@Pierst179: Yeah, I guess you can't avoid that when it comes to any Zelda--let alone Skyward Sword... I'll make sure to read it when you throw it out. :) Thanks on the advice... But I can't believe you never tried DK Jr. before. :shock: ;)
I got to fully finish Rayman Origins right before I got Skyward Sword, and it was a blast to play. As for my progress on the newest Zelda game, I have just reached the fifth dungeon, and by the looks of it I would say it is bound to be a very original one. So far, all the dungeons in the game, with the exception of the second, have been quite remarkable. When I am done with Skyward Sword, I plan on buying either Mario Kart 7 or Super Mario 3D Land. Both will eventually make their way into my collection, but I still need to decide which one I will buy first. Anyway, as usual, read it if you want to, and recommend it if you guys like it.
Warning! Huge review approacing!
Slide to the side, Mario; Rayman just got a piece of your throne
As we sit and look back on this generation, which now reaches its winding months, there are many reasons for which it might be remembered: high definition graphics, the growing significance of online play and the advent of motion controls. By digging a little deeper, though, it is possible to notice that on the software side of things there has been a massive return of 2-D platformers. It is a movement that started in the technically limited realm of downloadable games, moved into the Nintendo Wii and squeezed itself into the HD twins. Now, the widespread sidescrolling fever has gained even more force, because in the middle of Mario going back to its roots; Donkey Kong returning to great shape; Kirby reaching its cutest level; and indie developers being more artsy and creative than ever; Rayman manages to outdo all of them, and in this multiplatform release, it manages to be crowned the 2-D platforming king of the three systems in the market.
The first thing players will notice about Rayman Origins is its immature nature, but that is by no means a negative statement. Rayman Origins is not immature like that young cousin of yours who cries whenever he loses a videogame match; it is immature like a Saturday morning cartoon from the 80s, it is silly and wacky without worrying about consequences or impressions. It will not hesitate in throwing a one-ton anvil on its dearest friend head, and after that it will proceed to put an arm around him, laugh it off into the sunset. The insanity is not restricted to its bright colorful vivid visuals, it is in how the characters move, how they act after clearing a stage, how music seems to pour into the stage design and how even the mightiest fire blowing monsters have a "let's go out there and have some fun while slaying a huge angry beast" vibe to them. Rayman Origins is one extravagant party wrapped into platforming goodness.
Like all good Saturday morning cartoons, our beloved heroes get in big trouble quickly and by accident. Rayman, Globox and two Teensies (the four playable characters in this adventure) are relaxing in the friendly glade of dreams when their symphony of breathing and snoring gets broadcasted through the inside of a hollow tree into the underground world where a bitter old lady – maddened by their constant loudness – unleashes an army of devilish underground beings into the once peaceful world, and Rayman has to go out there beat down some foes and release some friends from guarded cages hidden within the game's stages.
Rayman Origins is accessible and, at the same time, it achieves a great degree of challenge, all thanks to the alluring lums, which look pretty much like the fairies from the Zelda series, aside from the big clueless smile the former species carries. Each stage has about 400 of them to collect, and depending on the amount of lums Rayman has by the end of the stage, he will be awarded a certain quantity of pink smiley medals that unlock secret stages. Ignoring the lums means stages will be cleared fairly quickly, even if it is done with a certain degree of trouble due to enemies and obstacles, but attempting to collect as many lums as possible during your run through the stage will lead to a lot of deaths, since collecting all lums requires speed, ridiculously precise jumps and amazing skills, the intensity on which those qualities are needed gets more intense as worlds go by.
In spite of all that, Rayman Origins never really gets frustrating, because the stages are divided into small segments, which leads to a decent amount of save points. Therefore, significant progress is never loss when players try a radical maneuver to catch a trickily placed 25-lum coin. Even though catching lums is optional, the game warmly invites players into the challenge, and the invitation is hard to decline. The game challenge reaches its pinnacle on the ten secret stages, where players must chase a fearful treasure chest through obstacles, tumbling scenarios and jumps that demand fine accuracy. Everything is done with no checkpoints, without being able to acquire extra hearts, turning the whole stage into a one-hit KO machine, and having to go as fast as possible because of the collapsing stages. It is as tough as nails, and more rewarding than pretty much all gaming experiences out there.
All in all, there is a lot of variety to be found in Rayman, and it all starts with its unique worlds. Sure, you will find the traditional jungle, the dark underwater caves and the sunny shore, but due to the game's artistic personality, players will never feel like they are being dragged through more-of-the-same platforming scenarios; on the contrary, the colors, lights and lines of the background will more often than not wow even the most experienced gamers. However, it is not rare to see Rayman Origins step out of the ordinary and venture into new territory with a world centered around musical instruments in the sky, a fiery kitchen filled with pepper and fire-breathing chefs and a factory with delirious machines. There is not shortage of amusement.
On the gameplay side of things, Rayman Origins is constantly renewing itself. Rayman starts only with the ability to jump and hit his enemies, even his traditional helicopter move is initially absent, but as each world passes Rayman releases a fairy that teaches him a new ability such as running on walls and swimming, and so each world takes advantage of one of those abilities, meaning that as worlds progress the way on which the stages are designed changes radically. As a consequence, the game not only slaps players in the face with glorious scenarios as the story progresses, but it also throws new designs on the screen with amazing consistency. All moves, being critical to achieve success in collecting a good amount of lums, work wonderfully and are very responsive. The controls are as tight as the room for error found in the hardest parts of the game.
As the curtain closes, most players will come to very same conclusion: Rayman Origins is the best 2-D platformer of this generation, no doubt about it. It lands in Kirby's Epic Yarn territory with its stunning art, it pulls off old-school moments that had only been achieved by New Super Mario Bros Wii, it holds as many level design surprises as Donkey Kong Country Returns, it features puzzle-elements absent from those titles and it manages to be more challenging than all of those games. The fact that it features the option to play with another 3 friends in one frantic funny attempt to clear the game further indicates the current tendency that all sidescrolles must go cooperative. Rayman Origins is beautiful, its music ranges from moody to annoyingly catchy, has over fifteen hours of gameplay, tons of extras, ten worlds, many bosses, stages that play like space-shooting arcade games and much more, all packed into one hard-to-surpass package of platforming goodness. It is absolutely glorious.
@hotdiddykong I still believe the 16-bit era is king in terms of 2D platformers. Mario World (argument sealed there alone?), Yoshi's Island, Sonics 1, 2, 3 and Knuckles, Donkey Kong Country 1, 2 (still the best) and 3, Kirby Superstar and Dreamland 3, Ristar, ect. This generation comes in second though. However, the Galaxy series alone pits it at the top of the 3D platforming echelon (sorry Mario 64 and Banjo). On a side note, I'm still not convinced this game will be harder than DKCR, although it may be harder for me (if this makes sense) since I know the mechanics of DKCs like the back of my hand. I guess I shall soon find out. :)
@Pierst179 Yes, that it did, both 2D and 3D platforming with Galaxy 2 setting new standards. Also I have to agree with Stonetowerghost, are you REALLY sure its Harder than DKCR, in a way it can actually but i doubt it could be harder than the Mirrored Daredevil runs DKCR has.
@hotdiddykong: Platforming has peaked during this generation, and I am very happy with that! @Foolz3h: The wait will be worth it. @PHILRYABKIN: I hope you get to play it soon. @SloganYams: I like it. I don't think there is anything remarkable about it, but it doesn't bother me neither. It is a charming quirky character. @xdude85: I would say it is a fine starting point. @Stonetowerghost: If you want to collect all Lums, it is. @julianozuca: Considering my next review will probably be Skyward Sword, I think I will go back to the lengthy and wordy side of the force. I loved your Retro Game Challenge review, and I completely agree. You did a great job in that one and managed to touch on all aspects of the game I can remember. And I also liked the DK Jr. review, even though I can't say whether I agree or not because that is a game I haven't played.
Excellent review--more on that compact side of The Force we've been talking about lately ;). Easy, easy to thumb up! I love the IP and just bought the download of the first game from GOG to freshen my memory before trying the new one out. I just can't decide over a 3DS or a Wii version since I'm yet to find a professional review on the first one. Also, I would like to hear your opinion on my two latest reviews too (specially Retro Game Challenge, which it's kinda obscure but I know you tried)--I rely a lot on you when it comes to advice if you didn't notice it yet. :P
Rayman Origins looks extremely unique. I've never played any of the games, but I'm willing start off with this one.
The game looks stunning, it's nice to see a game that actually gets the idea that photo-realism is a game anyone can play, and instead aims for something far greater, a unique style. I still can't wait to play this game (first time I've ever said that about a Rayman game), though despite it's stunning art, it doesn't quite look as "charming" as Epic Yarn (hardly derogatory, I don't think any game will be that charming this generations). Though beautiful nonetheless. On a semi-related note, am I the only one who doesn't much care for Rayman's character design? Everyone else (especially Globox, who looks like a gourd-shaped, blue duck) are fine. I don't know if its the lack of limbs or that goofy haircut, but Rayman's design seems to be the only thing "boring" about an otherwise immensely inspired design.
Damn you UbiSoft! I couldn't manage to get this for free. You know what that means: I can't wait to play it eventually. :cry:
Awesome Review, Its great to see Rayman go back to his roots, and its great to see another Platforming game.