Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Price Dropasaurus: Rayman Origins

Chris recently got some time with a recent game that went under the radar. Rayman Origins faced some stiff competition when released in Winter 2011. Despite the fact that you may have overlooked it, Rayman Origins deserves a playthrough.

Have you ever heard someone say that something is “too beautiful to exist”? It’s possible they were talking about Ubisoft’s Rayman Origins. This bright, cheery platformer is a work of absolute beauty. Every single moment of Rayman delights, the game is an all-out assault on the eyes and ears. It’s impossible not to smile when playing through this game, the positivism on display throughout is a welcome departure from the typical grim n’ gritty shooters that dominate the videogame charts.

Rayman Origins launched last year is the spectacularly crowded Christmas release season, and was promptly buried at retail. Ubisoft even made the mind-numbing decision to release RO in the same week as Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. Can you guess which game got the huge marketing push? As expected, Origins failed to light up the retail sales charts.

It’s a damn shame Rayman Origins went unnoticed by the public at large, as it is one of the finest platformers of this generation. The unique Ubi Art Framework engine brings to life some of the most lively and vivid graphics ever seen. The music is also top-notch, and the collectable electoons sing jaunty little tunes as you collect them. Each area has a unique soundtrack, helping every new landscape to feel unique.

The characters animate super smoothly, and each one is so full of such unique personality, it’s sometimes easy to forget who the title character is. I’m not that deep of a Rayman fan, so most of the character’s names and backstories are lost on me, although it never detracted from my enjoyment of the game. If you’ve played through the previous Rayman games, it’s highly likely you’ll recognize some favorites, and possibly even be able to discern some sort of plot.

Story doesn’t play much of a role in Rayman Origins, at least as far as I could tell. There are some hot human (?) women that have gotten locked into cages, and freeing each one bestows a new ability onto the player. Presumably, there is some reason these women have been captured, but it never intrigued me to such an extent to look into it.

I found myself thinking back to the many hours I spent with Disney’s Aladdin on the Sega Genesis, when playing through Rayman Origins. Trust me, that is a great compliment. Both games captured the feel of 2D animated art, with spectacular results. Rayman Origins may not have sold incredibly well, but it deserves a chance to be on every gamer’s shelf. If you have any love for hand drawn art, 2D platformers, or just great games, give Rayman Origins a spin.

Christopher Linendoll is ready to get animated. He can be reached via Twitter, or found in the hummus section of your local grocery store.


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