Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Review: Rayman Origins

When Rayman Origins was first announced at E3 2010 at the Ubisoft games conference I didn't have high expectations. The original Rayman, released on the PlayStation back in 1995, was still firmly etched into my memory as one of my favorite games from my childhood. I thought there was no way this game could capture the same sense of fun of the first game. However, after finally getting my hands on it, I can gladly say it brought back what made Rayman great and then made it better, which shouldn't have been much of a surprise as Ubisoft had got the creator of Rayman (Michel Ancel) back on board.

You don't need me to tell you how great it looks... The completely hand drawn animations are extremely smooth and the environments are stunning. The lush green forests, sandy deserts and icy tundra all have their own individual look and personality. Unfortunately you will probably miss the amazing scenery the first time round as you will be so focused on getting to the end of the level and smashing open one more cage.

The platforming is exactly what you would expect from a Rayman game; you have your basic controls such as run, jump and attack. As you progress through the game and save more scantily-clad pixies, you unlock new abilities such as the ability to fly and run on walls, which will help you pass the later levels. The controls will never leave you frustrated as they are extremely accurate and at times quite forgiving. Other parts of the game have you mounting a giant mosquito as you fly through the level shooting enemies out of the sky.

The gameplay is quirky and fun, with interesting enemy types from the simple angry bird to glowing sea monsters. The game doesn't provide too much of a challenge and you will likely find your self repeating only a few sections of the game to get to the end. The difficulty comes in collecting everything in the game. And if, like me, you want to collect and see everything that the game has to offer, chances are you will not do this on the first play through. You will keep coming back to levels again and again to try to collect a few more electoons for that gold medal, or trying to sprint an entire level to get the time trial trophies. This adds a lot of hours to the game's length and is really only limited by how many hours you are willing to put in, as it can be quite difficult to acquire everything.

This game is definitely a blast to play on your own but if you can get a couple buddies over and experience the local co-op then hilarity is likely to ensue; you will be raging at each other for messing up a section of the level and creating challenges for each other while trying to collect as many electoons as possible.

Rayman Origins was undoubtedly a lost gem in the sea of last year's end-of-season games. It's nice to see something so unique come out in a time where only certain types of games ever make it into production *cough* First person shooters *cough*. In my opinion, this is the best platforming game to grace consoles this generation, and for those who haven't played it I recommend you go out and get a copy as soon as possible so you can experience this beautiful, quirky game.