29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
The Best Game No One Played,
This review is from: Rayman Origins (Video Game)
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.