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About The Legend of Korra

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Genre: Adventure | Publisher: Activision | Platform: Console
Based on Nickelodeon’s animated series of the same name, The Legend of Korra video game is a beat ‘em up style adventure, developed by Platinum Games of Bayonetta fame and published by Activision for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360. Play as Avatar Korra while facing a mysterious new foe with the frightening ability to rob Korra of her bending ability. Face off against cunning Equalists, members of the Triple Threat Triad, and rogue spirits as you learn to reconnect with and regain your lost bending abilities, mastering your physical and elemental prowess while tracking down the twisted Hundun, an ancient entity of chaos with a personal grudge to settle with the Avatar.

Combining the traditional, rapid-fire melee combat style familiar to other Platinum titles with the unique mastery over four elemental styles of the Avatar universe, The Legend of Korra throws you into a world in the midst of chaotic transition, with the story taking place just after the events of the title show’s second season.

Core Challenges of The Legend of Korra

While on its surface, the primarily two-button combat of The Legend of Korra may strike players as simplistic, becoming comfortable enough with the controls and the flow of combat to maintain forward momentum in the story may take a bit of trial and error. Each of Avatar Korra’s four elemental bending abilities are unlocked at different points in the game’s story, starting from only having your hand-to-hand fighting skills at your disposal, to relearning the elements one by one, leveling up each element and purchasing new moves from the game’s Spirit Shop on the way.

During enemy encounters, you can break up the pace of battle by swiftly dodging enemy attacks, or by executing a well-timed block, which, when done correctly, initiates a timed reaction sequence where you’ll rely on rapid button presses and directional movements with the analog sticks. The timing of these reaction commands can be elusive, and it may take more than a couple tries to successfully clear some bosses and group fights.

Learning to speak the language of the game and its combat encounters involves a bit of a learning curve, but once players are accustomed to the tools at their disposal, a full run-through of the game’s story takes about 4-6 hours.

What We Liked About The Legend of Korra

What makes this game stand out among other entries to the controller-shredding combat genre is how it utilizes the titular IP of The Legend of Korra universe to make the experience more immersive. The show’s lively cast of voice actors make appearances here, with characters Korra, Jinora, Mako, Bolin, and Iroh being voiced by the actors from the show, though for most of your adventure, you’ll be flying solo as Korra, with occasional guidance from Jinora’s astral-projected spirit.

Another holdover is the show’s stellar soundtrack, employed tastefully throughout the game, making action sequences more impactful, triumphs more joyous, and the cal reflective moments have an ethereal atmospheric quality the show is known for.

Additionally, callbacks to both The Legend of Korra show and the Avatar: The Last Airbender series are riddled throughout the game in the form of hidden collectible items, including Firelord Zuko’s Blue Spirit mask, an air bison plushee, and a wanted poster of Avatar Aang as a child. Little additions like these serve as an extra thing for gamers of all spades to strive for if their interest is completion, while long-time fans of the series will get a smile of familiarity, having well-loved elements of the IP sprinkled throughout.

Story of The Legend of Korra

The story of the game sets up high expectations, featuring a script written by Tim Hedrick of the TV series, and a plot and main villain conceived by Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino, but the story is far from the dense, obscure reference-fest one might expect from a story tie-in like this. The story can be summarized thusly: a not at all suspicious-looking old man appears to Korra in an alley after a pro-bending match and steals her bending. On a quest to discover the identity and purpose of her mysterious attacker, as well as regain her Avatar powers, Korra sets out to track him down.

Levels alternate between 3D platforming with enemy encounters involving entirely too many groups of faceless Equalist goons and Temple Run style endless runner levels where Korra (riding atop her reliable polar bear dog companion Naga) must navigate a variety of narrow, three-lane areas in Republic City, the North Pole, and the Spirit World. These levels are fun the first time through, and a burden every additional time you play through them because of a missed jump or hit obstacle.

After much ado, you arrive to the Spirit World, tear through armies of spirits, and learn than your assailant is the ancient embodiment of chaos known as Hundun, who has a personal grudge against the Avatar for damage done to Hundun’s conjoined brother in a past life. This triggers a complicated boss battle against a shirtless, roided-out Hundun with a variety of powers seen nowhere else in the universe, while Korra regains the ability to enter the Avatar state, essentially matching the final boss in a mystical super-power arms race.

A few hadoukens, a thousand reaction commands, and a million Katara’s Oasis Water power-ups later, Hundun goes down, and Avatar Korra saves the day. The battle ends in a pro-bending rematch between Korra’s team, the Fire Ferrets, and the fan-favorite Wolf-Bats. Credits roll while you battle, which is a bit distracting, but the charming dialogue between the three characters makes the ending feel all the more satisfying.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Legend of Korra

Blocking - A staple for all combat encounters in the game, some of the more difficult bosses will require a well-timed block to properly take down. In the basic configuration of the game’s controls, tapping L1 or LB just before an enemy lands an attack will block and push your enemy back, prompting reaction commands that will allow you to land devastating combo moves.

Items - The Spirit Shop is full of different elixirs, talismans, and scrolls that all have different properties and uses, but for a straightforward play through, the items I found most reliable for grueling boss battles and endless waves of casual enemies were the Healer’s Water, Katara’s Oasis Water, Charge Crest, the Shadow Fast Talisman, and toward the end of the story, an Awakening for quickly entering the Avatar State during boss battles.

Story - Fans of the fighting genre or anyone with a casual interest in the IP may wonder if the game’s story requires familiarity with the source material to fully enjoy. While the game’s story is very easy to grasp as a one-off adventure, the context provided by the rest of the show really makes the effort put into the game sink in.

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