Rayman Origins (PS3)
Also available on Xbox 360, Wii, PSV, 3DS
Release November 15th 2011
Rayman Origins marks the return of one of the most recognisable platform game heroes. This game takes platforming back to its early roots: a 2D side scroller with simple controls, colourful backdrops and fun characters suitable for all the family.
If you used to love Sonic on the Megadrive or Mario on the Super Nintendo, or even the original Rayman games, then this is for you. Ignoring all the ideas of improving graphics, deepening story and complicating gameplay, Rayman Origins goes back to a simpler time, where plot was not important and the enjoyment came from the fun and the challenge.
It is quite a gamble to go in the opposite direction but this move into simplicity has worked well. The game is thoroughly enjoyable and performs well at all the staple platform ingredients.
Rayman must run, jump and fight his way through numerous levels and stages in order to rescue small creatures called Electoons and fairy like Nymphs. In his way are obstacles, enemies, bosses and challenges to overcome as his completes his adventure.
But he is not alone… or at least he does not have to be. Up to 3 friends can jump in and play as either Globox or one of two Teensie wizards. The choice of creating a four player game is just one of the improvements that Ubisoft have made on the old platform genre. Though the graphics are 2D, they are no less attractive and the soundtrack is a lot of fun.
You will have to master a number of skills to progress through the game including combat, jumping, sprinting, swimming, gliding, wall climbing and riding a friendly mosquito. The game has plenty of secrets to discover and unlock, mainly through rescuing the trapped friends. Electoons will open up new areas and levels, while Nymphs provide you with new abilities. Electoons can be saved in a number of ways, either by completing challenges or finding them under lock and key in levels. Nymphs are usually held captive by enemies that you must chase down and defeat.
The learning curve is steady as challenges begin to revolve around recently gained abilities and moves. Even if players have some difficulty, there are regular checkpoints and no limit on lives so there is no fear of a dreaded ‘Game Over’ screen. Once players become more confident they can take on more challenges and gain hidden treasures or complete time trials.
The game has plenty of fan service for older players who enjoyed the original games and treats the franchise with a huge amount of respect.
Rayman Origins proves that gameplay is more important than graphics in a good game and that sometimes less is more. The only real letdown is that the game does not bring anything new to the table. This is platforming at a pure level. It takes no risks but it does everything we expect perfectly.