Preview:- Rayman Origins

Rayman OriginsSometimes games just don’t get “it” do they? In the present day it seems developers are more intent on telling some gigantic story arcs, evoke emotions in the player or give them morally challenging decisions to make. What ever happened to the good old days? You know, when games that were made on the sole principle that they were fun?

Well thankfully games like that still exist! (YAY!)

Games in recent years like Little Big Planet (1 and 2) and Kirby’s Epic Yarn show that you can still make a brilliant game, without having to cram epically long cutscenes into our eyes, or force cliched, badly written dialogue into our ears.

Yet another case in point seems to be Rayman Origins, the forthcoming, latest title from the Rayman universe. Although the game doesn’t reach our shelves until November, we managed to get some hands-on time with the game before launch and it’s shaping up to be very good indeed.

The clue is in the title, but for those that aren’t familiar to the Rayman series, Rayman Origins takes the series right back to its roots, switching out the 3D visuals of the more recent games, for 2D graphics, harking back to the early days of the Rayman series (a nostalgia-fest). It is a move that seems to have proved the right one as, from what we’ve seen, Rayman Origins looks stunning.

Screenshot of Rayman Origins

Rayman Origins new 2D overhaul of the Rayman series is absolutely beautiful.

It’s rare for a big series of games to change up the graphics in such a drastic way (the only other two series I can think of off the top of my head are Zelda and Mario – Windwaker and Paper Mario anyone?) but you will be simply mesmerised by Rayman Origins when it hits the shelves just before Christmas. The level of detail on show (which looks almost hand drawn) coupled with lush slickness and vibrancy on display has resulted in refreshing graphical style, quickly becoming one of the most unique-looking games you’ve played to date.

But what really gets our juices flowing at the good ship is the game’s brilliant drop in-drop out multiplayer gameplay which looks to be, put purely and simply, fun.

Supporting up to four players, both local and online, players will take control of Rayman, his friend Globox and two Teensies, as they hop, swing, run and jump through a multitude of different side-scrolling locales (everything from glorious, barren deserts, to dark dank caves and lush jungles). As you would expect, along your travels you must collect various pick-ups, overcome obstacles and fight a ton of different enemies and bosses along the way (which, from what we’ve seen, have been BRILLIANTLY designed).

screenshot of Rayman Origins

The locales and enemy designed look set to impressive.

There doesn’t seem to be anything groundbreaking or revolutionary in terms of gameplay when it comes to Rayman Origins (although it might have a few surprises in store for the full version of the game) but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The game gives off the impression that it’s far more concerned with capturing the same type of innocent charm and fun that games like Super Mario Bros Wii and Little Big Planet did, and from what we’ve so far it has achieved it emphatically.

Ideal as a ‘party game’, the genius of Rayman Origins seems to be that the team over at Ubisoft Montpellier look to have made a game which encompasses all there needs to be in an accessible, four player, side-scrolling platform experience, yet still leaves room for some unique innovation in terms of its graphical style.

Those who shun Rayman Origins as ‘just another Rayman game’ are certainly in for a surprise when the game hits the shelves. Could we be looking at one of the year’s biggest sleeper hits? We think so.

- Kieran Roycroft

Tue, October 25 2011 » Previews, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360

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