Experiencing the Myriad Delights of Rayman: Origins

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Posted by Alex (2405 posts) -

Rayman: Origins is kind of the best thing.

Okay, so that's an incredibly inarticulate way to state outright how much I dig a game, but when thinking back on my experience playing Rayman: Origins, articulation tends to give way to a thick, intoxicating brew of rainbows, funny sound effects, catchy music, and the infectious laughter of children. As psychotic as that might sound, I assure you, there were actual children around when I played the game. And they were laughing quite a bit.

Cooperation is the name of the game in Rayman: Origins. Also the name of the game? Rayman: Origins.

Ubisoft recently debuted the newly retail-bound version of Rayman: Origins (it was once meant to be episodically released via digital platforms) at its bonkers-as-hell E3 press conference, with series creator Michel Ancel demonstrating both the game's incredibly fetching art style and clever cooperative mechanics. I sadly missed the chance to go hands-on with the game at E3, but Ubisoft's recent press event in New York City thankfully helped me rectify that terrible oversight.

Right off the bat, Rayman: Origins grabs your eyeballs and screams, "LOOK AT ME." The visuals are an arresting combination of an incredibly sharp and colorful 2D art style with a fantastic animation system. The result is a game that looks like a fully interactive cartoon, and one with a thoroughly eclectic aesthetic. Evidently, four different art directors at Ubisoft contributed to elements of the game's overall art style. It shows as you play, with characters, environments, and bosses that all seem just a bit different from one another, but somehow still gel together seamlessly.

Much of that detail I admittedly only took in when watching others play the game, as the gameplay itself is far too engrossing to allow you to just sit there and stare at all the pretty little visual fluff. At its core, Rayman: Origins is a fairly standard 2D platformer, complete with all the usual traps, platforms, and enemies that description typically entails. However, when you get a couple of friends together for cooperative play (it supports up to four total), the experience morphs into something a great deal more exciting.

Cooperative platforming has been done before, but Rayman's take on it is so exquisitely paced and creatively designed that it somehow blends together into this feverish rush of jumping, stomping, punching and flinging that keeps you glued to the screen. It helps that the controls have a tight feel to them, ensuring you won't find yourself constantly missing jumps and ledges that you clearly shouldn't be. More importantly, the cooperative mode allows for plenty of challenging, yet exceptionally fun scenarios.

The game's art is simply gorgeous.

One key example was the brief "desert" level section I got to play. In this level, a huge horde of nasty bug/bat/things swarms around the periphery of the screen. In some sections, they'll dive in and kill you en masse, but not if you manage to ring a giant gong, of sorts, that releases a protective shield for a limited time. That shield can also extend to your character for a short period, allowing you to traverse beyond the gong's spot in the level and get to the next safe zone. The timing is, however, crackerjack, requiring your team to move quickly and avoid pitfalls with expert timing. It's challenging stuff, but not so much so that you'll feel too terribly frustrated. The game's checkpoint system seems fully capable of ensuring you don't repeat too much of the same stuff again and again, and if one or two of your teammates do die, they'll simply begin floating around the level in "bubble" form, waiting for you to run up and punch them to revive them.

Punching your teammates is a rather frequent occurrence. There's no particularly good reason for any of it, but if so inclined, you can screw with your friends as much as you please. Granted, you'll have to do it in the same room, as Rayman: Origins only supports local cooperative play. Still, this seems like a game well-suited to four people sitting in the same room, laughing, chiding, and congratulating one another.

I certainly did quite a bit of the above during my time with the game. While it remains to be seen how well the different worlds flow together, and exactly how much content the game will offer, Rayman is already impressive right from the first moment you get your hands on a controller. To say that Rayman: Origins should be on the radar of anyone looking for a silly, clever, and downright beautiful multiplayer experience this holiday season would be an understatement. It needs to be on your radar.

#1 Posted by Alex (2405 posts) -

Rayman: Origins is kind of the best thing.

Okay, so that's an incredibly inarticulate way to state outright how much I dig a game, but when thinking back on my experience playing Rayman: Origins, articulation tends to give way to a thick, intoxicating brew of rainbows, funny sound effects, catchy music, and the infectious laughter of children. As psychotic as that might sound, I assure you, there were actual children around when I played the game. And they were laughing quite a bit.

Cooperation is the name of the game in Rayman: Origins. Also the name of the game? Rayman: Origins.

Ubisoft recently debuted the newly retail-bound version of Rayman: Origins (it was once meant to be episodically released via digital platforms) at its bonkers-as-hell E3 press conference, with series creator Michel Ancel demonstrating both the game's incredibly fetching art style and clever cooperative mechanics. I sadly missed the chance to go hands-on with the game at E3, but Ubisoft's recent press event in New York City thankfully helped me rectify that terrible oversight.

Right off the bat, Rayman: Origins grabs your eyeballs and screams, "LOOK AT ME." The visuals are an arresting combination of an incredibly sharp and colorful 2D art style with a fantastic animation system. The result is a game that looks like a fully interactive cartoon, and one with a thoroughly eclectic aesthetic. Evidently, four different art directors at Ubisoft contributed to elements of the game's overall art style. It shows as you play, with characters, environments, and bosses that all seem just a bit different from one another, but somehow still gel together seamlessly.

Much of that detail I admittedly only took in when watching others play the game, as the gameplay itself is far too engrossing to allow you to just sit there and stare at all the pretty little visual fluff. At its core, Rayman: Origins is a fairly standard 2D platformer, complete with all the usual traps, platforms, and enemies that description typically entails. However, when you get a couple of friends together for cooperative play (it supports up to four total), the experience morphs into something a great deal more exciting.

Cooperative platforming has been done before, but Rayman's take on it is so exquisitely paced and creatively designed that it somehow blends together into this feverish rush of jumping, stomping, punching and flinging that keeps you glued to the screen. It helps that the controls have a tight feel to them, ensuring you won't find yourself constantly missing jumps and ledges that you clearly shouldn't be. More importantly, the cooperative mode allows for plenty of challenging, yet exceptionally fun scenarios.

The game's art is simply gorgeous.

One key example was the brief "desert" level section I got to play. In this level, a huge horde of nasty bug/bat/things swarms around the periphery of the screen. In some sections, they'll dive in and kill you en masse, but not if you manage to ring a giant gong, of sorts, that releases a protective shield for a limited time. That shield can also extend to your character for a short period, allowing you to traverse beyond the gong's spot in the level and get to the next safe zone. The timing is, however, crackerjack, requiring your team to move quickly and avoid pitfalls with expert timing. It's challenging stuff, but not so much so that you'll feel too terribly frustrated. The game's checkpoint system seems fully capable of ensuring you don't repeat too much of the same stuff again and again, and if one or two of your teammates do die, they'll simply begin floating around the level in "bubble" form, waiting for you to run up and punch them to revive them.

Punching your teammates is a rather frequent occurrence. There's no particularly good reason for any of it, but if so inclined, you can screw with your friends as much as you please. Granted, you'll have to do it in the same room, as Rayman: Origins only supports local cooperative play. Still, this seems like a game well-suited to four people sitting in the same room, laughing, chiding, and congratulating one another.

I certainly did quite a bit of the above during my time with the game. While it remains to be seen how well the different worlds flow together, and exactly how much content the game will offer, Rayman is already impressive right from the first moment you get your hands on a controller. To say that Rayman: Origins should be on the radar of anyone looking for a silly, clever, and downright beautiful multiplayer experience this holiday season would be an understatement. It needs to be on your radar.

#2 Posted by Little_Socrates (5718 posts) -

Couldn't be more excited for this game.

#3 Posted by WileyS (106 posts) -

Good to see Rayman Starring again.

#4 Posted by patman77 (20 posts) -

Pretty excited for this game

#5 Posted by bb4lake (16 posts) -

The aesthetics are really good. Kind of looks like a good Wii title (I mean that in a good way)

#6 Posted by MrKlorox (11209 posts) -

The art looks excellent. But the E3 stage demo looked bad. Is the game itself actually any good? Cause it didn't look like it.

#7 Posted by Winternet (8059 posts) -

This is looking to be pretty wild. Can't wait for it.

#8 Posted by RandomInternetUser (6789 posts) -

DIS GAME CRAZY.
 
Seriously though, it looks like some really good, crazy fun.

#9 Posted by IkariNoTekken (987 posts) -

Beautiful visuals. Looking forward to this. 

#10 Posted by SkinnyBlue (320 posts) -

Nice to see Rayman back in the spotlight again. He's been shunned for a while now.

#11 Posted by Superfriend (1587 posts) -
@MrKlorox said:

The art looks excellent. But the E3 stage demo looked bad. Is the game itself actually any good? Cause it didn't look like it.

What drugs are you on? If anything the stage demo showed that the game doesnt just look pretty. It looked like amazing fun.
You don´t like fun? Get out!
#12 Posted by MattBodega (1907 posts) -

Totally can't wait!

#13 Posted by animathias (1194 posts) -
@Superfriend said:
@MrKlorox said:

The art looks excellent. But the E3 stage demo looked bad. Is the game itself actually any good? Cause it didn't look like it.

What drugs are you on? If anything the stage demo showed that the game doesnt just look pretty. It looked like amazing fun. You don´t like fun? Get out!

Agreed, after reading Klorox's comment, I thought I missed something and went back to watch the E3 demo again, and I think it looks phenomenal, with the exceptions of early-build hiccups and such.

This just looks like fun.

#14 Posted by JacDG (2131 posts) -

Man, I loved the old Rayman (the first one), or at least I wanted to, but the difficulty in that game became too much in the end, so I really REALLY hope this is easier, I hope it's hard, but not as brutally as the first game.

#15 Posted by somethingdumb (115 posts) -

I hope this sells well on the 3DS. I have one and I don't want to see it die so soon.

#16 Posted by JimmyJackJones (81 posts) -

The co-op mechanics sound very similar to New Super Mario Bros Wii. Which is fine by me.

#17 Posted by buzz_killington (3532 posts) -

They sold me with that first trailer, at E3 last year.

#18 Posted by Abendlaender (2889 posts) -

They sold me by excluding the word "Rabbids" in the title.
But seriously Monsieur Ancel: Beyond Good and Evil 2.
Come on.

#19 Edited by vinsanityv22 (1064 posts) -

Video game journalists are stupid.
 
Stuff with genuinely endearing art styles gets shunned constantly, yet this? Why is it so praised? Why doesn't anyone call Ubi Soft on their overtly retarded characters? Globox was always an idiot, but there's nothing heroic about Rayman now. They're clearly just two dipshits. This is worse than Ren & Stimpy.  I can't believe I keep hearing people claim things like this art style is "fetching". Unless "fetching" now means vomit-inducing, you're waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay off there Alex. This is CRAP! It's getting to be like that episode of the Twilight Zone where I'm sane and everyone else is crazy.
 
Stop caring about the fact that it's animated looking, and start looking at the actual style of the animation! It's AWFUL. AWFUL.
 
Thanks to the XBLA and PSN, there are loads of platformers out there. Why the f*** does this get so much attention when it's so overtly stupid? Oh that's right; Video game journalists are stupid. Something here's working on the same wavelength. And that's a shame. This is a disgrace to Rayman's platformer lineage.

#20 Posted by Jayzz (586 posts) -

@vinsanityv22 said:

Video game journalists are stupid.

Stuff with genuinely endearing art styles gets shunned constantly, yet this? Why is it so praised? Why doesn't anyone call Ubi Soft on their overtly retarded characters? Globox was always an idiot, but there's nothing heroic about Rayman now. They're clearly just two dipshits. This is worse than Ren & Stimpy. I can't believe I keep hearing people claim things like this art style is "fetching". Unless "fetching" now means vomit-inducing, you're waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay off there Alex. This is CRAP! It's getting to be like that episode of the Twilight Zone where I'm sane and everyone else is crazy.

Stop caring about the fact that it's animated looking, and start looking at the actual style of the animation! It's AWFUL. AWFUL. Thanks to the XBLA and PSN, there are loads of platformers out there. Why the f*** does this get so much attention when it's so overtly stupid? Oh that's right; Video game journalists are stupid. Something here's working on the same wavelength. And that's a shame. This is a disgrace to Rayman's platformer lineage.

umad bro?

Rayman is the shit. go play a jrpg or something

#21 Posted by wolf_blitzer85 (5293 posts) -

I will totally buy this twice. On my 3DS for what will probably be some awesome affects, and on 360 so I can see it on a big ass tv.

#22 Posted by BaconGames (3577 posts) -

@Jayzz: There's something refreshing about a good vitriolic rant whose opinions you can happily ignore. So as far as angry rants go, that was pretty entertaining.

#23 Posted by wumbo3000 (1008 posts) -

It's awesome that we can read this stuff on GiantBomb because Alex is the east coast correspondent.  Great article.   How's the east coast treating you by the way?

#24 Edited by beard_of_zeus (1695 posts) -

I've been excited for this game since they first announced it and got a taste of that delicious, delicious art style :)

Thanks for the write-up, Alex; I'm glad you enjoyed your time with it and that it plays as good as it looks. The co-op demo they showed during E3 certainly looked fun as hell.

#25 Posted by HarlequinRiot (1098 posts) -

Really like the graphics, but it just makes me think that I can't wait until someone makes a game with that sweet 1970's Disney cartoon style. 

#26 Posted by EverydayOdyssey (172 posts) -

I hope they post a quick-look or other video of this game. It looks great. Astal (for the Sega Saturn) comes to mind. I remember getting that game and being floored at its Disney quality graphics. I am glad that art style has not been completely abandoned. Let's hope it plays as well as it looks.

#27 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

@vinsanityv22: I dunno if I agree completely, but there isn't much in the art style for people who aren't nostalgic for the franchise. To me, it looks fairly generic. Nothin special like Bastion or that HD remake of Earth Work Jim, which have more interesting, unique looks. I mean, it doesn't look bad by any stretch, but it isn't amazing unless anything resembling this game makes you wet. But I have plenty of respect for anyone who feels that way, because I know the feeling. Plenty of people thought Borderlands looked awful aesthetically, but I loved the look of the game, especially in some of the DLC.

#28 Posted by buft (3320 posts) -
@vinsanityv22 said:
Video game journalists are stupid.
 
Stuff with genuinely endearing art styles gets shunned constantly, yet this? Why is it so praised? Why doesn't anyone call Ubi Soft on their overtly retarded characters? Globox was always an idiot, but there's nothing heroic about Rayman now. They're clearly just two dipshits. This is worse than Ren & Stimpy.  I can't believe I keep hearing people claim things like this art style is "fetching". Unless "fetching" now means vomit-inducing, you're waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay off there Alex. This is CRAP! It's getting to be like that episode of the Twilight Zone where I'm sane and everyone else is crazy.
 
Stop caring about the fact that it's animated looking, and start looking at the actual style of the animation! It's AWFUL. AWFUL.  Thanks to the XBLA and PSN, there are loads of platformers out there. Why the f*** does this get so much attention when it's so overtly stupid? Oh that's right; Video game journalists are stupid. Something here's working on the same wavelength. And that's a shame. This is a disgrace to Rayman's platformer lineage.
lol thats the most preposterous 2 paragraphs ive ever read on the internet... 
#29 Posted by Alex (2405 posts) -

@vinsanityv22 said:

Video game journalists are stupid.

Stuff with genuinely endearing art styles gets shunned constantly, yet this? Why is it so praised? Why doesn't anyone call Ubi Soft on their overtly retarded characters? Globox was always an idiot, but there's nothing heroic about Rayman now. They're clearly just two dipshits. This is worse than Ren & Stimpy. I can't believe I keep hearing people claim things like this art style is "fetching". Unless "fetching" now means vomit-inducing, you're waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay off there Alex. This is CRAP! It's getting to be like that episode of the Twilight Zone where I'm sane and everyone else is crazy.

Stop caring about the fact that it's animated looking, and start looking at the actual style of the animation! It's AWFUL. AWFUL. Thanks to the XBLA and PSN, there are loads of platformers out there. Why the f*** does this get so much attention when it's so overtly stupid? Oh that's right; Video game journalists are stupid. Something here's working on the same wavelength. And that's a shame. This is a disgrace to Rayman's platformer lineage.

Cool story, bro.

#30 Posted by big_jon (5789 posts) -

@alex said:

@vinsanityv22 said:

Video game journalists are stupid.

Stuff with genuinely endearing art styles gets shunned constantly, yet this? Why is it so praised? Why doesn't anyone call Ubi Soft on their overtly retarded characters? Globox was always an idiot, but there's nothing heroic about Rayman now. They're clearly just two dipshits. This is worse than Ren & Stimpy. I can't believe I keep hearing people claim things like this art style is "fetching". Unless "fetching" now means vomit-inducing, you're waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay off there Alex. This is CRAP! It's getting to be like that episode of the Twilight Zone where I'm sane and everyone else is crazy.

Stop caring about the fact that it's animated looking, and start looking at the actual style of the animation! It's AWFUL. AWFUL. Thanks to the XBLA and PSN, there are loads of platformers out there. Why the f*** does this get so much attention when it's so overtly stupid? Oh that's right; Video game journalists are stupid. Something here's working on the same wavelength. And that's a shame. This is a disgrace to Rayman's platformer lineage.

Cool story, bro.

I think the art style is pretty awesome, perhaps it is you who is the stupid one here, maybe you shouldn't get so worked up about a matter of opinion?

You make it out like it is dog shit on bread, it's not that bad at all.

#31 Posted by RockinKemosabe (619 posts) -

It's nice to see Rayman getting his due. For many years he's been pushed to the sidelines over the popularity of the Rabbids.

#32 Posted by ryanwho (12082 posts) -

Looks good. I kinda wish this team could get their hands on the Earthworm Jim IP.

#33 Posted by BTHRZeroX (37 posts) -

Still Unsure about this game

#34 Posted by Xpgamer7 (2400 posts) -

When I saw the presentation I knew this would be better than most.

#35 Posted by rawilliam (28 posts) -

hmm. I´m not convinced yet..

#36 Posted by phrosnite (3518 posts) -

Beyond Good & Evil 2 is planned for the next gen of consoles... PITY!

#37 Posted by cikame (1076 posts) -

Blend together.

#38 Posted by dahlis (53 posts) -

I just love these handdrawn-style graphics. Everytime I see it, it makes me think of old Lucasart games.

#39 Posted by kalmis (1549 posts) -

Never liked Rayman, but I admit that this looks really good.

#40 Posted by WinterSnowblind (7617 posts) -

@MrKlorox said:

The art looks excellent. But the E3 stage demo looked bad. Is the game itself actually any good? Cause it didn't look like it.

What didn't look good about it? It had co-op, great looking level design and seemed to actually be challenging (something lacking from most games these days).

Easily one of my most anticipated games this year.

#41 Posted by BigStupidFace (211 posts) -

The blue thing hangs off ledges with his mouth, his fucking mouth!!! Reminded me of Ren and Stimpy. P.S. Yes please

#42 Posted by WinterSnowblind (7617 posts) -

@vinsanityv22: Rayman is a very silly series, but what's wrong with silly? Personally, I think it's a very charming style and I haven't seen many games, XBLA/PSN or otherwise that have this kind of production value. The developers and artists clearly love what they're doing and are pouring a lot of love into this.. and that's likely why it's become a full retail release over an episodic download title. I love all sorts of platformers, but if I've missed something coming out that has even better art direction and charm to it, then please point out what that is, because I'd really love to know.

And are you really going to complain about games journalists reporting on games? I haven't seen this game get that much attention, and frankly it's about time it was noticed. Again, if you think there's a platformer coming out that deserves praise, please share it with us.

#43 Posted by Tordah (2488 posts) -

I've been looking forward to this ever since I first laid my eyes on that first screenshot.

#44 Posted by astrodoggy (145 posts) -

I hope ubisoft goes nuts in this game and puts in all kinds of crazy sh!t... the artstyle is begging for it.
#45 Posted by McBonJon (162 posts) -

This looks like the Rayman game that many (including myself) have been waiting for. The art in this really pops. I can't wait for this.

#46 Posted by Jethuty (1023 posts) -

@big_jon said:

@alex said:

@vinsanityv22 said:

Video game journalists are stupid.

Stuff with genuinely endearing art styles gets shunned constantly, yet this? Why is it so praised? Why doesn't anyone call Ubi Soft on their overtly retarded characters? Globox was always an idiot, but there's nothing heroic about Rayman now. They're clearly just two dipshits. This is worse than Ren & Stimpy. I can't believe I keep hearing people claim things like this art style is "fetching". Unless "fetching" now means vomit-inducing, you're waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay off there Alex. This is CRAP! It's getting to be like that episode of the Twilight Zone where I'm sane and everyone else is crazy.

Stop caring about the fact that it's animated looking, and start looking at the actual style of the animation! It's AWFUL. AWFUL. Thanks to the XBLA and PSN, there are loads of platformers out there. Why the f*** does this get so much attention when it's so overtly stupid? Oh that's right; Video game journalists are stupid. Something here's working on the same wavelength. And that's a shame. This is a disgrace to Rayman's platformer lineage.

Cool story, bro.

I think the art style is pretty awesome, perhaps it is you who is the stupid one here, maybe you shouldn't get so worked up about a matter of opinion?

You make it out like it is dog shit on bread, it's not that bad at all.

Guys Guys, dont hate on him, he got it switched around, not his fault. He forgot to Watch the rest of that Twilight zone episode.

The plot twist was that he was the only insane person and everybody else was sane.

#47 Posted by zeppelinracer (49 posts) -

Finally! Rayman is going back to the platforming crazyness I love and away from those god awful rabbids!

#48 Posted by CitizenJP (1057 posts) -

Finally a real Rayman game.

#49 Posted by George_Hukas (1317 posts) -

@vinsanityv22 said:

This is a disgrace to Rayman's platformer lineage.

You're not making any sense

#50 Posted by Stahlbrand (840 posts) -

@Jethuty said:

@big_jon said:

@alex said:

@vinsanityv22 said:

Video game journalists are stupid.

Stuff with genuinely endearing art styles gets shunned constantly, yet this? Why is it so praised? Why doesn't anyone call Ubi Soft on their overtly retarded characters? Globox was always an idiot, but there's nothing heroic about Rayman now. They're clearly just two dipshits. This is worse than Ren & Stimpy. I can't believe I keep hearing people claim things like this art style is "fetching". Unless "fetching" now means vomit-inducing, you're waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay off there Alex. This is CRAP! It's getting to be like that episode of the Twilight Zone where I'm sane and everyone else is crazy.

Stop caring about the fact that it's animated looking, and start looking at the actual style of the animation! It's AWFUL. AWFUL. Thanks to the XBLA and PSN, there are loads of platformers out there. Why the f*** does this get so much attention when it's so overtly stupid? Oh that's right; Video game journalists are stupid. Something here's working on the same wavelength. And that's a shame. This is a disgrace to Rayman's platformer lineage.

Cool story, bro.

I think the art style is pretty awesome, perhaps it is you who is the stupid one here, maybe you shouldn't get so worked up about a matter of opinion?

You make it out like it is dog shit on bread, it's not that bad at all.

Guys Guys, dont hate on him, he got it switched around, not his fault. He forgot to Watch the rest of that Twilight zone episode.

The plot twist was that he was the only insane person and everybody else was sane.

ZING

Points to Jethuty.

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