Massively monoscreen disappointment

21May12
ImageContinuing my theme of games I’m late in finally picking up, I played Rayman Origins on the 360 last week as part of our company games night. I love comics and hand drawn art so it has a style that presses all my buttons, a fun setting and a cheeky multiplayer that encourages you to mess with, as much as make the day of, your teammates. There were enough controllers and bodies to enjoy four player fun and we had a ball with regular and casual gamers dropping in and out with ease between slices of pizza. In short it was something to be cherished. A great game for hardcore and casual alike which made everyone smile.
Given my resurgent love of the handheld I was keen to pick up Rayman for the Vita but equally intrigued by the possibilities for a great 3DS version. Super Mario 3D Land is such a standout platform game that I really felt that it would inspire Ubisoft to deliver a strong Rayman. The 3DS release was, after all, late coming out compared to the others, best part of a year after the 3DS launch, and the only detail I was able to find pre demo was a video of a team member expressing excitement at the potential of the Nintendo portable so I assumed I’d see something worth waiting for.
The demo arrived last Friday and if all you have is a 3DS and you want to play Rayman then get the demo and see if you like it but my initial feeling is that this port bears little resemblance to the game a room full of people got such a kick out of. Visually it reminds me of the GBA games of old that used pre-rendered sprites to suggest that the system was more powerful than it was. We’ve obviously come a long way since then but here still everything feels small and blurry like the higher resolution assets have been scaled too much and the engine isn’t suited to the hardware. There’s no use of the second screen either, other than to show me how far through a level I am, information that I don’t really need in a game which requires me to move from left to right. The diminutive scale had the knock on of making the game feel small and fiddly. I wanted to get lost in the rich colourful scenes and bouncy characters and while I can see those elements are there they’re too far away to enjoy them. It extracted all the joy from the game for me and it’s a shame because the USP 3D here doesn’t expand on the experience either. Disheartened I downloaded the demo for the Vita and the experience couldn’t be more vibrant and alive by comparison. I’ll miss the multiplayer but for me the Vita is the version to play on the go and I hope that with the exciting ideas shown in the leaked Rayman Legends concept footage from a few weeks ago that this is part of a plan. Get this version out of the way, finish the commitment to this first revamped 2D title and really hit a home run on all platforms with the next game. It’s what such an inventive and beautifully created universe as this deserves and it’s probably good for the industry if more more relatively cheap to produce projects like this with mainstream studio quality are a success critically _and_ commercially.
The portable version will contain all the same awesome Sly Cooper action you will find on the PS3 along with cool Vita-specific features that incorporate the front and rear touchscreens and motion controls. The game will also feature cross-save capability, so you’ll be able to save the game from either machine and then pick up right where you left off — whether you’re at home or on the go.
Glen Egan – Playstation Blog
Brave new world! I can’t wait.
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