Rayman Origins Vita Review
Game: Rayman Origins
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Available on: PlayStation Vita
There’s no reason to dwell on something we all know I’m going to say, especially if you read my previous review of the Xbox 360 version of Rayman Origins, this new version is the reason that you all need to buy a PlayStation Vita. This new version of Rayman Origins is essentially the exact same game – the same awesome game that we were treated to at the end of last year – and everything has made its way into the pint sized masterpiece, all of the levels, all of the side levels such as the Land of the Livid Dead and also includes some extra little bits too. Gone are the times when we got handheld versions of our favourite games that were stripped down caricatures of their big brothers, with the PS Vita we’re getting the same game, true power in our pockets.
The visuals of the Ubiart engine were something which impressed me about the original version of Rayman Origins that was released last year, all of the animations were crisp and the character were very well drawn and animated. Every single frame has been squeezed into the PS Vita and if you thought it looked good on your HDTV then you’re going to be amazed with how good it looks on the Vita’s stunning OLED display. The screen is gorgeous and bright, highlighting the visuals of the game and serving to enhance the already outstanding animations. If I was talking about the visuals alone then I would certainly say that Rayman Origins is a game that deserves to be seen on the Vita and its OLED screen.
As I briefly mentioned before, all of the levels that you played through on your home console are back, and they’re not cut down, shortened versions of the levels, they’re the whole thing. All of the extra content that came last year is on the Vita version of the game; Land of the Livid Dead, all of the unlockable characters. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a handheld version of a game contain every single aspect of its big brother but Ubisoft have managed it in Rayman Origins. However, that’s not all they’ve included here, there’s even extra stuff. While you’re playing through the levels you may find an oddly shaped artefact hidden within the world (each one kind of looks like half of the ying-yang symbol), tapping on these will allow you to collect them unlocking a section of one of the two murals that are in the game. This is something that wasn’t in the original version of Rayman Origins and hugely extends the longevity of the game if you’re the kind of person that finds themselves scouring every inch of every level trying to find them. You can even share some of the artefacts by using near, a feature that’s built into every PlayStation Vita and allows you to send an artefact to someone in your local area.
Another aspect of the PS Vita version of Rayman Origins that was nowhere to be seen on the console release of the game is the addition of level races. Every so often you will unlock one of the levels that you play during the main game for use in this ghost mode. The mode gives you a time that you have to try and beat, once you beat the default time you have the option of also being able to share that over the Vita’s near function. This adds a sense of multiplayer that would otherwise be missing from the game. On that note, while we’re talking about things that were added to the game, we should talk about things that were removed. The only noticeable feature that was removed is the ability to play multiplayer, even in the main console version of the game this was only a local multiplayer where all players played on the same screen, but it was multiplayer nonetheless. This Vita version has nothing in terms of multiplayer (except the aforementioned ghost times) and this is a little bit of a disappointment, while I didn’t expect to see a fully integrated online multiplayer mode, I would have liked to see a local multiplayer using two consoles, two versions of the game and just the local wifi connection. Oh well, you can’t win them all I suppose.
Arguably, one of the main aspects of Rayman Origins is its use of sound. All of the music that you hear is instantly recognisable if you’ve played the game before, and if you haven’t, you’re going to have some of them in your head for a very long time. An example of this music is the piece that’s played when the player collects the King Lum (the item that turns all other Lums red for a short amount of time), the music that plays when you collect him is something the I’ve found myself humming on various occasions when I didn’t even realise it, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. If you’re going to play Rayman Origins while you’re travelling on the train or bus to work, you owe it to yourself to play with headphones on, don’t just turn the sound down. That’s half the fun!
VERDICT: The brightness of the OLED screen is fantastic, as other reviews have also said, but Rayman Origins shows it off magnificently with the Ubiart engine. It’s going to take a while for developers to start squeezing what they can out of the system for the more popular AAA titles but the guys at Ubisoft Montpelier have managed to do it with their first attempt. The fact that they managed to squeeze every aspect of the console game into such a tiny card, as well as adding even more features is mind-boggling. If the Vita is the future of gaming then, with games like Rayman Origins, I’m coming along for the ride. No game is perfect but Rayman Origins is pretty much there.