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E3 2011: Rayman Origins hands-on preview - hand-drawn gorgeousness Disney himself would appreciate

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Rayman helped put Ubisoft on the map many years back and frankly, it's time for the publisher to return the favor after shelving the armless wonder for years in favor of Rabbids and rehashes. Luckily, Rayman Origins is everything you'd hope for from a revival of the classic platform hero: it's bursting with color and creativity from every bit we've seen and played. And most importantly, it's a lot of fun.


Originally planned as a downloadable release, Rayman Origins is now a fully-fledged retail title with more than 60 stages set across across a dozen distinct worlds. The closest modern touch point is surprisingly New Super Mario Bros. Wii, though – not just because it is similarly a retro throwback release, but also because Rayman Origins supports local four-player co-op action that injects a healthy portion of friendly competition amidst the teamwork.

Playing as the titular Rayman, his best pal Globox, or one of the two Teensies (little apprentice sorcerers), you'll work together to get through the platform challenges and revive each other when one falls; as in NSMB Wii, downed foes float around until touched and brought back into the action. But you'll also try to be the first to nab all the collectibles in sight, and can punch allies just as you can knock enemies into submission. Without local pals, though, you'll simply play the stages solo, which is said to enhance the challenge in certain scenarios.

As screens and especially videos plainly show, Rayman Origins is gobsmackingly stunning, with a fluidly detailed hand-drawn aesthetic that absolutely fills us with a sense of wonder. It's our favorite part of the experience to date, but luckily the missions themselves are also pretty entertaining. Our hands-on experience at E3 allowed us to check out a common jungle stage with hazards to avoid, along with a desert stage where the sound waves of banging gongs kept horrifying swarms of insects at bay. Additionally, a Cave stage offered the opportunity to check out a boss challenge wherein we had to continually make our way up a vertical level, higher and higher, to avoid destruction by a monstrous boss climbing up after us.

Our only real concern with Rayman Origins is its size: It might be too big. We’re fearful that people who would gladly have paid $10 for a game a fraction of this size might be less eager to take the same chance on a $50-60 full-sized release even if it is much larger. So we’re here to do our part – if you’re reading this, know that we're still in for this charming, gorgeous adventure. We just hope gamers used to eye-poppingly realistic game experiences won't shrug off this stellar return to form due to its cute and colorful approach.

Jun 10, 2011

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16 comments

  • Darkhawk - June 25, 2011 3:43 a.m.

    Hopefully they don't take the NSMB comparison too far: the "two Teensies" sound suspiciously like the "two Toads" that Nintendo lazily palette swapped rather than implement Peach. Seriously, I REALLY hope Ubisoft isn't as lazy as the Big N (sad that I had to write that).
  • minimaxi - June 13, 2011 3:26 a.m.

    two seconds into the trailer I'm smiling ear to ear :) I don't know if I can convince my friend to buy this for online multiplayer (is there any?) ah well maybe I'll just buy the second controller I never had and play it with my sister.
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - June 12, 2011 11:12 p.m.

    Ubisoft have yet to make a PROPER Rayman game I haven't enjoyed. Doesn't look like they're going to break the record. :D
  • papergoon - June 12, 2011 12:35 p.m.

    not too comfortable seeing the water stages :(
  • darkpigraph - June 12, 2011 12:03 p.m.

    Piss off spambot. I love the look of it, i hope it won't be as ludicrously difficult as the first Rayman though!
  • nomnom52 - June 12, 2011 5:38 a.m.

    @Unoriginal: I believe Braid says hi. Captcha: "you'll nlyzets" for this game's visuals!
  • Spybreak8 - June 12, 2011 4:34 a.m.

    Never played any of the Rayman games but this looks gorgeous, esp in motion.
  • RupeeLord - June 12, 2011 1:49 a.m.

    This game looks more fun than New Super Mario Bros. Wii. I will be definitely getting this game when it is released.
  • snipes101 - June 12, 2011 12:09 a.m.

    I think this would make a great 3DS title.
  • RedOutlive10 - June 11, 2011 5:30 p.m.

    I hope this goes well, then Michel Ancel should get some rep to conclude Beyond Good & Evil 2. It sure looks awesome.
  • 8bitBaby - June 11, 2011 11:10 a.m.

    i really love how animated it looks. 20 years from now, people will still be able to play this game without it looking out dated or anything. i like that.
  • ChickenFillet5140 - June 11, 2011 9:22 a.m.

    I will definitley be getting this, Rayman is one of my all-time favourite games.
  • BoobleDrop - June 11, 2011 3:43 a.m.

    yeah, this one might die at retail, but it seems like the designers must have a pretty free reign. rayman 2 was one of the first games i've ever played, and it's still one of the best. i'm almost surely buying this one from what i can tell at this stage, but if they can replicate the sense of wonder of rayman 2 with that beautiful art style and fantastic animation- well, you guys still have that okami award to hand out
  • NightCrawler_358 - June 11, 2011 2:45 a.m.

    I forgot about this game for a while, but for the last few days, I can't stop looking at it. I love all the Rayman games, save for the rabbids, and I'm glad Ubisoft is entirely dedicated to Assassin's Creed and Imagine Babiez(?)
  • EnragedTortoise1 - June 11, 2011 12:31 a.m.

    I'm loving the animated style, and sooner or later, it WILL be mine. Bwahahahaetc.
  • Unoriginal - June 11, 2011 12:05 a.m.

    I will get this sometime. Seriously loved the first Rayman but regretably never finished it. What kind of game makes you finish it 100% before letting you see the final boss?

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