The story here will reference elements from the show and there will undoubtedly be a lot of callbacks that will make fans happy. That said, don’t let that keep you from this game. The action elements are pretty awesome, thanks in large part to Platinum’s skills at making great combat mechanics. All you need to know is that you’re playing as a real badass who can bend the four elements of fire, water, air, and earth to her will.
As Korra re-discovers her various bending skills, she’ll find that she’s stuck using more of the basic attacks with each element. But as you progress and level up, you’ll upgrade your attacks and learn new combos. What makes the fighting top notch here is how seamlessly you can swap between your four powers as you’re unleashing combos on enemies.
Water bending, for example, is good for long-range attacks – either throwing out projectiles, or using a “water whip”-like move to reel enemies closer to you. On the other hand, air bending is best as an area-of-effect attack when dealing with a group of enemies surrounding you. Each bending style offers something unique, and it’s best to mix up your attacks as much as possible. Oh, and you totally can summon an air ball and ride it around just like in the show.
Between your light and heavy attacks, you also have a special charge attack for more powerful bending moves, plus there’s a dodge and counter move as well. Countering is especially encouraged, most of all when dealing with boss-type enemies. It’s a similar counter system to that of Revengeance, where you have to learn the enemy patterns to best time the counter over being babied and getting some notification to time the counter correctly. Though, admittedly, the learning curve for timing is way smaller in The Legend of Korra.
And yes, you can go into the Avatar state. The specifics of what will allow you to summon your special ability haven’t been quite nailed down yet, but ultimately the game will let you know when you can go full out, and at that point you’ll be unleashing all your bending abilities at once for a duration of time.
Again, for an alpha, the combat system was pretty damn fluid. The camera was a little finicky during my hands-on time, but didn’t ultimately hinder my session. I was impressed with how far along the game was already, and there’s going to be loads of time for polish between now and the release date.
Visually, the game was looking nice too. The cartoon-y/cel-shaded look was pleasant, especially when the different bending elements were in use by the player or enemies. Speaking of which, while the big boss is new, most of the enemy foot soldiers were recycled from the past two seasons of the show. My playthrough saw me encountering chi blockers, Mecha Tanks, and some of the Triads too. A nice touch though at least is that chi blockers can knock out whatever last ability you were using for a small duration of time.
The voice actors from the show reprise their role here for the game, and a large chunk of the game’s music is taken from the show too. On top of the core action elements, there’s also a Naga-running section where you have to navigate levels much in the same way as something like in Temple Run. Plus there’s Pro-Bending sections where Korra, Mako, and Bolin will be fighting others in Pro-Bending!