Developed by: Ubisoft Montpellier
Release Date: November 15, 2011
Nostalgia. That’s a quick way to sum this game up, and it’s really a good thing. That is, if you aren’t like me and really played the original on the PS1. Because I did do that…I just didn’t do it until 2 years ago. That’s a shame really, because the original was a fantastic and challenging platformer with a side of charm. And quite frankly, that’s how I’ll say Origins is. It’s charming, it’s enjoying, it’s challenging, and it’s everything it needs to be. It’s the perfect nod to a classic, and it’s one game I highly recommend to any fan of platforming.
The graphics have got to be the best part of this game. The artists behind the level designs and the player models did a fantastic job. Sure, the players are the same as they were before, most lack limbs and the others are so small it’s not funny. However, the levels rock. The way things fall into place as you run past them, the way the wind blows in the background as you float about trying to pick up coins, kill enemies, and attempt to move throughout the world while finding all of the hidden areas.
Rayman Origins is tough for some, but it’s the perfect mix of simplistic and tough. While that may scare you away, the controls are tight and one of the best schemes for this generation of platformers. One note you should take is this: when trying to helicopter you’ll sometimes fail to do it because it doesn’t always read your input correctly. This note rings true with many inputs, but the helicopter stood out to me. Now this isn’t to say that the game is bad, because when the controls work right the game is fantastic. I never felt the extreme floating in the jumps like I have with Little Big Planet or newer Mario games.
Since there isn’t much of a story, it’s review is included inside of gameplay for the sole reason that there really isn’t a story. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. Truth be told, the lack of story allows seamless co-op experiences that aren’t hampered by story. How many times in the past have you joined a co-op game with a friend only to be lost or confused as to what is going on in the game because you haven’t been following the story? This often happens in modern games, since the host plays their story and you join in rather than the game just going to the start of the campaign. This is also avoided in this game from not only a lack of story, but also since it only allows local co-op. And here’s my gripe, why would you have local co-op but not online co-op? Wouldn’t you want to play online with your friends? Most people would, but it also allows for that fun “in-the-same-room” co-op.
The co-op modes work great as well. If you’ve ever played New Super Mario Bros. Wii you’ll notice that the game plays very similar. When you get hurt or die you bubble, or you can bubble when you’re stuck allowing your friend to get through sticky situations. Once your partner reaches you they simply smack your bubble and you’re back in the game. This comes particularly useful during chase levels since you’re required to go as fast as you can to reach the end and to keep up with the treasure chest. One of you will often get stuck, so just allow yourself to bubble and float back in front of your friends so they can bring you back.
While many aspects of Rayman: Origins is lacking, the overall product is superb. Some my gripe that the lack of a true story detracts from what made Rayman fun. Even though many would argue that the older Rayman games didn’t have a true story, this game only hints slightly at any form of story. You don’t know why you’re looking for these chest to open, or why you’re returning teeth to this weird looking toothless man. A lot of this game feels like you’re just platforming for fun. Which isn’t bad. It’s an excellent game to pick up and play with friends (that is if your friends come over to your house or you go to theirs). It’s also one of the best platform games of this generation with a lot of replay value since each level can be played in normal or speed mode, and with friends or without. Given the replayability, the tight controls, the enjoyable art style and quality of this game, plus the low price point at which you can buy (New prices have been running about $29.99 or as low as $19.99) make this game a must have. If you liked the old Rayman games, you’ll love this one. I’m giving it an 9 out of 10.
- Gameplay- Enjoyable with friends or alone, lacks story but doesn’t need one.
- Controls- Tight, some input lag but won’t kill enjoyment.
- Graphics- Very artsy but enjoyable. Excellent design quality.
- Overall- Fun 4 player Co-op or Single Player experience, excellent controls for a simple yet challenging game.