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Jahanzeb Khan
09 Jun, 2011

E3 2011 Feature: Rayman Origins Preview

360 Feature | Cooler than Billy Ray.
The Rayman series has, in the past two console generations, not enjoyed a great deal of success. The original Rayman started out as a flagship title for the Atari Jaguar console and it would be followed by enhanced ports on numerous platforms. It was a beautiful game, and still manages to look quite nice by today’s standards even. Rayman 2: The Great Escape marked the franchise’s transition into 3D and it was a superb and almost flawless transition (at least at the time), and still holds the same reputation as Mario 64 as one of the most groundbreaking 3D platformers. Last year, Rayman: Origins was unveiled to us as a gorgeous 2D platformer much like the original Rayman. At E3 2011, we went hands on with a playable build of the game and came out quite impressed.

Headbutt!!!

Headbutt!!!
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The game certainly looks brilliant, with its extremely colourful and vibrant graphics. There is definitely a lot of fluidity in the animation and the sprites have a lot of detail. This may be one of the prettiest 2D games you will ever see and it really does look like a HD cartoon that you can control. The fluidity in the animation and graphics translates really well into the gameplay. Unlike games like Mario where the mechanics feel quite tight, the mechanics in Rayman Origins flow quite effortlessly. We often found ourselves losing control of the character and flying, jumping and sliding all over the place. Everything is extremely fast and hectic but it was still overall, heaps of fun.

While earlier footage of the game indicated 2 player co-op featuring Rayman and his pal Globox, we actually had a go at the 4 player co-op mode where two Teensies serve as the additional playable characters. What’s fun about the co-op is that you not only get to work to together, but also get to beat each other up (a bit of a friendly fire system here). This adds a bit of strategy into the co-op as you have to make sure you don’t harm the team in your frantic attempt to attack the enemy. You also have to help each other out, such as creating a platform with your hands for your teammate to jump on. It’s still extremely fun and quite competitive, as you race against your teammates to reach collectibles first and racking up a higher score.

The game lets you slap your partner silly.

The game lets you slap your partner silly.
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In terms of design and structure, it certainly feels a lot like the original Rayman. The environments, enemy designs, photo stands and the cages holding protoons, are all reminiscent of the original game. The similarities however, end here as it’s pretty clear by now that Rayman Origins is a far more fast paced and action packed than the original, and the co-op features add a whole new dimension. Also, while the original Rayman was quite a challenging game in its own right, Rayman Origins looks to top that based on the interesting and intense obstacle based puzzles we encountered in the build.

Rayman Origins will be arriving as this year on the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Wii. Based on our brief experience, we have to say it looks promising. Rayman was once considered to be one of the genres leading champions, and the games that put the series on the map are still some of the coolest platformers you can find. Sadly, the reputation of the franchise has been tarnished with lazy ports and remakes, and the focus on the Rabbids franchise. Rayman Origins is pretty much the great return of one of the most iconic stars in the platformer genre, and if all goes well then this generation of gamers will get to see Rayman back in true form.

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