Having never owned an N64, having never owned a Dreamcast, having never owned a PC that could run it and having never seen the PS2 version hanging out on store shelves, I simply never had the chance to play Rayman 2 before this version came out. I have played Rayman 3, which I liked well enough despite not being too fond of the emphasis on combat and combos. I have played the first game, which I loathe with a passion (pretty, but I'm not a fan of the stage design!). But Rayman 2 is the Holy Grail of the series for me: I've heard so much about it, and never had a chance to experience it myself until now. Was it worth the wait?
Gosh, how do you even begin to answer this question? Rayman 2 is, in a way, pretty much what I expected: a 3D game that drops the tight, demanding platforming, beautiful sprites and bright colors of the first game in favor of a more open and collectathon-oriented polygonal adventure that takes place in very dark and brown environments. The videos I've watched have told me that much. I am guessing, however, that the varied gameplay made a much bigger impression on gamers back in the day than it would today. As it turns out, Rayman is a versatile little hero: when he's not jumping, floating and shooting his way through levels he swims, he rides on legged rockets and he swings on ropes. Compared to Mario, I suppose his repertoire of moves is impressive. The only problem is that what may have seemed new and fresh back them hardly is now. You could take a single series as an example, Ratchet and Clank, and make the point that in the past decade we have gotten over a half dozen of those games in which the hero has all of those moves, and more.
So Rayman's gameplay isn't so unique anymore... is it still fun? I would say yes: a well-made game doesn't stop being good just because it got old, good game design lasts forever. It can show its age terribly, though. The small environments of the game constantly remind you which system this game was designed for, in case you stopped noticing the dated graphics and sounds, which haven't been updated since the Dreamcast version it seems. And boy, would an update have been nice. I'm not sure if I even want to get started on the visuals as the list of things that needed improvement is so long... Alright, quickly: Rayman's animation isn't fluid and could have been touched up, the 2D sprites that decorate the levels look really bad and out of place, the architecture could have used some more polygons, and there is no excuse for the bad framerate at times, when the game is pushing the system (ha!).
The sound is similarly embarrassing. The library is extremely limited, and it seemed to me that every creature in Rayman's world make clucking sounds. Sometimes, the sounds would simply stop playing in the middle of an action, for instance the helicopter sound of Rayman's spinning hair as you are floating down. And the music tracks loop quickly and noticeably. You probably will never notice, however, unless you go to the options and turn down the music to 25% of its default intensity, as it will drown absolutely everything else.
As you can tell, nothing was done to update this game at all, and it is quite possible new flaws were introduced in this version, unless the N64 game also came with long loading screens.
As for the implementation of 3D, it is quite simply botched. Quite frequently, there are objects or even walls that seem to clip through the edge of the 3DS screen, not only breaking the illusion but also creating an annoying flicker. This clipping seems to happen more and more frequently as you progress through the game, too, and levels get more complex. I found myself constantly switching between 3D (when it looked nice) and 2D (when the flickering became too distracting and actually hindered gameplay). Not only that, but Ubisoft made ample use of negative parallax (objects that seem to come out of the screen) with its particle effects and badly animated 2D sprites, creating a really unpleasant effect that's hard to describe. I want to say painful but there is no pain, more like a feeling of pressure... well, it might be just me.
In the end, Rayman 3D is what it is: a solid polygonal adventure-platformer from the early days of the genre, with all that entails. A solid game, but nonetheless dated, and poorly ported to boot. The flaws it shows now that it showed then would be more forgivable if we were dealing with the original game's room being sold for $10 on the Virtual Console, but we are not. This is being sold as a full retail game in 2011 and so it should have received a major reworking to cut it with today's platformers. And the fact that this simple port was botched is unforgivable no matter the circumstances. Ubisoft should be at least as ashamed of having made this product as I am of having bought it.
I don't know why everyone is so down on this game. I have it for the N64 and Dreamcast, and am STILL finding this version fun. I love how all the reviews I have seen say "it has tight controls, fun game play and good graphics. But it's old so 2/10". I bet all though's people will score OoT really high as well.
It's too bad they messed up this port. The N64 game is a lot of fun, and it certainly doesn't have most of those glitches you complain about. The only real negative I can think about it is the framerate, but that's common with N64 titles.
The review reads like it is (or at least was) a good game but they screwed it up in the porting process basically. It's just strange to read positive comments about the gameplay etc.. but that they ruined the enjoyment of it. I really liked the review and its good that it was called out so harshly on the complete tits up they made of it. How can you screw up a game when given such a good not just starting point but complete experience to begin with? I guess Ubisoft showed us how.
It's also fair for you to base the review on modern standards when they are charging full price for it, had they given the game a low price then it could have been considered almost a retro review and I assume would have scored higher. A game that releases at full price with very little in the way of updates today needs to be reviewed at todays standards, re-releases should be cheaper or offer us enough incentive for us to pay top dollar.
You really think so? Maybe I didn't make my point clearly enough: the game deserved a much better treatment. And yes, it has aged, and had it been served as a VC title, then the problems are easier to forgive. But a retail title? Full price? Way, way more should have been done to update it, not just the graphics and sound but, I would hope, the camera. Perhaps a few all-new levels while we're at it, why not?
As a game, I'd probably give it a 7. As a full priced purchase on the 3DS? No way I could feel good about myself if I gave it a better score than I did.
I'm really not sure why the score would be a surprise to anyone who's read the review. I call this a brown and dark game that doesn't stand out so much today now that others have done what it did and improved on it. I can respect it for what it is, for its place in gaming history. But today it just doesn't cut it. Add to that a botched port job and... just what part of my review has been glowing?
"Rayman 2 is, in a way, pretty much what I expected: a 3D game that drops the tight, demanding platforming, beautiful sprites and bright colors of the first game in favor of a more open and collectathon-oriented polygonal adventure that takes place in very dark and brown environments." That is ALL true (and you can add in 'sluggish' to the description of Rayman 2)! But you also say that the first game is loathsome, and that the second game is fun. OBJECTION!
Rayman 1 >> Rayman 2. Admit it! To yourself. To all of us.
This was a good read, but I'm a little unsure on some of the details. You said that good design is timeless (I agree) and imply that the game has good game design (of which I'd probably agree, although I haven't played it in a long time). Stuff like Banjo-Kazooie and SM64 has held up well for me, personally, so I'd assume Rayman 2 would've as well. Then again, I've never played a Ratchet and Clank game.
There's a fair amount of variety in the game, and most of it is done well, so what about the design feels obsolete?
Sadly, it does sound like a botched port job. Even from watching the video (did you record that for the review? Nice job), some of the transitional screens and stuff (with the split-second "loading" images) reek of that "low-budget game" smell, and in addition to the music volume issue you mentioned, I noticed Rayman's "firing" sound effect is pretty much MIA for some reason.
I can understand the confusion. I guess I am trying to say too many things at once in this review. Let's go over it from the top.
- The game doesn't suck. It's a well-made adventure-platformer, and that is never gonna change. It does what it does, and it does it well, for a game made over 10 years ago.
- While 10 years ago it was one of the best at what it does, this is no longer true. Other games have come and done it bigger and better. Normally it would be unfair to compare the pionneer to the subsequent games that copied it, but the problem is that it is being presented and sold as a current full-priced game, so it has to be evaluated as such.
- One of the options would have been to release it on the VC, at a cheap price. There, its shortcomings would be more forgiveable and understandable. Another option would have been to overhaul it significantly, and bring it up to today's standards, not just in terms of presentation but also level design and game mechanics. Think Metroid: Zero Mission here.
- On top of that, shoddy port with occasionally bad framerate, glitchy sound effects and badly implemented 3D, and you end up with one of the worst ways to experience the game.
I believed I had managed to convey these points in the review, but I suppose not.
I enjoyed Rayman 3D. Thought the 3D was cool. Didn't really have any problems/glitches while playing the game. Never fell through any levels, camera never got stuck or messed up.
The game is colorful, not sure where all this dark/brown is all about, of course on the pirate ships there is wood, which is brown....so....
Yea, when Rayman fires his ball of energy it is weird that sound effect is missing, but it didn't bother me, I wouldn't lower the score due to that. I actually like it when items seem to be on the outside of the screen...but of course there is more to 3D than that. I did love the weird little black bugs flying around...I do not remember those being in the N64 version of Rayman 2.
I guess its all a matter of opinion. I don't feel like I wasted my money buying the game, esp. since I only paid $15 for it. Basically, none of the launch games are games I would every buy for any console, so thats why I choose Rayman, it was the game I was interested in the most, even though I did play through it on the N64. I'm not saying I wouldn't enjoy any of the launch games. I had tons of fun playing the demo of StreetFighter at Gamestop.
I do plan on buying another game, but only cause I got a $25 gift card, so its like I will only be paying $15 for whatever game I choose. And looking at all the launch games, only a few are actually scored higher than Rayman, and out of those which are, its not like the scores are that much higher..and all of those games are newer games. Anymore I just go to Metacritic cause it averages out all the reviews from different sites and has a link for each review. And I've been reading alot of reviews on all the 3DS games and really reviews anymore are getting to be useless. I guarentee Pilotwings and even Nintendogs/Cats are better than the avg. 70's these games are receiving. I will say I would never buy Nintendogs/Cats, but I know I would have fun messing around with it, cause I enjoyed the Nintendogs when my sons owned it for the DS. If I could get my hands on a free copy or find one for about $10, I would probably buy one of them.
More than likely I will go with Pilotwings when I go to Gamestop tomorrow. I know I will enjoy that type of gameplay moreso than just fighting the different characters over and over....but there is the online on StreetFighter, which I really would like to take advantage of...oh well, I'm kind of getting off topic.
To all those who are interested or was thinking about buying Rayman 3D, I would say try to wait to find a cheaper used copy or wait for the prices to go down. Like I've mentioned, I had a fun time playing the game and it being my first 3D game, I was impressed with the 3D.
I think these 3rd party developers might get the picture and lower prices on games that are just ported over from an older system when all they do is upgrade the game to 3D if people are not buying the game....but who knows, there might be alot of people who bought Rayman, cause maybe they are younger and didn't even know this game is a port, never heard of it before or who knows.
A plug for Face Raiders!
One last thing, I would have to say that I love Face Raiders! Out of all the games that are on the 3DS, I really enjoy playing it over and over. The faces are just wild and in some of the later levels things really get heated up and I think the game becomes quite challenging.
@Guillaume Yeah, that whole statement that as a game you'd rate it as a 7. Right there was the disconnect. I get that you don't like the fact that it was a port with no added features. But the way you were talking about the game in the review, I would expect the score to land somewhere between a 6 or 7. If you were really disdainful of Ubi for their lazy-ass efforts, it could even dip into the 5s. But a 4 would, to me, suggest that there is something wrong with the game fundamentally, when I think we all know that is not the case.
I'm just splitting hairs, really. I liked the text of the review. Its just that the number feels really arbitrary. I will also agree that a lower price point would have made more sense, but I can understand that Ubisoft is just capitalizing on the launch craze. I'm sure it will drop in price soon enough.
You know, the more I think about reviews, I hate the whole # rating anymore. From now on when I talk about a game, I will either rate it Excellent, Good, Average or Sucks....
Something along those lines. Cause seriously, having one game rate a 7.4 and another game rate an 8.5, well, there just really isn't that much difference. Or I could even add a below Avg. and then sucks. But really, #s do not mean much anymore, or at least for me they don't.
@Guillaume I understood your review pretty well. I wonder if people were expecting a rating closer to a 7 or something, since that tends to be what people rate "mediocre" games, even though 7 is still technically above-average.