Video Game Review: Rayman Origins (Vita)
Hello, Leonard, do you like my bongos?
I reviewed more than 100 games in 2011, and without hesitation I would list Ubisoft’s Rayman Origins as the most pleasant surprise. When Ubisoft sent over review codes for its PlayStation Vita launch titles I reasoned that having someone else cover the game to offer a fresh perspective was the best course of action. But, when push came to shove, I pulled an about face and decided a second trip to the Glade of Dreams was in order. And it’s a decision I don’t regret in the least.
The simplicity and precision of the console version’s controls translate seamlessly to the Vita, offering up very responsive platforming. Some secondary touch commands have been added as you can now zoom in or out by “pinching” the screen and also pop inflated enemies or bubbles with your finger; both of which come in handy at times. The game does tend to pull back a long way at certain points, making Rayman very small, so zooming is a nice option.
Incredibly, Rayman Origins on the Vita looks every bit as beautiful as it did on a big-screen HDTV. The Vita’s OLED screen absolutely pops with bright, crisp colours, which in combination with the exquisite level design make this game the current standard bearer for handheld graphical excellence. On the audio side, I still found the cutesy high-pitched gibberish to be a bit much — if anything, it seemed even more grating having the system so close to my ears — but it shouldn’t dissuade anyone from playing.
Although Rayman Origins is nearly a perfect port of the console version (for the original full review, click here), the game does make one notable sacrifice: multiplayer. Indeed, the co-op portion has been stripped away, replaced by a “Ghost Mode” that challenges players to best a series of speed runs across truncated versions of some the levels. The races are fun enough; they’re just not the equal of the multiplayer.
Beyond the races, there are also some new collectibles, called relics, to be found throughout the game, though they don’t really add anything other than creating a couple of murals. Still, even if the omission of multiplayer is a net loss in comparison to the new content, Rayman Origins remains one of the all-time great platformers.
If you want to see a title pushing the boundaries of handheld gaming, Rayman Origins on the Vita is a damn good place to start. It’s an absolutely phenomenal game that has been expertly ported onto a new system. Both first-time and returning players should get their money’s worth with this one.