Legend of Korra: The Game would normally be disregarded as licensed shovelware that would never amount to anything, but due to the involvement of Platinum Games and the quality of the TV show the game has gotten the attention of many gamers around the world. The show depicts a rich universe full of interesting characters and unique abilities. Unfortunately, Legend of Korra: The Game never completely captures the spirit of the show it is based on. Fortunately, it does capture the feeling of bending the elements to your will in a fun and fast paced combat system. Ultimately, despite several shortcomings, the game still manages to be enjoyable for the 5-10 hours you’ll spend playing it.
The biggest shortcoming is the story and world itself. The animations in the cutscenes, while not awful, don’t come relatively close to the quality of the show. The in game bending animations are really fluid though. The environments are sparse, the main characters are mostly absent, and the newest villain and the story around him is pretty cookie-cutter and bland. The story really focuses in on Korra and this new mystery villain. That story ends up going nowhere, but at least Korra’s voice acting and dialogue is pretty well done and true to her character. The end of the story has its moments though, mostly because it utilizes other characters and creates some really good banter between the characters. Mako, Bolin, and Jinora all get really good parts in the last two chapters of the game
The true meat of Legend of Korra: The Game is the stylish combat system, which is Platinum Games pedigree. Thankfully, this system is pretty deep and well done, even if it has a few missteps. The biggest misstep is the fact that it takes so long to get going. Almost immediately you are stripped of all of your bending and you have to relearn your abilities. Learning new combos and skills for each bending class is really satisfying and makes you feel more powerful, but having to relearn the bending class itself takes too long. It’s not until the end of chapter 4, halfway through the game, that you have all of the bending classes. This makes it feel like the game starts almost as soon as it’s ending. Thankfully you can play through all the chapters again to power up your skills further. The game is really difficult, even in normal, but taking on extreme is a real test of skill. Once again you keep your skills you developed in normal, making it feel like the game it was supposed to be initially.
The combat itself is really fluid and fun for the most part. It appears really simple in the beginning, but as you level up you can charge your abilities which will result in a bigger attack as well as charge up your chi. Charging your chi will give you a damage and movement buff. There is a shop that allows you to buy new skills as well as healing items and talismans that give you different buffs and debuffs. By chapter 5, once you have all of your bending skills and some really interesting combos, the game gets much more fast paced and entertaining. There is also a dodge and counter mechanic that is fairly hit or miss. The counter window takes a little getting used to, but it’s incredibly satisfying to land one and send your enemies flying back.
Two additional modes are thrown into the game, an endless runner featuring Korra’s polar bear dog Naga and a 3 on 3 versus mode called pro bending. The endless runner is essentially a temple run clone that never quite feels fun. It’s unnecessarily difficult and the obstacles blend in with the background too easily, making it needlessly complicated and annoying. The pro bending mode is a lot more fun and forces you to really utilize the dodging and counter mechanics. You’re reduced to only using waterbending, but the strategy of pushing enemies back and dodging and countering their attacks makes for an enjoyable experience.
Legend of Korra: The Game is not a perfect game. It is plagued by a poorly constructed story, inadequately explained combat system, and a boring and difficult endless runner. Once you learn how the combat works and really perfect the dodging and countering, as well as level all of your abilities, you’re in for a pretty deep and exciting combat experience. Add pro bending, a fun mode that you’ll want to try and perfect, and you have a pretty sold experience. Legend of Korra: The Game is much like Korra herself, rough around the edges, but still genuinely good at heart.