Rayman Origins Review

Rayman Origins (Available on PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360)
ESRB Rating: E10+
Players: 1-4
Genre: Platformer
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Release Date: November 15, 2011

Parent Talk: Rayman Origins is rated E10+ by the ESRB because of comic mischief, cartoon violence, and mild suggestive themes.  Rayman would be about as damaging to minors as Mario.  In other words, parents don’t have to worry about this game.

Plays Like: Any side-scrolling platformer.

Review Basis: Completed the PS3 version with a buddy.

Rayman returns in one of 2011’s best platformers, offering veterans a challenge. It also combines modern gameplay elements like infinite lives and checkpoints to help newbies get sucked in to this stellar experience. If there’s a platformer you need to play this year for consoles, it’s Rayman Origins.

The Great:

The most amazing game world I’ve experienced. Everything in Origins is creative and exciting.  From how the flora reacts to Rayman as he zips by, to pillars that crumble under his feet, everything connects beautifully. It’s all thanks to the superb art direction of Michel Ancel, who delivers a cohesive world. Just look at the screenshots provided. Have you seen a more magical and mystical showpiece?  I haven’t.  With incredible level design, beautiful art and a tight framerate, Rayman Origins turns what you think game worlds should be on its head. It’s absolutely breathtaking.

The Good:

+ Challenging, but fair. Checkpoints and infinite lives will prevent players from pulling out their hair. This is no cakewalk, however.

+ Achievements/Trophies will make speed run enthusiasts smile, among others.

+ Best local multiplayer of 2011.  I’ve played the year’s best releases, and Rayman Origins is the most fun I’ve had with friends under a single roof.  It’s amazing teaming with two players, and ultra-crazy with four.

+ Creative, innovative progression. The characters learn new abilities from one level to the next, and they stick with you. Meaning, backtracking yields different results.

+ Variety promotes replay. If there ever was a game to “just one more stage,” this is it.  From underwater caverns, to riding on the backs of giant mosquitos, Rayman Origins offers an overabundance of fun and originality.

+ Slapping a friend is priceless.

The So-So:

+/- Back and foreground blending. This happens occasionally, making progression a little confusing. These moments are far and few though; usually you’ll have no problem knowing where to go.

+/- Single player makes unlocking later levels a bit of a chore (you must collect things), but revisiting stages with new powers and friends is wonderful.

The Bad:

– No online co-op. That’s a shame, because how many of us live with three friends?

The Ugly:

Looking at other platformers once you’ve finished Rayman Origins.

The Lowdown:

Ubisoft took a huge risk developing Rayman Origins. It bucks the trend, allowing you to experience a side-scrolling adventure unlike any.  It’s a great example of what happens when you let a creative mind go wild, but keep the gameplay as focused as the art. This is one of the best platformers available. Don’t miss it.

Average Score Scale: 9.0 (+/- 0.5) out of 10

Personal Final Score: 9/10 (Neutral)

Reason for +0.5 Inflation: You crave platformers, and enough friends to enjoy 4-player whenever you like.

Reason for -0.5 Deflation: Lack of online co-op forces you to go solo instead of living it up with friends.

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