by Liam Edwards
previewed on X360
Where Your Dreams Become A Reality
There is a certain attractiveness about creating a game based in a dream-world, as it opens unlimited possibilities for game-designers and level-creators. Although all Rayman titles have never had anything realistic about them, they have always had levels that made sense. Ice and snow levels would contain and use characters such as penguins and other related additions to bond to the theme of the level. But Rayman Origins has levels that don't make sense.That is not a bad thing. It is part of the beauty of what the new game has to offer - unlimited possibilities and ideas.
Here at Hooked Gamers, we had the chance to play though three levels from Rayman Origins at GamesCom. Each level was beautiful. The art team at Ubisoft have done an amazing job of recreating the beautiful and original art style of the first Rayman titles, whilst tweaking the environment and artistic style to create a very stunning HD world. It is certainly the most dramatic change that players instantly notice when picking up the controller to play.
Origins also boasts drop-in 4 player co-operative play, with players taking control of both Rayman and Globox, as well as both of the Teensies. Straight away you can see where the title has taken its ideas from, with the ability to have 4-players and being able to hit and attack each other straight away shows some of the frustrations players had while playing New Super Mario Bros. There is also a mechanic where if one player dies, that player is transported as a bubble to the other players, where in-turn those players can slap the other player out of the bubble to carry on. If all players are turned into bubbles at the same time, the level must be re-played. These features are all lifted from New Super Mario Bros, so you can instantly tell that Ubisoft is paying attention to what successful platforming titles feature, in terms of game mechanics.
The characters are rather obscure and very different from each other, (except for the two Teensies who are carbon copies) with each having their own special individual powers and moves. Both Rayman and Globox have the power to use flight, which makes it easier for them to transfer over larger jumps, whilst the Teensies can only glide across, making it more difficult to play through as those characters. This is balanced by the fact that the Teensies can sprint at a faster pace than both Rayman and Globox, making them more adept at speed-running through levels and passing enemies. The unique characters, with their own play-styles, creates more variety and allows for different experiences when re-playing levels, something not shown in other co-op platformers.
Every environment is different and you will seldom find re-used enemies and level quirks over and over again, making the Origins universe very unique and open. This freedom in environments allows the developers to create the best platforming experience possible. In each of the levels we played, there was a significant helping of game mechanics that was like nothing we had seen before in platforming titles. A particular favorite was the 'Lemon Forks'. A piece of lemon would slowly slide down giant faced-forks, and each character had to quickly traverse across each one before the lemon quickly slid down. Adding to the difficulty was the fact that the lemon was slippery, and timing your jumps was difficult. You didn't have the time to wait because, if you were pronged by the fork, the character was launched into the air and down a hole in the level. It was small additions and new creations like this that made this a very different Rayman experience.