Published on February 5th, 2013 | by Mitch Concannon
Limbless Fun | Rayman Origins Review
Summary: Rayman Origins is the game that fans of the series have been crying out for. It has some of the best platforming sequences of any game in the genre. I would highly recommend if you get a chance to pick this game up, jump on it.
Entry level is now. I say that as a person who hasn’t played a Rayman game, and if you were ever thinking about trying out the franchise, Rayman Origins is the perfect point of entry for players. To go back and play the original titles wouldn’t bring as much appreciation for the series unless you go through this one first.
There have been major improvements in the mechanics over the past few years. A lot of love was put into this game, making it the realized vision that most developers try to follow, but along the way fall over board. The guys over at Ubisoft Montpelier captured this vision perfectly from beginning to end. Enough of my ramblings; let me get down to the main point why your here.
Don’t go in expecting an in depth story from Rayman Origins. The game sets itself up with Rayman and his friends asleep on whats known as the Snoring Tree, which will be made abundantly clear why as soon as you begin the game. While you are asleep, a cast of livid dead characters, which stretch down the bottom of the tree, cannot stand the snores of your quirky crew any longer and set about capturing you and your group of well wishers.
The livid dead have gone through each level capturing the Electoons that you would recognize from previous Rayman titles, imprisoning Betilla the Nymph and her sisters, and plaguing the Glade into chaos with terror. Rayman sets out to rescue the Nymphs and along the way, restoring The Glade Of Dreams to its original state.
Once free, the game begins and has you progressing through the Glade Of Dreams. There is a nicely laid out level select screen that shows off which areas you have completed, along with which ones you have completed 100% of all the side missions and challenging time trial missions – which add great replay value. Each area has one level where you free one of the nymph’s that grants you new powers that will help you progress through the levels.
Rayman is a platformer at heart, with side scrolling shooting levels on the back of a pink Miskito that are challenging and a rewarding distraction. Also, on a personal note, I dislike games that add in water levels and can’t make them fun, but I feel Rayman has tackled my fear of this and restored my faith in these mechanics working in other games, but I won’t hold my breath on that one for too long.
Rayman has set a new bar in 2D platforming. Off the bat you will gain access to your super dash ability that you will probably never take your finger off of, unless you are trying to grab a gold coin or find the hidden areas that contain one of the many captured Lum cages throughout the game’s story. The game runs perfectly and never suffers from realizing whats going on onscreen.
Everything is great, right down to the boss fights you encounter. Most of these are not about fighting them head on, but more about trying to solve the puzzle around how best to attack without being hit. You will find yourself dying over and over in some of these levels, but I will say that they don’t ever feel like cheap deaths. You learn from what you did wrong and that’s the best method in punishment for dying.
The game is meant to be replayed. The added bonus of finding all the Electroon cages, down to the speed trials that will have you in awe and tears as you progress further into the game. I will say, once you complete a time trial level that you had to retry over ten times, you will stand up and feel like a boss. Even the speed stages that have you chasing down a treasure chest with legs to gain one of the ten ruby teeth which grants access to The Land Of The Livid Dead are fun, and at the same time punishing. You will convince yourself that they are impossible, but just keep trying. I know they’re not since I went out of my way to Platinum this on the PS3 version and Vita versions of Rayman Origins.
Stunning is one of the many ways I can describe how this game looks. Everything from the title screen’s crazy animations, down to the level select area that gives you full control of Rayman to sprint around and select what stage you want to run through. There is no point that you can say that the creators sacrificed any of the quality for performance. Perhaps this is the advantage in creating artistic driven game like Rayman Origins; experimentation can go beyond its limits and still end up becoming something that offers the same amount of awe effect on par with most of the CGI games out there.
If we were to talk about the worlds in the game, you could see why I would say that each one has its own theme and doesn’t seem repetitive in comparison to the others in the world stages. From dashing across a crazy Mexican kitchen with death defying flying forks, to steaming hot hob plates that will burn you to a crisp when touched. It has its own unique look which is on display from the game menus to one of the underwater levels that has you swimming to great depths in search of that Electroon cage to release your buddies to continue story progression.
The look of the game also adds a great deal of humor. The quirky animations of enemies as you bash your way through them will add a nice smile to your face without you even realizing it. My roommate said to me that I never looked so calm and happy while playing a game before. If you have, or get the opportunity to play Rayman on a nice HD TV, I would say to jump at the opportunity. The game runs in full 1080p HD at 60 frames per second on its own in house engine. This game’s visuals are so distractingly beautiful that you’ll find yourself wanting to take it all in no matter how fast you are dashing through a level.
The game wastes no time in getting you started. Once the short opening cut-scene ends, you are already off and dashing through the first stage in chase of one of Betilla’s sisters. She grants you the ‘punch ability’ that you use for most of the level thereafter and it;s best that you get well acquainted with it. Every world gives you something new to your arsenal so when you are nearing the end, you’ll find yourself using everyone of them to get through each stage. This is what every game should have you doing, not just giving you something for the sake of it.
The game is intended to be playable for all ages and in my opinion, is enjoyable for all ages. It may not gain the following as Mario has for its platforming, but it is still well worth your time to dive into if you are starving for another fun platforming experience. Perhaps you will find yourself anticipating a new game in this series even more than a Mario Brothers game. I can honestly say I am.
I am a firm believer in progression and creating something new. The ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it’ strategy has to change if the gaming universe has any hope in establishing itself in the future, and that’s what the team over at Ubisoft Montpelier have done and should be very proud about.
I couldn’t be more pleased with the sound in Rayman. Of note are the chase scenes in the game which bump up the tempo and helps you with the sudden reaction time that you need in order to be ready for what’s to come next. The music sets the pacing of the game perfectly and continues right through from beginning to end.
The man you can thank for this is Christophe Heral. He is the man responsible for creating some of the best music in many games. His score in Beyond Good And Evil was a hit and got featured at the Game Audio Network Guild awards in 2003, and it was featured in the Video Games Live music concert.
Many sites have given ‘Best Music Award of 2011′ to Rayman Origins. I’m sure if we were around during that period, BagoGames would have given it the same recognition, as it deserves it.
Rayman Origins is an amazing game from beginning to end. The studio did a great job capturing a new vision for the series, and has set a new bar for the platforming genre. Watch out for more Rayman Legends next year because I expect that a new vision will be realized when it releases on Nintendo’s new console the, Wii U.
Have you played Rayman Origins yet? What did you think of it? Let us know by leaving a comment in the comments section below.