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Rayman Origins PS Vita



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Product Description

Rayman Origins is special, rare and precious. Somewhere in the last few years, the classic notion of games being benign and whimsical escapist fantasies was lost in favor of battered, war torn landscapes and desolate dystopian apocalypse. Vibrant worlds turned to rot and grit, smiles turned to screams, and it seemed that by and large, gaming lost its innocence.

Is it possible for a game in this era to recapture the magic that inspired this industry to begin, while still proving itself a capable, full-fledged experience under modern scrutiny? In the case of Ubisoft's Rayman Origins, the answer is "slapsolutely."

In many ways, what we have here is this generation's most artistically cohesive package, with perfectly imagined visual direction that never ceases to induce smiles. It's as if art director Michel Ancel drew a single, whimsical napkin sketch and then built an entire world around it, consistently expanding on but never once backing down from his original vision. Plant life unfurls around you, fiery pillars collapse, and avalanches give way to lush landscapes for goofy characters to happily slap each other around. It's fantastic vibrant chaos that's exquisite on the eyes, with buttery smooth animation to boot despite the very rare framerate hiccup that rears its head when things are at their most chaotic.


As pretty as ever.

Back in November, Rayman Origins was a platforming bliss on consoles and it's just as rewarding in the palm of your hands on the PlayStation Vita's gorgeous display. There are moments of total madness where the background elements mesh with the foreground causing occasional confusion, but Rayman's biggest visionary downside is that it's almost distractingly beautiful. l want to stop to take it all in, but instead I hop and bop and collect everything I can in a mad dash to the goal. Luckily, most stages buck this trend by becoming more meticulously calculated affairs, where you strategically grab Lums, (Rayman's answer to coins) and explore hidden corners of the worlds to conquer secret sub areas at your own pace. I was worried that Origins wouldn't translate well to anything smaller than an HDTV but that was totally not the case once I saw it in action on the Vita. Occasionally the view may be pulled back a little too far to truly catch every detail but with the newly implemented pinch to expand multi-touch controls, nothing gets lost.

Like the console's effect last year, there once again is never a shortage of people gathering around me to revel in how incredible Rayman looks on the PlayStation Vita; mastering stages in all their glory delivers a fluid, magnificent spectacle. Single player gets the job done and will absolutely satiate any cravings you have for an awesome and unique side-scrolling gaming experience, especially in the absence of a traditional 2D Mario title this year.

Unfortunate – and this by far the Vita version's greatest drawback – is the quite disappointing absence of the two to four-player multiplayer mode that made the console version so easy to return to again and again. How Ubisoft omitted such an important gameplay element when some other PlayStation Vita launch titles support local and even networked multiplayer modes is a real shame. There are some fun new additions here to make up for it, such as a "ghost mode" which allows players to share and trade time trial data, but anyone outside of the most Rayman obsessed (Guilty!) will probably gloss over it.

The draw to ghost modes lies in the fact that Rayman and his friends Globox and the Teensies don't rely on power-ups in the traditional sense. Rather, each new world provides a new ability or attack to learn, and those moves stay with you forever, leaving plenty of opportunities to return to older stages and fly through them with more style and finesse. Each world offers plenty of insane locales. From the nightmarish cauldrons of pepper-obsessed chefs to the dark and murky underwater caverns brimming with vivid and ferocious sea life, there is plenty to see here. You'll take to the backs of giant mosquitos in ever-evolving side scrolling shooter stages as buzzing orchestras hum away. You'll swirl under oceans in the closest a video game has ever come to replicating the orchestrated synchronized swimming scenes in a Busby Berkeley film (Google it).


Can you beat my ghost?

Experienced players will unlock unique treasure chest chase levels; non-stop "screw up once and you're dead" speed-runs that will test your dexterity and twitch reflexes as much as test they your patience. Rayman is tough, a near brutal challenge at times but it never fully inspires Vita throwing, rage quitting anger thanks largely in part to its liberal use of checkpoints and its "you're so damn lovable that I can't stay mad at you for long" behavior. There are a few trial and error moments, but by and large this is a showcase of your own nimbleness, finesse and wit and it rewards your skills oh so handsomely.


The past few years seem to have convinced some critics that "artsy" platforming games ought to be short affairs, but Rayman is much, much better than that. There are a magnitude of stages to explore here, epic boss fights, unlockable character skins, hidden stages galore and hours upon hours of frantic fun. The notion that imaginative visuals and matinee-priced entry fees need be mutually exclusive is one Rayman Originscontinues to dispel as hour after hour of gaming joy continue to ramp up in both sheer scope and in grand gratification. Rayman Origins takes on a genre mastery of ground work laid down decades ago and elevates it to astronomical new standards. It's a spectacular living painting that's as much fun to play as it is to look at, and it's a total triumph. Your move, video game industry.

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