Published on June 21st, 2011 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
E3 2011: Rayman Origins Hands-on Impressions
Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo3DS
Release Date: Holiday 2011
The first whisper of Rayman coming to the Nintendo 3DS gave me a little hope that a new Rayman title was going to be in my console come launch day. It was a bit of a letdown to find out that it was simply going to be yet another remake/revision/redux of a prior title. In support for what Editor Louis Garcia said in the first signs of life for Rayman from the E3 2011 via the Ubisoft Press Conference, thank you for not putting Rabbids in the title.
Rayman Origins offers quite the visual showcase. Animations for the game were extremely polished and it was hard not to notice the details of each attack, jump, or team work effort during the levels play through. Knowing that the game could look this great with four player co-op did provide for a significant amount of comfort. Although these efforts were pleasing, the answer to my next question was a little bit of a disappointment.
It is hard not to compare Origins to other titles in the genre. The platformer/adventurer plays well and looks almost perfect with the local multiplayer on the screen. When I asked Senior Brand Manager Michael Micholic, who was showing the game at E3, if it was to support online multiplayer, it was bit of a disappointment to hear “No” as a response.
The explanation given for the local only multiplayer support was to simply keep the game pumping at 60 FPS and showcase it in its full HD glory. The online multiplayer would only cause a dip in the quality, something that they did not want to lose in such a visually impressive title. I don’t know about you, but I would have gladly gone without a few background animations, or could have lived without a few aesthetics in order to play with a friend over Xbox LIVE or the PSN. I mean, whats a few screen tears here and there? Or even a few laggy moments when a huge boss enters the frame?
The game will gladly offer up to four playable characters to choose from. Jump in as Rayman, Globox, or the other notable teensies from the series. Use teamwork to solve puzzles, or simply go at it and beat up your teammate during level exploration. It was fun every now and then to pop Globox and zip away with my “hairicopter.” Similar to Super Mario Bros. Wii, your character can become “bubbled” when reaching the end of their rope. In order to be freed and brought back to life,other players must smack away to release them back into the game.
The controls of the game also stemmed back to its roots with simplicity. There were only a few major buttons to use and offered a game that just simply felt fun to play. Scaling the body of a stretched buddy allowed for some drop down maneuvers or some left and right jabs to defeat enemies who might be floating on your next platformed move. These moves became somewhat complicated due to the art style, but the overall fluidity of gameplay and controls gave them a solid state.
One of the most noticeable reasons as to why this Rayman title is really reaching back to its roots can be noticed in the design team. Michel Ancel, who has worn many different hats in the design/development of Rayman projects, has made a return with more input that just a design director or storyboard development as seen in the Rayman Raving Rabbids titles.
(Here is an example of the subtle, yet comical, animations.)
It was great to finally see Rayman pay homage to the real Rayman titles in the series. The ones that didn’t involve mini-game, after mini-game, inside of a mini-game, delivering nothing more than an inception-style juggle of reality and rabbid. Although the Rabbids might be popular among kids and parents looking for a casual party game, they are really starting to take their toll on my nerves. Even the Nintendo 3DS title where they became their own platforming entity lead to much disappointment in the overall execution of the game. At least this time around we can look forward to some spiffy graphics that were created with time and care.