When Rayman Origins debuted on the console in 2011, it didn't exactly debut big. Gamers seemed a little apprehensive about paying sixty dollars for a platformer of its kind. Strong word of mouth has actually helped the console variants get some much needed success. Still underplayed, but at the very least the word of mouth was strong. Vita owners now have a chance to experience this game for themselves. The differences between this one and the console versions are quite small, though. There is one, however, that just might make potential players go for the console version on it's own.
Since the difference is so minor there isn't much that can be said here that hasn't already been said before. And thus this review isn't going to be that different than the one I already posted before:
As you can imagine there's pretty much no plot to Rayman Origins. And beyond that, Origins isn't really about any origin whatsoever. Rather the "origin" refers to how Rayman used to be. A 2D Side Scrolling Platformer. In other words, Rayman gets back to its roots. There are no raving rabbids here. Just pure amazing level design. The game is incredibly simple in its mechanics and that's part of what really makes it work. Just about anyone can pick up the game and learn the basics of the mechanics. Mastering the game, however, is another story entirely.
The game begins simple. The first level is inviting. And when you first begin you'll soon earn the ability to punch before later on getting other abilities such as the ability to fly or shrink later on. The game paces itself well by holding back on most of your abilities. Only giving them to you when you rescue certain characters. And mostly making sure you utilize them well in the environment they introduce them in. The learning curve in Rayman is almost non-existent. You'll slip right into the game real easy and the game gives you ample time to practice your new abilities.
It's a good thing that Rayman Origins doesn't punish the player when things are grim, however. The game is challenging. It begins quite simple enough, but before you know it the game ramps up in difficulty rather fast. You won't even be halfway through before you realize just what's being thrown at you in each level. And some are going to require some good pattern recognition or some trial and error to get down just right. Regardless of this, however, you rarely feel like the game is being unfair. Most enemies are easy to take out. It's not the enemies that'll be a problem, however, it'll mostly boil down to the environmental hazards mixed in with the well tuned level designs. Each failure doesn't really feel like failure either, because the game isn't out to punish you. There are a decent amount of checkpoints scattered throughout, and there isn't a limit to how many times you can fail.
This is also good because Rayman Origins has A LOT of levels to traverse. It's about as robust as a 2D platformer can get. Each level ends when you rescue a bunch critters (called Electoons) but the game demands replay because you'll be tallied up at the end of the level. Rescuing Electoons isn't just how you complete stages, it's how you unlock more. And if you manage to go through a level collecting all the "Lums" (basically coins) then you'll rescue more Electoons. There are also cages of captured Electoons hidden in every level. If you want to master Rayman Origins and explore everything it has to offer, you'll need to find them all. And this is going to require replaying some levels over and over again. Sometimes with a friend.
Perhaps the most rewarding thing about Rayman Origins is by far it's presentation. The game has an incredible sense of humor and some great tunes. The introduction is funny, and so are some of the levels (who would've thought using weenies as platforms wouldn't be such a bad idea?). But perhaps where the presentation shines most is in the graphical and aesthetic capacity. This is where Rayman truly comes alive. The graphics opt for style more so than anything. Certainly Rayman Origins fails to live up to the photorealistic quality of other games such as Uncharted 3 or Gears of War. But what makes this game so important is that it showcases that style is just as important as the actual graphical output. Rayman Origins doesn't have a lot of POWER behind it, but it has a visual flair that you just don't see too much in games these days. The aesthetics are what make Rayman Origins so easy on the eyes. The environments are just amazing looking. And this is because Rayman Origins has character. And art design that helps separate the game from everything else out there. A lot of games look pretty based on the actual power behind them, but it's nice to see a game that treats its visuals as though they were on a canvas for an artist to paint. It goes beyond being something shiny and something that actually exemplifies what gaming can do when developers try a stylistic approach rather than just an all out powerful one. Every frame of Rayman Origins is brimming with visual flair and style. It is easily one of the prettiest games I've ever seen. The fact that it plays well makes it that much more rewarding. At some point when playing through the levels the design just clicks and everything flows well.
There are two things that keep the PSV port down. The most obvious is the price. Oddly enough the price kept many a gamer away from the console version for a while as well. And it seems that can still happen here. This is because the console versions recently dropped in price and the PSV version cost more. The other thing that's a little strange is that the PSV version of the game doesn't offer multiplayer at all. The console version allowed up to four players to play, but this has been stripped out of the game entirely.
This doesn't make Rayman Origins in and of itself a bad game. It's still just as remarkable as it ever was. The lack of multiplayer is, for the most part, the biggest hit against the game, and in the long run it isn't even much to get worked up about (it IS a handheld system... and sometimes games are built with a solitary experience in mind). If you haven't experienced this game before, then this is a good chance to. Rayman Origins is still fantastic. Obviously, if you have the console version... there's no need to get it again unless you really need it on the go.