth the time spent to complete it.
My other major problem with the game was that nothing new was done to it for Nintendo Switch. I bought this game when it came out on Wii U 3 years ago, and I felt exactly as I do towards this Switch port as I did towards the Wii U version. After 3 years when they announced it was coming to Switch, I was hoping that they would have listened to some of the feedback the Anniversary edition received and made some changes. Nope. There’s nothing different about this game. Nothing was done to make this game any better. It was literally a copy and paste onto the Switch. While I can understand not wanting to remaster a remastered game for Switch, it feels odd that in the 3 years since it came out, nothing was done to try to improve the experience. It’s a shame too, the Switch is the perfect platform for 3D action platformers.
Publisher: THQ Nordic GmbH
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Wii U, PS4, PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Release Date: 28th July 2015 (Wii U, PS4, PS3, Xbox 360, PC), 29th May 2018 (Nintendo Switch)