[Review] Rayman: Bringing That Old Feeling to a New Generation

Published on December 22nd, 2013

 

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What pops into your head when you think of gaming? Perhaps you think of being immersed in a deep storyline with fantastic dialogue or games which are so close to real life that you need to pause the game every so often to ensure that you are still in the real world? No matter what aspect of gaming is most favourable to you, gaming’s main attraction is to have fun. For many years, a red-hat wearing moustached plumber has provided millions of people with grins on their faces. A blue hedgehog with red trainers made an entire generation gasp at the amazing speeds he could achieve as he collected rings and defeated Doctor Eggman. These characters helped make gaming fun for the masses and in these times when gaming is as popular as ever, there is one hair-spinning character featured in two recent games which I believe easily compares to these influential heroes. Rayman Origins and, more recently, Rayman Legends have provided a breath of fresh air to the gaming community and Ubisoft have made games which are enjoyable and challenging, yet easy to get used to, so that anyone can enjoy it similarly to the classic Mario and Sonic games of yesteryear. In the mid-1990’s, when Rayman was first released, I don’t think anyone would have believed the transformation the series has seen from then until now. The original game was reminiscent of any Mega Drive era platforming game as it had easy controls and was very colourful with no real story. As many gamers grew older and console generations changed, it seemed as though Rayman was aimed more towards the younger generation of gamers with Raving Rabbids and other spinoff games while, at that time, the Mario games were continuing to grow and expand with the release of fresh games such as Sunshine and Galaxy. With the past two Rayman releases, the limbless hero features in, in my opinion, two of the best platforming games of the generation. To be honest, I only played the latest Rayman games earlier this year after hearing so many positive opinions on the games. The main reason I had decided to play Rayman was because I thought that it was a game which was better when played with a co-op partner and something I would enjoy playing with my girlfriend. Although she doesn’t play many games outside of her iPad games, she was entranced by the game’s colour, characters and how funny it was, as was I. Rayman seems to have this wonderful looking top layer which sometimes fools the players into thinking it is just a children’s game when it is very difficult at times and appeals to the youngest of children to the most mature adults.

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The same could be said about classic Mario and Sonic games too. Super Mario games have always been renowned for their wonderful level design and beautiful locations. Levels such as the Magnificent Magma Sea in Mario Galaxy 2, Bob-Omb Battlefield in Mario 64 and Vanilla Dome on Super Mario World for the Super Nintendo all feature wonderful environments which make your eyes light up and, at times, make your head explode with how in-depth the levels are. While Sonic has seen a constant change in what the series actually is, the worlds have always been bright, colourful and challenging. Rayman more than holds its own to these games and even though it is only a 2D side-scrolling game, the Rayman levels are full of objects that will push you to the edge of reason for their level of difficulty and have you smiling like an idiot for how radiant the characters and levels look. If you are finding trouble with a certain level, you can skip levels if the game becomes too difficult. Some of the mechanics in the game are basic, but sometimes a simple life saving mechanic is all it takes to make a great co-op game. There have been several games over recent years which have made death a feared obstacle. Games such as Castle Crashers and Resogun both feature great co-op game modes, but once your partners die, you are on your own and this is stressful for the player who is still playing and boring for the player whose character has perished. Rayman allows the co-op gameplay to shine through as there isn’t much room for error, but your partner can always save you if needed. The life-saving function allows the players to constantly stay involved in the game and creates great success in the process. Super Mario 3D World attempted this recently and when one of the co-op players dies, they can save themselves rather than having to wait for their partner to rescue them. This constant panic of continuing your momentum and trying to save your partner is a great feature which constantly keeps you on edge. As well as the life-saving mechanic, the part of the game which has you collecting lums is very similar to collecting coins in Mario or rings in Sonic. The more you collect the more items you will unlock. Although Rayman Legends was criticised by some for being better suited to the Wii U version, which the game was originally supposed to be an exclusive for, the gameplay is exquisite. At times Rayman is a simple platformer and at other times has you scratching your head with well thought-out puzzles. Even if you only have 10 minutes to spare, you could complete two levels in that time. The variety of environments, hazards and enemies make each level far different from the last. Both recent Rayman games provide the ultimate challenge for anyone who likes to complete a game 100% as the achievements are difficult to obtain.

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Music and sound effects are vital in any modern game and the music in Rayman is so catchy that you’ll be humming or whistling the tunes you have heard for weeks after you’ve played it. Rayman is very endearing and will have anyone who plays the game in fits of laughter, smiling at the landscape or have you at the edge of your seat as you look to complete a difficult level. Accompanying the brilliant soundtrack, Rayman Legends features a music section at the end of each environment which plays a rendition of a well-known song to the style of the characters in Rayman. Some of the songs featured include Black Betty and Eye of the Tiger and you have to avoid enemies or obstacles to the beat of the song. Mario has always benefited from having an amazing soundtrack, once that you remember months and even years after playing them. It seems as though Rayman has used the same idea to have the spinning haired and limbless man invading your mind.

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With the Christmas holidays fast approaching, there is no better game to play with friends and family than Rayman Origins or Legends. Anyone can play the game and thoroughly enjoy whizzing around in wonderful environments, collecting lums and having great fun in the process. This is one of the few times of year where families get together and participate in activities with one another. For anyone who enjoys games in the slightest, I believe cannot ignore this game. With both Origins and Legends capable of having 4 players playing via local co-op, these recent Rayman games are definitely worth anyone’s time. Christmas morning has been renowned in the past for creating many memories among gamers. In the season of goodwill, share the enjoyment and play a recent Rayman game. You will not be disappointed. Written by Simon Marshall, Decepticon sympathiser and videogame critic. Leave a comment and let us know what you think!

Follow on Twitter: @SimonMarshall6
Xbox Live Gamertag & PSN ID: SCIENCEakaSYCO
Nintendo 3DS Friend Code: 2466-2669-0117

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