Rayman Origins

9.5 Overall Score

Gorgeous animated visuals | Plenty of replay value | Great classic gameplay

No multiplayer on the Vita

Written by on March 26, 2012 in [, , , , , ]

Y’know, I feel kind of bad for Rayman. Once the mascot for Ubisoft, the limbless hero has since been overshadowed by the likes of Assassin’s Creed, Just Dance, and anything with the words “Tom Clancy” attached. Heck, Rayman was even forced to take a back seat to his supporting cast in the Rayman Raving Rabbids series, despite his name being right there in the title. That all changed late last year when Rayman and his buddies stole the spotlight in Rayman Origins on the Wii, PS3, and 360. Now, Rayman is taking the show on the road with the release of Rayman Origins on the PlayStation Vita.

In case you missed it the first time around, the story begins with Rayman and his co-horts (excluding a certain group of lunatic lapin) chilling out on the Snoring Tree in the Glade of Dreams. With a name like “The Snoring Tree”, it’s a safe bet that relaxing here isn’t exactly a quiet undertaking. In fact, it’s loud enough to raise the dead … or at least to raise the ire of a cranky old crone from the Land of the Livid Dead. Granny gets her revenge by sending out an army of Darktoons to steal the Electoons that inhabit the world, imprisoning Betilla the Nymph and her sisters, driving the Bubble Dreamer just a wee bit north of insane, and locking our heroes away for good measure. If none of that made sense to you, then you’ve obviously never played a Rayman game before. Then again, maybe you have. The quirkiness of the Rayman stories has always left even the most diehard fans scratching their heads. But that doesn’t stop it from being a blast.

Rayman Origins isn’t a prequel, despite what the title would suggest. Instead, the “Origins” part of the title refers to Rayman’s return to his 2D platforming roots. And I’ve got to admit that I, for now, am glad he did. Rayman Origins is about as perfect a platformer as you can get, and easily the best this generation of consoles has to offer. I haven’t played a 2D platform game this much fun since a certain plumber grew a raccoon tail and took flight in Super Mario Bros. 3 for the NES. Of course even on his best day, Mario never looked this good. Thanks to Ubisoft’s new UbiArt Framework, Rayman Origins looks less like a video game and more like a Disney-esque animated film. Between the vibrant, colorful stages and the characters’ distinct personalities, there’s enough eye candy here to give your pupils cavities.

Now, if you’ve played Rayman Origins on the home consoles before this, you’re going to notice a few big changes in the Vita version. The first (and most disappointing) is the omission of the fun four-player simultaneous multiplayer found in the console versions. In fact, there’s no multiplayer at all in the Vita version of the game. Ubisoft tried to make up for this by tossing in timed ghost challenges which pit you against your best runs or against other players’ ghosts picked up via Near. Still, it’s not the same as the all out free for all multiplayer on the home versions. On the upside, though, the visuals don’t miss a step making the leap to the handheld, and players can even use the Vita touchscreen to zoom in and out of the action at any time, taking in the game in all its HD glory. There’s also extra little goodies that can be traded with players via Near, and brand new collectible “relics” to search out in each stage.

Despite losing its multiplayer in the move to the Vita, Rayman Origins is still a phenomenal experience and a must have for Sony’s handheld. With so many unlockable goodies, huge boss fights, hidden extras, the game is one you’ll have a hard time not coming back to. Plus, the fact that it all comes wrapped in a gorgeously animated cartoon package makes it all the better. Rayman Origins is a true piece of interactive art, and thanks to the Vita, it’s one you never have to leave at home.


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Author: David Chapman View all posts by

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