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How Rayman Origins Kickstarts The Platformer

Look, ma, no arms!

“We’ll have what he’s having” might be a common turn of phrase, but when you’re introduced to not only the titular limbless platform hero but also old mate Globox, Teensies, Darktoons, Lums, Electoons and Nymphs – in the space of a snappy musically synced intro no less – you know that Ubisoft aren’t all about dull old third person shooters.

And dull Origins certainly isn’t. In fact, the speedy loading (which is accompanied by a fully playable silhouette) sits beneath some quick, flowing platforming, intuitive controls and pacing that other platformers can only dream of. Even ignoring the visuals (which we’ll come back to shortly) this latest Rayman deftly knocks the ageing Sonic into the nearest murky pond.

Colourful is an understatement.
And even the likes of Mario, the defacto go-to game series in this genre, have never been as immediately impactful in terms of that initial wow factor.

The first few levels set the tone nicely, the drip feed of moves, disciplines and enemies building up alongside a gradually rising difficulty level.

Once you’ve gained the core abilities (punching and gliding) the game springs to life, mashing together all manner of genre staples and refreshing new ideas with aplomb, never once skipping a beat or faltering.

It’s barely hyperbole to say that Michel Ancel’s dream of bringing traditional animation to life in a game has absolutely come to fruition. The game screams of Disney-esque character and the 2D, high resolution graphics are simply staggering, not least because they’re running at a rock steady sixty frames per second but also because they’re just so damned rich and alive.

I can’t overstate how good Origins looks: it’s one of the best looking games this generation, so detailed are the textures, so sublime is the shading and lighting, the whole thing so crisp and sharp yet rounded, with depth and clarity abound. There’s masses of variety too, with familiar motives carried through to new areas but always with their own distinct look.

Shooting, like a sidescroller? Silly Rayman.
The production values took me completely by surprise – load times are in the single digits in terms of seconds, the controls are perfect, the music catchy and the voice work typically Rayman.

Even the level select screens tie in with the regular game mechanics, and from what we’ve seen so far there’s plenty of stages to tackle too, with each housing secret areas and stacks of collectables.

On top of all of that there’s also four player co-op if you’ve got some mates handy (and some controllers), a nod to a certain plumber perhaps, but welcome indeed.

We’re impressed. So far this is turning out to be a brilliant game, with just the right amount of challenge mixed with a compulsive desire to retry areas to get more Lums and search for more hidden goodies – if only to find out what’s behind some of the already locked off areas.

Whether or not the first hour thrill can be sustained over the whole game is something we’ll need to answer with time…

Our full review is coming soon.

  1. Dan Lee
    Common like the rest of us.
    Since: Jun 2010

    This looks amazing.

    Comment posted on 24/11/2011 at 17:17.
  2. theshockwave
    Since: Nov 2008

    Don’t like how Rayman looks. I remember him from the Gameboy and I don’t remember him looking like that. What’s with the hair?! And he looks far to happy.

    But the game looks great! :)

    Comment posted on 24/11/2011 at 17:21.
    • Forrest_01
      Since: Jun 2009

      What, you would prefer a miserable protagonist in your games?

      Would add to the realism of doing certain repetitive tasks i suppose, but wouldn’t make for an appealing marketing campaign! :)

      Comment posted on 24/11/2011 at 17:25.
  3. Shakugan
    Since: Mar 2010

    Rayman Origins does look good, but so far i have watched the gameplay i don’t even understand what’s going on because of the 4 players on the same screen, i would have prefered 1 player.

    Comment posted on 24/11/2011 at 17:41.
    • Bodachi
      Since: Jan 2010

      Then play it alone?

      Comment posted on 24/11/2011 at 18:09.
  4. peespee63
    Since: Feb 2009

    Can’t wait to get my hands on this one. Played a little at EGX, and it was a whole lot of fun.
    Both aesthetically and graphically, Origins is bleedin’ gorgeous, and the humour is there. It’s also really satisfying playing a proper modern platformer with real old-school pedigree.
    Bit of a shame there hasn’t been very much media focus on this, as it is one of those hidden gems of modern gaming.

    Comment posted on 24/11/2011 at 17:42.
    • KeRaSh
      Since: Nov 2009

      This. It’s definitely one of the most underrated platformers. The original Rayman is right up there with Sonic and Mario and nobody gave Ubisoft credit for that.
      Hidden gem of modern gaming sums it up perfectly.

      Comment posted on 25/11/2011 at 07:16.
    • Klart
      Since: Jun 2010

      There is a demo in the store! It’s great.

      Comment posted on 25/11/2011 at 08:47.
  5. Forrest_01
    Since: Jun 2009

    The art style is absolutely fantastic, but not sure there is enough to keep me gripped in a platformer these days tbh.

    Comment posted on 24/11/2011 at 17:48.
  6. freezebug2
    Since: Dec 2008

    I’ve played it for a few days now and totally agree with everything that nofi has said and more, it’s ridiculously addictive. Rayman has also got some brand new moves that are unlocked as you progress. It is spot on difficulty-wise as you progress it gets trickier. My favourite levels are where Rayman flies the mosquito in shoot-em-up style and there are several of those levels that pop up. Plenty of levels with some that need be re-visited for completion as Rayman progresses and earns more power up moves. Awesome game! ;)

    Comment posted on 24/11/2011 at 17:59.
    • freezebug2
      Since: Dec 2008

      *Rayman or whichever character that you choose to be* :P

      Comment posted on 24/11/2011 at 18:09.
  7. seravok
    Since: Oct 2011

    Can’t wait to get the game in the mail. :D

    Comment posted on 24/11/2011 at 18:08.
  8. R1MJAW
    Since: May 2010

    Really enjoying playing this atm. I urge anyone who enjoys 2d platformers to pick this up as it is absolutely fantastic.

    Comment posted on 24/11/2011 at 19:13.
  9. a inferior race
    I'm special
    Since: Jul 2009

    I have put this in my Christmas wishlist, so we will just have to wait and see if it was chosen.

    Comment posted on 24/11/2011 at 20:08.
  10. SH Number 7
    Since: May 2011

    Can’t wait to get this.

    Comment posted on 24/11/2011 at 20:49.

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