The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
When I started playing Rayman Origins, I didn’t have any particular
fondness for the character or the series in general. I always felt that,
amiable as he might be, Rayman was a junior varsity player in a league
of professionals. Call me a convert. After putting down my controller
for the last time, I can’t wait to see what else Ubisoft has in store
for Rayman, Globox, and the rest of the crew.
Rayman Origins is an
undeniably beautiful game, with vibrant environments and richly defined
characters. The graphical fidelity is astounding, even when you scrunch
your face against the TV screen. Characters kick up eyelash-sized tufts
of grass when they land, and the backgrounds are layered with loads of
Ubisoft Montpellier didn’t just create a pretty
game, though. Rayman Origins holds its own with the best platformers out
there. I was a little concerned about the game when I saw the intricate
animations; while I appreciate how nice they can look, I also know that
those lovingly crafted frames of animation can translate into imprecise
controls and generally mushy-feeling action. Ubisoft managed to hit a
sweet spot here, creating stunning characters that are also responsive.
level of quality is present in the traditional platform-hopping stages
and bleeds into more exotic areas, such as the mosquito-piloting shooter
sections. Whenever I died (which wasn’t an infrequent occasion), I
usually had only myself to blame. Aside from a section with a
cannon-blasting pirate ship, the game skillfully teeters on the edge of
being fair but difficult.
One of the things that I appreciate
about Rayman Origins is how it constantly shovels new things at the
player. Whether it’s a new ability, new gameplay styles, an unlockable
character, or another breathtaking level to discover, Rayman doesn’t
stick to the same old path too long. And even when Rayman delves into
themes and areas that seem to be mandatory for platform games in
general, Ubisoft puts enough of a twist on the norm to make it seem
fresh again. I never thought I’d look forward to playing underwater
levels, but between the exceptional diving controls and the sea anemone
backdrops that approach photorealism, I was absolutely hooked.
of the only big problems I had with the game is how it blocks the
end-game content until you’ve collected enough Electoons to pass. These
smiling orbs are the game’s currency, earned by finding hidden stashes
and picking up a variety of collectibles scattered throughout the world.
If you don’t make collecting them a priority from the start, you may
find yourself grinding earlier levels like I did. There are certainly
worse ways to pass the time, but it feels like a chore, particularly
when the final area is as lackluster as can be.
If you only know
about Rayman from his affiliation with the now-ubiquitous Rabbids, that
probably wasn’t the best introduction. Rayman Origins is the proper way
to catch up with the character, who finally has a game that puts him
squarely in the majors.
Email the author Jeff Cork, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.