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4.7 out of 5 stars
Rayman Origins
Platform for Display: PlayStation 3Edition: StandardChange
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63 of 69 people found the following review helpful
Platform for Display: PlayStation 3Edition: Standard
I'll start this review with some full disclosure: This review is long and gushing, but please, allow me to indulge my heartfelt desire to give this game the praise it deserves. Rayman Origins is, hands down, one of the biggest surprises in high quality gaming excellence I have seen in my life (much of which I have spent playing games), and definitely the biggest surprise this year. This game is special, and for so many reasons too. I've been a huge fan of Rayman for 15 years now, since his first outing on the original Playstation, to his stellar masterpiece Rayman 2 and beyond. For the past few years, however, Rayman has been on life support, barely eking out an existence through hideously lazy rereleases/ports of past glories, and as an afterthought inclusion with spotlight stealing Rabbids. Now though, the hero of light is back, this time with friends(!), by going way back to the beginning, and what a ride it is!

The story in Rayman Origin is as silly, perhaps even more, as we've ever seen from the series! You see, Rayman and his friends tend to make a lot of noise when they nap and laze around, to the point of creating snooze symphonies. This proves to be really bothersome to the old grannie who is boss of the land of the livid dead, a dark and dreary realm near the glade of dreams. Finally she has enough of her noisy neighbors and launches a full scale "darktoon" invasion of Rayman's homeland, and Rayman & co. are more than happy to oblige her desire to duke it out! Hence starts Rayman Origins' platforming euphoria.

First off, the art design in this game is outstanding. The environments are beautifully, fantastically dreamlike. Some places are majestic to the point of being downright breathtaking. Rayman has always been a series characterized by whimsy, goofiness, and imagination that is gorgeous and this game does not disappoint in the least. The character models and animation are equally charming. Watching it all reminded me so much of classical cartoon animation that feels fluid and spontaneously fun, playful, and adventurous. It also hearkens back to a time when animation followed a very important rule: the drawings must be funny. Yes, eyes pop out from the head, faces completely contort when characters are injured, enemies turn into big bubbles when defeated (and eventually pop like over-inflated whoopy cushions), the charm here is off the charts, and wholly appropriate for any age. This game is both beautiful and so very endearing, and the art design helps that immensely. I'll never get over seeing a tiny mosquito carrying the big, fat Globox who is the pellet shooter instead of the mosquito, or him flapping his arms like a chicken to stay afloat. Hilarious. Rayman and the teensies, as well as all of the supporting, non-playable characters (the nymph fairies especially, lol) are equally silly and joyous to behold.

The sound design cannot go unmentioned either. The music is both whimsical and eclectic, while still adding in that laugh-inducing humor. Little "Alvin and the chipmunk" voices lend their singing talent to the background music, and it is so very funny. You'll find little touches like these all over the game, and it's awesome. When characters speak, they speak in that immediately recognizable pig latinish "Rayman gibberish." As with the art design, humor is everywhere in the audio as well, be in it music or sound effects.

I'd say the most surprising thing about this game is how incredibly solid the platforming is. The original 2-D Rayman had a lot of charm, but the gameplay was definitely the aspect most lacking, but here? This is undoubtedly the best gameplay of any Rayman game. Rayman and his friends learn new abilities as you progress, at a perfect pace I might add, and each of these abilities adds so much dimension to the traditional run-n-jump 2-D platforming genre. The control mechanics are really tight, as good as any 2-D platformer starring a chubby Italian plumber or a famous hairy ape with a necktie, and that is high praise indeed. You'll also be breaking cages to free the poor electoons and nymphs from captivity to progress through the various worlds you visit. The level layouts are outstanding, and playing this game just feels really good. It's also deliciously challenging in parts, but not to the point where it angers or frustrates you beyond the limit. Check points are frequent and there is an unlimited amount of lives to burn through (or "bubbalize," to be more accurate), and that also alleviates a lot of frustration you feel from dying a lot. Plus, even when the game is very difficult, it's so smile-inducing you won't care about dying for the tenth time trying to get past a tough spot. It's one thing for a game to be entertaining, but at the end of the day, if the gameplay isn't good, the whimsy and imagination matters very little. Thankfully Rayman is worth its weight in gold, and then some.

I also have to add that the co-op in this game is exceptional. Its silly craziness definitely compliments everything else in the game. My wife and I have had an absolute blast playing this together, and any game that my wife and I bond over gets extra points in my book. I can't even imagine how fun and crazy 4-player co-op would be! The ability to choose who you want to play as is a nice touch too, as there are tons of unlockable skins and characters in this game as you progress.

One more thing I must touch on is the value. Most games like this get the condescending remark, "should've been a downloadable title." Well, I can honestly tell you that this game is HUGE. I played quite a bit and figured I was nearing the end of the game, fairly satisfied with the length. Then, I found out that I was only HALFWAY through the game, with much, much more challenging levels awaiting me in the second half. When you consider there are major incentives to come back and see it all for completionists, this game is well worth the money it costs.

As a series, the Rayman games have always been known for their whimsical imagination, beautiful art design, silly stories, lovely humor, and an overall saturation of pleasant FUN. Rayman Origins has all of these in spades and much, much more. I think I may have found my new favorite Rayman game here, and to take Rayman 2's place in that way is no small feat to me. I don't think there's anyone on earth with a working, functional heart that won't have it captivated in some capacity by this game. It is one of the best games of the year. In every way and at all times, this game always focuses on you having fun, and it succeeds in that endeavor. Rayman Origins isn't just the triumphant return of one of video gaming's most beloved characters, it is a celebration of the very spirit of gaming and as such, it is everything a video game should be. Buy this game, have fun, and get lost in the joyous experience Rayman Origins has to offer.

*Update 3/17/15*

Well, here we are, years after Rayman Origins exploded onto the scene and shocked everyone by almost single-handedly defining modern 2-D platforming. Its stellar sequel Rayman Legends, which is even better as far as I'm concerned, as come and gone, but I think Origins is the more significant game. After all, this is where Rayman's ascension to new relevancy all started. If you had told me years ago that Rayman, who in 2011 had been barely eking out an existence on life support and good memories, would be the king of 2-D platformers, I would have laughed in your face. Yet, here we are. It's been a few years since I last played RO, but I started playing again recently just to rekindle good memories. Overall, I'm shocked at how well this game has aged. It's just as fun to play now as it was upon release. It truly is a living testament to the fact that games whose presentation is centered around beautiful, imaginative art design rather than pushing photo-realism, age wonderfully. In all honesty, this game looks gorgeous compared to games being released today. Its beautiful visuals and high quality animation is enough to impress by 2015 game standards, and I truly believe this will be the case for years if not forever. It makes other games released in 2011 look downright prehistoric by comparison. The gameplay holds up extremely well too. As a matter of fact, I had SO much fun playing RO recently that I finally obtained the Platinum Trophy for it. Only the funnest, most engaging games can hold my attention and elicit that level of dedication from me. So if you're reading this little update and are wondering if Rayman Origins is still worth getting, I say unto thee, yes, it most absolutely is worth it. You owe it to yourself to play a game as joyously charming and incredibly fun as this. Get it now. You will not regret it. Thank you for reading. Take care.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 28, 2011
Platform for Display: PlayStation 3Edition: Standard
Every year there are always good games that come out and that get swept under the rug for one reason or another. They go by being missed by gamers who will only hear about them later on down the line. Rayman Origins is one of those games. It is a game that executes everything well. It's a tightly put together package that's fun and rewarding based entirely on the merits of gameplay. For those who enjoyed the platforming games such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario Brothers... Rayman Origins is a must play game. It is by far one of the most encompassing 2D side scrollers you'll ever play.

As you can imagine there's pretty much no plot to Rayman Origins. And beyond that, Origins isn't really about any origin whatsoever. Rather the "origin" refers to how Rayman used to be. A 2D Side Scrolling Platformer. In other words, Rayman gets back to its roots. There are no raving rabbids here. Just pure amazing level design. The game is incredibly simple in its mechanics and that's part of what really makes it work. Just about anyone can pick up the game and learn the basics of the mechanics. Mastering the game, however, is another story entirely.

The game begins simple. The first level is inviting. And when you first begin you'll soon earn the ability to punch before later on getting other abilities such as the ability to fly or shrink later on. The game paces itself well by holding back on most of your abilities. Only giving them to you when you rescue certain characters. And mostly making sure you utilize them well in the environment they introduce them in. The learning curve in Rayman is almost non-existent. You'll slip right into the game real easy and the game gives you ample time to practice your new abilities. There are four different characters to choose from, but choosing one over another doesn't really make much of a difference. Rather, there seem to be four mainly to bring out the multiplayer. You and three of your friends can hop on at the same time and it can be quite fun to do so... or frustrating depending on how you play. Like LittleBigPlanet and New Super Mario Bros., less is more when it comes to conquering the campaign. Your friends can easily mess you up or something, but it's actually not too menacing, given that it does allow for more risks when there are four instead of one. A character can make a sacrifice for rare items. Or you can tag in other characters when you need to.

It's a good thing that Rayman Origins doesn't punish the player when things are grim, however. The game is challenging. It begins quite simple enough, but before you know it the game ramps up in difficulty rather fast. You won't even be halfway through before you realize just what's being thrown at you in each level. And some are going to require some good pattern recognition or some trial and error to get down just right. Regardless of this, however, you rarely feel like the game is being unfair. Most enemies are easy to take out. It's not the enemies that'll be a problem, however, it'll mostly boil down to the environmental hazards mixed in with the well tuned level designs. Each failure doesn't really feel like failure either, because the game isn't out to punish you. There are a decent amount of checkpoints scattered throughout, and there isn't a limit to how many times you can fail.

This is also good because Rayman Origins has A LOT of levels to traverse. It's about as robust as a 2D platformer can get. Each level ends when you rescue a bunch critters (called Electoons) but the game demands replay because you'll be tallied up at the end of the level. Rescuing Electoons isn't just how you complete stages, it's how you unlock more. And if you manage to go through a level collecting all the "Lums" (basically coins) then you'll rescue more Electoons. There are also cages of captured Electoons hidden in every level. If you want to master Rayman Origins and explore everything it has to offer, you'll need to find them all. And this is going to require replaying some levels over and over again. Sometimes with a friend.

Perhaps the most rewarding thing about Rayman Origins is by far it's presentation. The game has an incredible sense of humor and some great tunes. The introduction is funny, and so are some of the levels (who would've thought using weenies as platforms wouldn't be such a bad idea?). But perhaps where the presentation shines most is in the graphical and aesthetic capacity. This is where Rayman truly comes alive. The graphics opt for style more so than anything. Certainly Rayman Origins fails to live up to the photorealistic quality of other games such as Uncharted 3 or Gears of War. But what makes this game so important is that it showcases that style is just as important as the actual graphical output. Rayman Origins doesn't have a lot of POWER behind it, but it has a visual flair that you just don't see too much in games these days. The aesthetics are what make Rayman Origins so easy on the eyes. The environments are just amazing looking. And this is because Rayman Origins has character. And art design that helps separate the game from everything else out there. A lot of games look pretty based on the actual power behind them, but it's nice to see a game that treats its visuals as though they were on a canvas for an artist to paint. It goes beyond being something shiny and something that actually exemplifies what gaming can do when developers try a stylistic approach rather than just an all out powerful one. Every frame of Rayman Origins is brimming with visual flair and style. It is easily one of the prettiest games I've ever seen. The fact that it plays well makes it that much more rewarding. At some point when playing through the levels the design just clicks and everything flows well.

This, of course, brings about the issue some gamers have with the game. Rayman Origins is a totally 2D side scroller. All the way down to the last pixel. The graphical power that the game DOESN'T have has caused some gamers to wonder if sixty dollars is really worth it. This is actually much more dependent on how much gameplay you want. Rayman Origins offers a surprisingly large amount of gameplay and depth. It'll take you a while to do everything the game asks of you. Primarily because in order to do it, you'll need to play through it a second time.

If anything, the quality of the game speaks volumes. The levels are incredible, it's a great looking game and it can be enjoyed with friends. It's a game that doesn't throw in too much and manages to hit a sweet spot because of how it is stylistically constructed. It's easy to think that EVERY game has to innovate in some ways, but gaming has come to a point where we no longer needs to try so hard to be good. Sometimes mastering the techniques we've learned through the years is better than coming up with a new thing that fails. It's the execution that makes the game work so well, not the standalone mechanics themselves. Rayman Origins will surely be an underplayed game... but it most certainly won't be under appreciated.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2011
Platform for Display: PlayStation 3Edition: Standard
The art, the music, the core gameplay, and the level design in this game deserve recognition and applause! Me and my friends were playing this game together and we were always laughing! We enjoyed this game so much! I originally rented this game from Gamefly now I decided to own this game just to give my contribution to the studio. I feel like I haven't enjoyed a coop game like this for a long time! This is not those split screen coop experience you have in call of duty games, instead, this game provides the pure old school fun time when you have a friend over playing a game together and laughing.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2012
Platform for Display: PlayStation 3Edition: Standard
First off, I never write reviews. This game is so awesome and so under appreciated that I feel COMPELLED to write my thoughts on this game. It's a mixture of all the best elements of 2D Super Mario Bros (small part of Sonic), mixed in with stunning HD graphics.

GAMEPLAY
It's a pretty simple concept ... Jump, Hit, and run. The first few levels are warm ups and ease you into the movements. After that the difficulty starts to ramp up quickly and you find yourself replaying spots a few times. Whenever you die, though, you don't really feel like you lost because the level replay is really high. There's also a lot of level secrets which is really fun to find and discover.

MULTIPLAYER CO-OP
Incredibly fun experience!!! First thing that happens is all your friends say "what a weird game" soon to be followed up with "I think this is my favorite game of all time" ... Very hard to put down when you have 4 people jumping and bashing through levels.

SOUND AND MUSIC
Fun, quirky, energetic, well fitting, and at times stunning! The music score is incredibly well produced and a lot of the SFX match pitch and harmony to the score (I enjoy a lot since I'm a music producer)

GRAPHICS
All the animations are super fluid. Graphics are super HD quality (vibrant, beautiful, etc). Is the game 3D? Nope. I can assuredly say that this game would not be as cool looking if it was in 3D. The 2D sprite graphics have a certain appeal that can't be replicated in 3D because all the art is hand drawn! Don't hate on the 2D!

REPLAY VALUE
Very high. Replay with friends. Replay to find secrets. It's a blast.

THE BAD
We'll have to wait another 5 years or so for another Rayman because of the attention to detail!!! :(

MY BACKGROUND
I'm in my late 20s. I play most of the genres of games. I play COD:MW3, Mortal Kombat, Halo, Resistance, Uncharted, etc and I'll play coop Rayman just as much as COD or Resistance.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Get this game. You will not be disappointed.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2011
Platform for Display: PlayStation 3Edition: StandardVerified Purchase
What I've missed the most since the 16-bit era were enjoyable fun little games that didn't try too hard to be mature. Books and movies provide all the entertainment outlets I need for serious subjects, and they do it better as well. Video games should be pick-up-and-play and fun for all. Rayman Origins does an exemplary job in being all that's right about gaming. I won't rehash what other great reviews have already stated about this game, the bottom line is that it's a perfect platforming experience without any flaws, whatsoever. I would highly suggest this for PS3 and 360 owners who don't dabble in classic games or other downloadable games as there are very few full retail games like it on these 2 systems. I always thought that Nintendo continues to do well because they welcome the fun and whimsical themed games, but if the PS3/360 audience can likewise welcome these kinds of games, all the better.
The only note for people: This game is not easy at all, I got stuck for quite a while on just the third world, but for some reason I never felt bored on being stuck, it's a very addicting game that rewards good skills.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2011
Platform for Display: PlayStation 3Edition: Standard
When was the last time you played a game that was so fun it was hard to put down? If it's been a while then you might want to give Rayman Origins a try. For me this game brings back a lot of fond memories of a time when side-scrolling games ruled the consoles and controls were not overly complicated. At the same time though, this game has a pretty good amount of depth.

Upon initially looking at the cover art it might be easy to dismiss this game thinking it's just cartoony and only kids would enjoy it, but there's a lot going on here! Rayman Origins has very beautiful graphics throughout. The art and level concepts really kept me wanting to see what was next. Each level brings something new and sometimes hilarious. Another standout feature of this game is how perfectly the music and sound effects match Rayman and his lovable team. Thankfully there are some challenging levels that test your'e ability and timing when it comes to running, jumping, floating and the occasional puzzle. The co-op feature is a blast and perfect for playing with my nine year old. Being able to drop in and out of the game without having to quit and go back to the main title screen really helps the experience.

Having never played a Rayman game before I was a little hesitant to spend $49 on it. Especially this year when there has been a major game release almost every couple of weeks. I'm really glad I bought this game. Playing through the tons of levels has brought back my appreciation for games that do everything right. If you're looking for a fun game at the perfect price then you won't get much more value for your money than with Rayman Origins. 5/5
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2011
Platform for Display: PlayStation 3Edition: StandardVerified Purchase
Easily the best platformer ive played since the first Mario Galaxy. Rayman Origins borrows some from New Super Mario Bros. Wii but manages to out perform its inpiration. Whether playing single player or Multi player this game is an absolute blast that will keep you smiling from start to finish.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2011
Platform for Display: PlayStation 3Edition: Standard
I loved Rayman 1. I played it to death on PC when I was younger. Since then, I feel that Rayman had lost its true form. Not here. This game is a return to the best parts of Rayman and I highly recommend it for everyone who loves true platformers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2011
Platform for Display: PlayStation 3Edition: Standard
I don't know what else I can say about this game that hasn't been said. I particularly like that my 5 year old son and I can both play this game and seem to enjoy it in the same way. There aren't too many games now that are appropriate enough for my 5 year old, yet engaging enough for me to enjoy also. Since we just started this game, I don't know how my son will fare at the tougher levels but so far we both enjoy it. Along with Skylanders, this is a must buy for adult/child co-op fun!!

Now, I have to hear from my wife how I'm turning my kid into a video game addict like myself :)
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Platform for Display: PlayStation 3Edition: StandardVerified Purchase
Rayman Origins defines everything that makes platforming games so great. A tried and true 2-D side-scrolling adventure, you play as either Rayman or his pals and traverse multiple stages; pouncing on enemies, avoiding various spiky hazards, and saving nymphs and assorted creatures along the way. What makes Rayman Origins so enjoyable is that this is practically flawless platforming action. Granted there are moments of annoying pitfalls that can usually be found in any platformer, but these are few are far between. Combine that with the spectacular art design and graphics of the game, along with the catchy soundtrack and some hefty replayability as well, Rayman Origins is simply divine. All in all, longtime fans of the Rayman franchise, or platforming in general, should definitely pick up Rayman Origins; you won't regret it one bit.
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