Publisher: Ubisoft Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier Genre: Platformer Players: One - Four Launch Date: 25th November 2011
Rayman has been taking a long and well deserved break since the last time we saw him grace our consoles. Now after that much needed rest he returns and in a fashionable style may we add. But does the series manage to stay true to its roots, or does the sub name origins bring anything new to the table? As always read on as we tell you what you need to know about this game and whether or not it's worth that hard earned cash sitting in your pocket. Gameplay - 9/10 Rayman Origins is a platformer, the game knows it's a platformer and it does what it intends to do with ease and is fluid at the same time meaning for fun fast paced action in the long run. So whether you have played a Rayman game in the past, it doesn't matter as the games controls are easy enough to pick up and play for anybody at any sort of age. When you first start to play the game you will only have a bog standard set of actions that you can use, these being walk, sprint and punch, but the further you progress into the story and the more nymphs that you help to save the more actions you will eventually unlock. The control layout for the game is also very easy and no matter what you unlock, it is easy to remember what button corresponds to what action. This tied into the four play co-op that you can have yourself really helps for when the game gets frantic with the amount of action and jumping going on. Being able to find your character if you lose track of him will become a necessity. Whilst the co-op does work really well, it's a shame that it is only local co-op, not putting in the ability of having an online component almost makes it feel like the developers may have shot themselves in the foot with that choice. With characters able to interact with each other to do certain tasks, sometimes its easier to get to one destination with four people then it is on your own.

Rayman up to his old tricks again
The levels themselves are all nicely created and easily depict the difficulty depending on the area, because as you progress further and further into the game, no matter what extra abilities you have managed to unlock, parts of the levels will begin to get tighter making it harder to jump or balance your way through. Again this is another good reason to have co-op because if one person is having problems the rest of you can help them get through. Certain areas in the game have also been implemented to do certain effects dependent upon the weight that is put on them, take for example the argumentative forks have pieces of meat on the ends of them, if you stand on the meat for more then a few seconds it will go straight through the fork and damage Rayman in the process. Another example of this is standing on the giant lemons or icicles in the third world. If you stand on them for too long they will either begin to sink or capsize in a certain direction. These effects, whilst simple, really add to the platformer experience and are really well done and a nice addition to the game. The length of the main game if you just concentrate on trying to get through it as fast as possible isn't all that long. To progress towards the end you need to have either done really well in the levels previously or at least achieved everything within them. If it wasn't for that fact then it would be safe to assume you could beat this game in around six to eight hours. But with the collectibles in the game, and the hidden areas that are ready for you to explore, if you focus on doing these as well you will no doubt rack up quite a lot of game time, and in all honesty this game deserves it for the attention to quality and detail it has received. The game does come with many types of collectibles though, be it the normal cages that you need to hunt down to rescue your friends or finding the skull teeth to open up the final boss battle there is plenty to explore and do. So overall Rayman Origins is almost the perfect specimen for what a platfomer should bring to the table, if the game had included less collectibles a longer campaign and online co-op then this could quite easily have been a ten in this area.

Rayman bringing teamwork together since 2011
Graphics - 9/10 Rayman Origins runs on the new graphical engine known only as UbiArt, with this new engine comes new ways to be creative and entertaining. The game itself is bright and colourful and contains lots and lots of entertaining visuals no matter what stage of the game you are playing through. Each of the different characters in game are given their own unique identities with the way they look and move, not to mention the different skills they all possess, if you add this into how alive the worlds are as your running through figuring out the puzzles it all helps to see how much attention to detail the game as been given. The way the games presentations is laid out is almost identical to that of the Xbox Live Arcade game Castle Crashers, in which at the end of every level you can travel to and from certain areas or worlds to take on new levels or previously completed levels. If that's not enough for you, you can even harness your skills and become even better by practicing them in the loading screens of the game, because as the game loads up you can use your selected character to sprint, jump, punch, kick and even hover amongst other things which is a really nice touch instead of being left with a normal standard loading screen. All of these elements help immerse you into the world that is Rayman and no one area ever looks the same as the other, sure the levels contained in that area may look somewhat samey, but that's to help stay in tone with where your supposed to be, be it an icy world, or a world full of musical instruments and gale force winds. Overall the game looks amazing to look at, I can assure you that no game this year looks like Rayman Origins, with its own unique art style working very well, and no slow down or graphical glitches such as pop in, all I can say is if this is a bench mark for what the UbiArt engine can achieve, I cannot wait to see what's next in store.

This guy woke up on the wrong side of the bed with a bad headache!
Sound - 8/10 Lets start off by saying that when it comes to sound in a game like this, there really isn't very much to go on. Rayman and the rest of the characters never speak. With that said the only characters who do say a few words are the nymphs that you must save as you progress through the story, and a talking top hat that gives you help and advice throughout the levels. The characters though will give the odd woohoo when you find yourself flying through the air but apart from that they are all rather mute. Where the games sound really shines though is in the music department, with each and every song fitting into the game almost perfectly, with the many different styles of area you find yourself playing in, there is always a musical tone that helps fit the mood perfectly. Be it jungle beats to a more relaxed sound as you progress through some of the icy levels to the wacky and fun music you find in the bonus missions, the variety is quite astounding. But again apart from the music, the sound is otherwise quite null and void apart from the few characters that do talk in what seems like a language more suited to the ears of children.

The game knows how to keep its sense of humour
Difficulty - 7/10 When you first start to play the game, you will be introduced to the very basic functions that Rayman can use to help you progress through the game. At first things will start off smooth and simple and you will find yourself roaming around the levels trying to find all the secrets and get all of the yellow bird type things. As you slowly start to progress through the story however, you will find that finding certain areas or gold coins will become more of a challenge. Some levels will face you up against a timer, granted if your just playing the levels and not going for the hidden items the timer probably won't end up being much of a problem, however if you do fancy yourself as a bit of a gamer who likes to complete everything then beware as one slip up may cause you to restart at the nearest checkpoint. Again as you continuously progress, the levels become harder slowly but surely, but enemies are placed on screen and gaps to navigate through become smaller, towards the end of the game the checkpoints themselves begin to start thinning out more then usual which will cause some frustration. So to summarise what I have just been talking about, whilst the game is moderately easy to pick up and play, eventually you will start to come across challenges in game, and these will no doubt affect your speed runs also. But whilst the game will start to become all that more difficult, it never loses it's fun factor and you will always keep coming back for more, whether to complete a hard part you got stuck on, or to collect all of the birds in the level to fully complete it.

The stone wheel does not look happy
Achievements - 8/10 Rayman Origins only uses thirty six out of the possible fifty achievements that they were allowed to use, and because of this I can't help but feel the achievement list suffers. This is mainly down to the main structure of the list as a whole with the majority of the achievements coming in the form of finding all of the hidden chests hidden throughout the game, with various achievements relating to finding x amount. With another set of achievements relating to finding all of the skull teeth, again with another x amount needed for a few other achievements. All is not lost though as the game does come with very few story related achievements which will no doubt add a bit of score to your profile if you don't intend on finding every nook and cranny the game as to offer you. But if that is the case then out of the achievements on offer you will end up walking away with very few of them. There are the occasional oddball achievements though or achievements for doing things in certain levels which really help the list out overall to stop it from becoming a list full of drab collecting or getting one hundred percent in every level in the game. Achievements such bounce-bubblizing eleven enemies in a row without touching the floor on the level polar pursuit springs to mind as some of the creativeness that could have been achieved if the whole list has followed this formula. To round out the list however, you have a few achievements relating to sprinting and swimming a marathon and also for spending an hour in flight mode and crushing four enemies at once. Overall the list isn't the best and you will spend most of your time trying to find everything the game as to offer which is always a good thing if you're into that. However the points distribution could have been much improved and using the additional fourteen achievement slots that were still left to use could have helped out. Summary This game really is a must have for anybody, whether or not you have played the other games that were released all those years ago. This game is a beautiful looking specimen of what can be achieved when care, love and lots of attention is placed onto a product you believe in. However with the few niggles the game does come with, it will be such a shame if this game doesn't take off and doesn't do well at retail. Not many games come out now that are fresh or as good looking as Rayman Origins, and simply because of that this is why you must get this game and help support the developers who made it for hopefully a future sequel.


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