johnthegoat's Rayman Origins (Xbox 360) review

Rayman Origins Review

Developer: Ubisoft

Publisher: Ubisoft

It is a worry that Rayman Origins arrived on our shelves when it did. Amid the deluge of triple-A releases, there is a real worry that Rayman will go relatively unnoticed. This would be fine if the game was terrible, but in reality, Rayman could end up being a standout title for many gamers as they look back over 2011.

Visually, Rayman Origins is stunning. The 2D side scrolling action game is packed full of colour and character. Bright and vibrant, the whole experience is a feast for the eyeballs. Bold colour palettes are fused with an art style that has a painting-like quality. Enemies and characters are equally bright, yet never difficult to distinguish, and each aspect of the design is clearly and deliberately put in place. From the massive mountains in the background, right down to the minute brush strokes barely visible to the player.

Don’t let the cutesy visuals lead you astray though. This is anything but a game for children. Initially relatively simple, the game soon shows its true colours, revealing itself to be a rock hard side scrolling adventure that only the most skilful or determined will hope to complete. (Those who think they have what it takes, collect all the teeth; the level you unlock is truly insane) The controls are brilliantly responsive, and given the difficulty spike, this is an imperative feature. In an attempt to keep things fresh, each time a player completes a world, they are gifted a new power, of which the following world will require players to master said power in order to progress.

This also doesn’t feel anything like a Rayman game. Traditionally, Rayman titles have been slow and cumbersome affairs that value a methodical approach above straight out speed. This game is something of a mixture between the two. Finding secret areas and orbs will require some thought, however more often than not, a great deal of speed and precision will be required to achieve your goals.

Story wise, the game is quite thin on the ground. There are short cut scenes, but in all honesty, it’s plain that they are there to link the stages together and nothing more.

For those willing to put in the time, there are collectables in each level. Players who just want to get through the main levels can do so, but for the more taken fan there are also a wealth of collectables to be had, that will take a great deal of time to attain them all. Interestingly with these, they also allow players to pick and choose their favorites. Whether you like to collect orbs, scour levels for hidden doors, or complete time attacks, each level will have a challenge for you. Achieving these goals unlocks masses of playable characters, and more difficult levels to try your hand at.

These features, along with the length of the game more than warrant the full release price tag, however the fear remains that the visuals, although beautiful may make the game seem on the face of things like it should be a downloadable title. This may seem like an unnecessary criticism, but with XBLA and PSN producing games such as Bastion and Shadow Complex, the modern market may be less receptive to the price tag when it is attached to a game with these visuals.

The masses of unlockable characters, although fun to see how many you can get, are a little excessive. Other than aesthetics, they bring little to the table, and players can stay the same character for the whole game and complete each challenge. An improvement on this feature would have been to give the characters different abilities that make them better at varying tasks. This would add tactical approach to the game, but given the amount there is to do it doesn’t become a major concern.

The game can also be played through with up to four friends.This approach to the game adds a new dynamic to it and is a welcome addition, however the frantic nature of later levels will mean that many will only use this feature in the earlier stages.

Chances are that side scrolling fans will love this game, and it wouldn’t be all that outlandish a statement to say that outside of Mario, this is probably the most accomplished side scrolling game around. With that in mind, fans of Mario should pick this up, whilst bearing in mind that it is a much less forgiving experience. Those who complete the game will get a lot from it, but be prepared to die. A lot.

3 Good Points

  • Controls beautifully.
  • Challenging.
  • Gorgeous visuals.

3 Bad Points

  • Some will think it looks like a downloadable game.
  • The difficulty will turn some people off.
  • The aesthetic doesn’t portray itself to its audience at all.
BreakdownScore
Graphics:Bright, colourful and smooth. A feast for the eyeballs.9.5/10
Gameplay:Great. Tight, responsive and tuned finely enough so that players will know if things go wrong it’s down to their error rather than the game’s.9.5/10
Story:Short and periphery, however these games are not bought for their stories.3/10
Replayability:Loads to do. Will keep players playing and collecting long after they’ve unlocked all the levels.9/10
Value For Money At:Deceptively deep. The visuals suggest a short game, but this is not the case at all.£40.00
Overall:Gorgeous and fun. Side scrolling fans should get this right away. For hardcore gamers, and will punish those not up to scratch.9.5/10Amazing
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