Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Rayman Origins Demo Impressions

I had been seeing the new Rayman platformer on the PSN and XBLA marketplaces for a while,but I finally got around to downloading and playing through all of the demo. If you don't know Rayman at all, like me, then let me use the information about the series that I've gathered from the great and might internet.

Brief Series Overview
The Rayman series has always been focused on being a platformer, but there are quite a few spin offs out there since the brand has been thrown all over to place to many different publishers and developers. You may know the original platforming Rayman games from the PS2, Dreamcast, Gamecube or Nintendo 64, but there are also a major series spin off called Rayman Raving Rabbits which consisted of party type games, the genre that has dominated the Wii over the last couple years. The platformer Raymans have always been simple looking but generally had a lot to find, collect and enjoy. I never got into the series myself but it's done fairly well for itself over the last sixteen years. Now onto the impressions of Rayman Origins, the newest of series which came out on November 15th in the US.

The demo for Rayman Origins was fairly short, unsurprisingly for a four hundred megabyte download, but it did a decent job of giving you several perspectives of the game. The first level was straight up platforming and with the Xbox 360 controller it all controlled very smoothly and responsively. Wanted to go jump off a wall, land on a moving lily pad and the hit that creepy farmer, no problem. It's one of those games that the controls work so well that you kind of feel like your just super good at the game, when in reality you probably aren't, at least not after playing it for fifteen minutes. The first level lets you pick from five different characters at the beginning, each of which have one unique aspect to him, for instance the guy I picked was able to glide for a short while. One of the characters you had to unlock by finding enough currency (these fly things that you capture or save, I'm not sure, but either way they sure are happy that your stealing them), or by finding these large semi secret gold coins that are thrown about in each level.

The second demo level was a bit more interesting as it took the platforming and did a Little Big Planet 2 twist by turning the game into a side scrolling plane shooter. The controls for that worked quite well and it wasn't that difficult, but the boss at the end did unintentionally kill me a couple times, unintentionally because it was more of me killing myself by being an overzealous impatient bastard. I should mention that you cannot really lose in this game and there is a odd death system. When you die you merely go back to the last area transition and some levels don't have a single area transition, so it goes back to the beginning, but others have plenty and feel balanced.

Yeah this video is a bit old but still shows off some great gameplay

The  last level in the demo had no area transitions and that was a tid bit annoying, mainly because I'm an idiot and I didn't read the screen when it told me to press this new-founded sprint button and escape the giant sea worms of death. This last level was all about being underwater, apparently Rayman and his buds don't need to breath, and being chased by sea monsters. It was rather short though because as soon as I escaped the sea monsters some kind of boss sea monster broke through the ceiling and the demo ended. It was an enjoyable chase, despite the fact that I kept forgetting about sprint and kept getting stuck under falling objects.

The Rayman Origins demo was quite a bit of fun and when I say that let me put that in perspective. I played the two gigabyte RAGE demo after I played Rayman and I enjoyed playing Rayman a good deal more than I did RAGE. By the way, the graphics which I have neglected to even mention are quite good. They are colorful and have a cartoony look that makes me think of Looney Tunes mixed with some crazy shit from H.P. Lovecraft. I recommend checking out this demo if you are into platformers at all, of course you would have to pry yourself away from Steam Sales, MW3, Uncharted 3, BF3 and Skyrim. You know, the fact that there are three third sequels right there makes me squirm a little bit, doesn't seem right, especially since they are all top contenders for Game of The Year. One last thing, Rayman Origins, the real game not the demo, sports four player coop and sixty plus levels, good times to be had there. Well, Happy Thanksgiving everyone, I will attempt to write my delightful RAGE impressions before then, but no promises. Thanks for reading.
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-Written by Sean Cargle


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