Rayman: Origins Review

Posted: January 9, 2012 by Tony Polanco in REVIEWS

Rayman: Origins may just be the most overlooked game of 2011.  The game came out in the same season as Uncharted 3, Batman: Arkham City and yes, even on the same day as fellow Ubisoft game, Assassin’s creed: Revelations.  It’s no wonder that a lot of people skipped over the title.  I’m guilty of this as well, seeing as how I’m just now, in early 2012 finally playing and reviewing the game.  It’s a shame because Rayman: Origins is one of the most fun and wildly imaginative games out there and holds the banner high for 2d platformers.

Rayman: Origins is aptly titled as it takes the series back to it’s 2d, side scrolling roots.  The 3d Rayman games were fantastic and helped shape what would become 3d gaming but it’s great to have the limbless wonder back in the dimension that birthed him.  It may be a return to form for the character but since there are next to no AAA platforming games being released anymore, Rayman: Origins in some ways is a rare commodity with only Super Mario 3D Land being the other high profile platforming game I can think of that came out recently.  Yes, there are a ton of other side scrolling games available to download but none of them match the scale, scope and polish that Rayman: Origins has.

If you’ve played 2d platforming games then you’ll know what to expect here.  A lot of running and jumping and enemy bashing.  The basic mechanics are familiar but this is a game made by the French so there is always a quirky twist to everything.  I mean, look at Rayman…THE DUDE HAS NO LIMBS!  The most notable addition to the game is the up to four player co-op.  There are a lot of zany characters to choose from so you don’t have to worry about a screen full of…Raymen.  Playing the game with friends is extremely enjoyable and all but the problem is that unless you physically have people over to play, you’ll be gaming solo as there is no online functionality.  The game becomes extremely hard in the latter stages so it would have been nice to have had the ability to go online and get help from friends.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a fan of flash animation but the way that it’s presented in Origins makes me have to reconsider my position.  This may sound like an exaggeration but Rayman: Origins might just be the best looking side scroller in history.  Every world is vibrant, highly detailed and pops out of the screen.  From lush jungles, icy glaciers (which are actually chunks of ice on top of a giant fruit drink!), geography made of musical instruments and underwater caverns, the worlds of Rayman: Origins come alive in ways that even those of games with higher visual fidelity don’t.  The game is a true feast for the eyes.

Music is a big part of what makes Rayman: Origins so distinct and (along with the graphics) help give the game its unique charm.  A lot of the music is sung by the “electoons” that Rayman has to save and when the little guys start belting out their nonsensical gibberish, you’ll be rolling on the floor.  Nearly everything you touch creates sound or music as well.  The musical styles are all over the place.  From cartoonish jingles, latin flavored melodies and jazzy compositions, the music is just as adventurous as the visuals and is one of the most fun soundtracks out there.

Like any good platformer, Rayman: Origins has a TON of stuff to collect.  Each world has electoons that need rescuing and you can only do this by collecting all or most of a level’s Lums and finding hidden doorways that lead to captured electoons.  There are also skull teeth to nab and once you get all 10, you unlock a hidden level with a nasty boss creature waiting for you.  The game is pretty tough so it will take some effort to collect everything in any given world.  The replay value is through the roof and you’ll be spending a good deal of time playing and replaying worlds to snatch up everything.

Rayman: Origins is one of the best 2d platformers to be released in years.  The art design, soundtrack and mechanics make for one hell of an enjoyable experience.  In a gaming landscape dominated by first person shooters, sports games and mmos, Rayman: Origins is a breath of fresh air and represents gaming bliss in its purest form.

Liked

  • Highly imaginative and cleverly designed worlds
  • Music that is laugh out loud funny
  • Eye pleasing art design
  • Varied gameplay mechanics

Disliked

  • Very rarely, the controls would be unresponsive (which lead to some annoying deaths)

Rayman: Origins was developed and published by Ubisoft Entertainment. It was released on the Playstation 3, Wii, Xbox 360 and is available now for $59.99. The Playstation 3 version was played for this review.

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