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E3 First Impression:
Rayman Origins

Rayman Origins box artGAME:
Rayman Origins

Ubisoft Montpellier


PS3 / Xbox 360 / Wii / 3DS / PSVita

15 November 2011

Single- and multiplayer platformer

Basically New Super Mario Bros Wii, but Rayman.

The artwork in this game is super awesome. The announcement article in Game Informer made a big deal out of how they hired artists who were specialized in traditional painting methods (as opposed to so-called "digital artists"), and how most of the art in the game is actually scanned oil paintings and what-not. Definitely makes for a cool, distinctive look.

Gameplay-wise, it offers that type of same-screen, drop-in/drop-out, interactive-co-op platforming found in Little Big Planet or New Super Mario Bros Wii. Hence I take it that this game is targeted at the "casual" crowd looking to have "fun" by convincing multiple people to play a video game on the same screen in the same room.

On the one hand, that's great. It's getting back to the arcade roots of gaming, when gaming was a living, social experience. Remember Golden Axe and The Simpsons? Of course, those were brawlers. Come to think of it, I don't remember ever enjoying a platformer in an arcade setting. But whatever.

On the other hand... how often does this sort of group game play actually occur in the real world? Like those ads for Kinect showing a bunch of people all gathered together in the living room and playing Kinect Sports: who really does that? Is that a realistic expectation? Haven't shooters already figured out that sharing a screen isn't as fun as putting on a headset and playing over LAN or online? Of course, shared-screen is totally different from split-screen, but whatever.

Furthermore... there's no getting around the fact that it's a platformer. Even the best platformer of all time would still beg the question of whether or not the world needs another platformer. Another CONSOLE platformer, that is -- because we all know there are about a zillion indie, browser-based, and mobile platformers that still need to be made.

Anyways, I want to like it, at least for the zany art style.