Giant Bomb Review

37 Comments

Rayman Origins Review

5

The Vita version of Rayman: Origins may lack a few of the mechanical touches of its console brethren, but in terms of sheer beauty and fun, little is lost in translation.

In my original review of the console versions of Rayman: Origins, I all but called it out as one of the best platformers ever made, and I feel even more strongly about that sentiment now than I even did then. As a 2D reboot of the classically 3D Rayman franchise, Origins combined beautiful, hand-painted visuals with one of the most cleverly paced platformer campaigns put on a disc. Now those very same visuals, and that very same campaign has been placed on a PlayStation Vita cart, and it's actually shocking how well it's fared in translation.

Rayman's on the Vita now, and just as good as ever.

Before we go any further, if you're completely unclear on what Rayman: Origins even is, go read the original review first. Now that you presumably have some understanding of the core tenets of Origins' design, we can discuss what does and does not work in the Vita version.

A surprising amount really does work on the Vita. The full single-player campaign from consoles is here, and it's rather amazing how well-rendered it is. The crispness of the 2D art and animation hasn't been watered down in any noticeable ways. Rayman's goofball movements and the myriad bizarre happenings spread across the game's various worlds still look absolutely beautiful, and in a neat, Vita-specific touch, you can now pinch the screen to zoom in or out. This lets you zoom out to see if any hidden areas are nearby, or simply zoom in to take in some of the more colorfully gorgeous details in the world.

The tight control of the console versions pretty much carries over here, too. That's important, because big swaths of Origins' gameplay require fairly precise timing and movement. As I said previously, it's a challenging game that only toward the very end becomes something more frustratingly difficult, but by the time you get there, your mastery of the controls and Rayman's abilities ought to help salve that a bit. On Vita, there is no reason why that wouldn't hold true as well, as Rayman controls just as well as he did on the previous platforms.

So, what is different, then? For starters, the cooperative multiplayer, which was such a delight on consoles, is now absent. Granted, the cooperative play was essentially an optional bonus for the main story campaign that players could essentially drop in and out of any time they pleased, and it was never online to begin with, meaning there was no netcode for Ubisoft to rejigger for the Vita version's purposes--though to be fair, other Vita launch titles do include local multiplayer functionality of some fashion. Again, the levels never changed in any way during co-op, but the play experience did, since combining abilities among characters often led to new, sometimes far more exciting solutions to existing obstacles. It's a shame, albeit not an unexpected one, that it's been excised here.

The lack of multiplayer is a bummer, but the core experience is still great regardless.

Perhaps as something of a make-good for the lack of multiplayer, the Vita version's developers included a new ghost mode, for those obsessed players who dig replaying levels for better times and jockeying for leaderboard position. It's a nifty little addition, but it's hardly a suitable replacement for something as great as Origins' co-op play.

On that note, the question now becomes who, specifically, this version of Origins is for. The only real caveats here are whether you'd want to play with friends, or if you've already picked up one of the console versions in the past. If you're new to the game and have no particular interest in playing cooperatively with anyone, ever, then this version is entirely worthwhile. So much of what made Rayman: Origins great on consoles--from the glorious visuals and music on down to the wonderfully crafted gameplay--translate just about perfectly on the Vita. Most importantly, the game is still tons of fun from top to bottom, whether you're playing at home or on the go.

To put it more succinctly: if you already own Rayman: Origins, this is just Rayman: Origins again, and you probably don't need to buy it a second time. If you don't, and are looking for an interesting, single-player-only platformer for your new Sony-branded toy, Rayman: Origins isn't merely recommended; it's necessary.

Alex Navarro on Google+
37 Comments
Edited by CaLe

Seeing this makes me think that all Vita games should be in 2D.. Seriously, it's gorgeous.

Edited by IAmNotBatman

I should buy this game... again... without a Vita...

Posted by bassman2112

Even though I already own this game, I kind of want to get a Vita and this would likely be the first game I get from it. The multiplayer was great, but I only used it if someone was over - it was never a "hey wanna come over and play Rayman" type situation =)

Thanks for the review, Alex

Posted by nohthink

I feel like this is the only Vita launch titles that make sense.

Edited by Imsorrymsjackson

First 5 star game this year and it's a Vita game. Did not see that coming. Awesome review though, I have this one preordered with the system.

Edit: Strangely enough as well, the last game to get 5 stars on GB was Rayman Origins for the consoles.

Posted by MasturbatingestBear

Dude seeing everyone get excited about this really makes me want to just get Rayman Origins for 360 already.

Posted by csl316

That is the correct score.

Posted by Suits

Can't wait for the (DRM free) PC version

Posted by Protonguy

My copy arrived in the mail today. I was sold on it after the GOTY deliberations, thanks Alex for reinforcing my decision :).

Posted by Cyrisaurus

This game's hand drawn graphics + Vita's OLED screen alone make's this worth a purchase.

Posted by Thor_Molecules

Seems like the perfect handheld game.

Great Review, Alex.

Posted by Crono

If I had a Vita this would be on my must-buy list.

Posted by IkariNoTekken

Great follow up review Alex.

A great platformer and a visual stunner.

Posted by Timing

Hm, I don't know if I'd call Rayman a 'classically 3D franchise', but good review nonetheless.

Posted by Lennart

I`m happy that it`s still great on the vita, since I haven't gotten around to buy it for the ps3 yet. And I got this game for free when I preordered, so I`m really looking forward to getting the vita next week.

Posted by Corvak

Five stars...on a launch title. I never thought i'd see it, but after playing it on 360 and trying the vita demo, its well deserved.

This is a big change from the Rayman game that released with the 3DS!

Posted by dekkadekkadekka

Small point, but Rayman was originally a 2D game which became 3D, then reverted back to 2D in Origins.

Posted by Max015

@Timing: Agreed, the original Rayman is 2D so I'd say it is 'classically' 2D, but it's true that Rayman has featured in more 3D games than 2D ones now.

Also super happy to see people giving this game love, it really reserves it.

Posted by Evan_Buchholz

Too many colons

Posted by Redsox44

This is definitely gonna be one of my first vita games. I really want to finally see for myself what the buzz is about.

Posted by MormonWarrior

That's cool...but I already have this game on the 360. That reminds me...I need to go back and play it some more. And beat it. It's pretty awesome.

It does bring up a point brought up elsewhere by user though: "Isn't this just going down the same unprofitable rabbit hole that sank the PSP? It wasn't piracy, it was the perception that the only things coming out for it were inferior console-style titles...it doesn't even have multiplayer appeal. I don't see who their audience is supposed to be for this."

I mean, apart from those who haven't gotten the game yet and are looking for a great platformer on the thing. I think I'd actually probably play it more if it was on a handheld, so now I'm just rebutting myself.

Edited by Behonkiss

I already have the 360 version of this, but I'm probably going to pick up this version whenever I get around to buying a Vita. It was my favorite game of last year, and the idea of having it on the go for some of the long commutes I have to take is great. A fresh set of trophies doesn't hurt too.

Posted by Axiomatic

As a technical showcase for my Vita, I'm picking Rayman over Uncharted. I can't think of any game that would look more amazing on a never been used Vita screen than Rayman. After all the gorgeousness of that screen is a large part of why I want to play games on a Vita. So having pegged Rayman Vita as a purchase, I'm glad the game hasn't turned out to be compromised in the translation or I would have to be picking up it's now discounted console version instead. The Vita version is the whole reason I waited in the first place.

Though people aren't generally as crazy as me, so I think it's a shame they are sticking the premium price on it in comparison to the majority of the launch line-up.

I don't think there will be that many people willing to pay a full $40 more than the console version sitting on the other shelf - even if the game is worth every penny its premium suggests.

Still this is a familiar argument and that was a well written review. Thanks Alex!

Posted by awadnin

5 stars?! some of Gaint Bomb reviews confuse me O_O

Posted by cooljammer00

Hmm, I understand why it got a 5, but technically, due to missing features and essentially that it is a port...shouldn't that mean 4?

Whatever. Great game.

Posted by ESREVER

First 5 star review of the year? You go Rayman: Origins! I got this game for my sister for her bday this weekend. Its the 360 version though, since I don't mind sharing that. No one touches my ps3 >:F Shes also getting Super Scribblenauts, Rhythm Heaven Fever, and Happy Action Theater.

Posted by Addfwyn

@cooljammer00: Maybe, but some games can lend themselves really nicely to the portable experience, I can see Rayman really benefiting from those brief spurts of gameplay that you get via portables. That could bump it up some too.

Posted by Chandler

I own this game on Wii and its awesome, but this review doesnt make any sense. How can the game get a perfect score when its absolutely identical to the console versions BUT missing key parts of the game? It's a port and not even a complete one. Is the original a 6/5 ? Seriously, your rating system is fucked up if you don't have enough numbers to describe games acurately. Let's see if you are dropping the "lazy port" argument when the 3DS version comes around.

Posted by thecosmicfly

Kind of a bummer that Rayman Origins doesn't have any sort of cross-platform functionality or special deals going on since, as a straight port, it seems like a perfect candidate to show that stuff off for the PS Vita. Not really referring to the online co-op aspect of the game (But if they could've, dude. DUDE), but something like seemless save file transfers or a buy one get two deal similar to Motorstorm RC or the MvC3 DLC would have been fantastic. If they'd achieved that shortly before release, I might've been ever closer to emptying my wallet for Sony. Almost.

Posted by ptys

This Vita think might actually work out well although I'll wait for the next hardware revision as it's a bit too big for my liking.

Posted by Eyz

I was actually expecting more differences from the previously released version.

Don't you guys remember back then, when games used to get ports on other system later on, they used to get extra levels.

(Earthworm Jim 1 & 2, the original Rayman, etc.)

Posted by emergency

@Eyz said:

I was actually expecting more differences from the previously released version.

Don't you guys remember back then, when games used to get ports on other system later on, they used to get extra levels.

(Earthworm Jim 1 & 2, the original Rayman, etc.)

In less than 4 months to port it to vita is a pretty nice job. I'm not really all that surprised that there isn't any additional content. All it shows is that the game itself was complete to begin with. The team who ported it might not have been the same one who actually made the game, and really I don't think the game needs additional content to be created for it for a vita launch day release.

Posted by kurtbro900

I wonder what this game will look like when it comes to 3ds next month

Posted by ShadowMervillus

If I got a Vita this looks like the perfect game for it.

Posted by McGhee

@Chandler said:

I own this game on Wii and its awesome, but this review doesnt make any sense. How can the game get a perfect score when its absolutely identical to the console versions BUT missing key parts of the game? It's a port and not even a complete one. Is the original a 6/5 ? Seriously, your rating system is fucked up if you don't have enough numbers to describe games acurately. Let's see if you are dropping the "lazy port" argument when the 3DS version comes around.

In the way Giant Bomb scores there is no "perfect score". There is no such thing as a perfect game. Five Stars is the highest recommendation for a game. Even if it is lacking the multiplayer of the console version it can still get the highest recommendation. You don't describe games accurately with minute numberical differences. That's what the written article is for.

Posted by EdFries

@kurtbro900: 3DS version: very low-res without much benefit from stereoscopic 3D.

There's a new unlockable in the Vita version, not sure if they've added it to the 3DS version too, called Hidden Relics. They're really small so the pinch-zoom feature comes in handy and it looks like collecting them may unlock another level similar to the teeth. Bubblized enemies and some other kinds of bubbles can optionally be popped using the touchscreen too which is handy when they rise up, far out of melee-reach.

Posted by EdFries

Just found this description:

The Vita version will also feature exclusive collectible items called Relics; these will unlock pieces of a large mosaic puzzle in the Snoring Tree, allowing the player to view videos showing Rayman's roots and the history of the Glade of Dreams. Relics are small and 'coned' shaped, and their body is coloured red with what appears to be a green skull face painted across the front. They can also be hidden, appearing as a silhouette in a wall, or behind certain objects or covering.