Rayman Origins Xbox 360 Review
Publisher – Ubisoft – Developer - Ubisoft Montpellier– Genre – Platformer – Players – 1-4 – Age Rating – 7+ – Other console/handheld formats – PS3, Wii, 3DS, Vita
The late months of the year is not the time that you should release a game that you think is going to struggle at retail, but Ubisoft have done just that. Rayman Origins was supposed to be the triumphant return of the titular limbless hero to his platforming roots, and whilst it is exactly that, it was hardly going to sell huge amounts in the months that sees titles such as Call of Duty and Ubisoft’s own Assassin’s Creed take centre stage.
It’s a tragedy that the game hasn’t even managed to enter the top 40 UK all-format charts, because, as I’m about to tell you, Rayman Origins is simply a fantastic game, and one that deserves lots of love and attention. You could say it’s this year’s Enslaved: Journey to the West: comparable as it was cruelly pushed aside for the bigger games and put out in the marketplace at completely the wrong time.
But there’s no point brooding on such subjects, and with the amount of colour and happiness in Rayman Origins world, it’s something that’s almost impossible to do for very long at all when discussing the game. Not forgetting the fact that the review was close to turning into a frustrated rant. Time to move on, I think.
It’s silly to say that the first thing you’ll notice about the game are the visuals, as it is normally the case, although the visuals here are so outstandingly colourful and detailed that it seems to be screaming out at you for the attention of your eyeballs. Rayman Origins is a very vibrant and lively looking game, and definitely boasts the highest quality cartoon visuals in some time, if not ever. Everyone should really be shown videos of its gorgeousness, as they could quite easily be hypnotised into buying it. Better still, there’s a demo to do the job.
The music on the other hand is generally playful in its sound, and the singing Lums (fly-like creatures that make up some of the collectibles) will raise a smile on many a face. The sound certainly entirely fits with the rest of the game, which is as crazy as you’d expect with a limbless character as the lead.
Rayman Origin’s beauty is outstanding, but those that have longed for Rayman to jump from mini game collections back to his classic platforming origins will be glad to hear that this is a real platforming gem. More recent Rayman platform games may have been 3D, although Origins takes the series back to 2D, just as it was in the original game.
The colourful world of Rayman Origins can also be travelled locally with other players. Cooperatively (players can drop in or drop out at any time) the game can be played by up to four at once, and it’s with others where the game is at its best, and, in some respects, it feels like this is the way that the game was intended to be played. You can play as and unlock different characters, although the differences are cosmetic only, with all the characters sharing the same skills. You can knock each other about to reach higher places, and if you end up taking a hit, you’ll be inflated, in which other players then need to make contact with you to bring you back from your floating and bloated state.
As Rayman Origins can also be a game that really calls on your platforming abilities, cooperative is also where the game is less frustrating as you are essentially given two chances in each situation. Checkpoint placement is generally very fair, although, make no mistake about it, many will find themselves having to replay portions again and again, as this is still a tough game at times, and those who have been looking for a challenging platformer will find themselves in great company with Rayman Origins. But if you want that extra challenge, then you should definitely play it alone.
Other than the platforming, Rayman Origins also has sections that have you on the back of a mosquito (or the mosquito may be riding on your back, depending on which character you are playing as). These portions of the game are all about travelling from the left to the right of the screen and shooting your way through enemies. It’s a nice change from the platforming, and the occasional boss (hardly amongst the most memorable, it has to be said) also gives you something to do other than leaping from platforms.
As a game, Rayman Origins is certainly not about doing things differently – this is about as traditional as 2D platformers come, but it’s certainly welcome to play something so simple and delightful that harkens back to earlier days. The original plans were actually to release Rayman’s comeback game episodically on Xbox Live Arcade and PSN, although as a boxed 2D platformer, so, in one way, the game is actually quite a novelty in 2011.
But Ubisoft’s decision to release the game as a full boxed release is a good one, certainly in the amount of content that has been provided. Rayman Origins is a lengthy game, and perfecting everything could take you 15+ hours: there’s caged electoons to find (little purple creatures hidden away in secret rooms), Lums to collect that also contribute to unlocking more electoons at the end of a level, time trials an more. It’s very unlikely that you’ll do and collect everything on your first attempt across the 60 beautifully designed and attractive levels, so the game unarguably offers plenty of replay value if you decide to return to it.
Rayman Origins takes the character back to his early roots, and does so in a style and a fashion that makes it one of the finest games in the platforming genre. There’s colour, beauty, happiness, frustration and challenge to be found in one of the gaming highlights of 2011. It’s just a shame that it is a game that will be ignored and pushed aside by so many.