|Release: March 27, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: N/A|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
In its time, Rayman 2 was a good game. Released on the Nintendo 64 when 3D platformers were at the height of their popularity, Rayman 2 had a lot of things going for it, and the way it fell in the footsteps of other 3D platformers and outright copied others (looking at you, Mario 64) actually worked in the game's favor. Though Rayman 2 wasn't the most original game when it came out, it certainly gave people what they wanted, and its collection-style gameplay delighted eager players (myself included) at the time.
Fast-forward fifteen years and thousands of 3D platformers later, and collecting fairies and jumping around multi-layered landscapes doesn't hold the same novelty it used to, especially when nothing new or interesting is introduced. Rayman 3D may have a new name, but don't be fooled, this is Rayman 2, ported over to the 3DS almost to the letter. If you've already played Rayman 2, and don't feel like battling your way through pirate ships and fairy landscapes again, then you can quit reading now, because this game isn't for you. Everything from lum locations to enemy animations is exactly the same here, and if you can remember every lum in the game and every vine-covered location, then you should steer clear entirely.
If you're still with me, that means you probably fall into one of two groups: those who never played Rayman 2, and those who don't mind replaying an old game (as long as it has some new tweaks). If you are in the first group, you'll probably be moderately pleased with Rayman 3D. The gameplay holds up surprisingly well after fifteen years, and if you are an action platforming fan, you really can't go wrong with this title. If there's one thing the 3DS launch sorely missed, it was a Mario game, but Rayman 3D fills the gap rather nicely, and it plays a lot like an old Mario game (nowhere near the Galaxy series though). There is a lot to explore, the collection-based gameplay is fairly deep, and though the game isn't all that challenging, there is enough here to hold most gamers' attention for a few hours.
If you fall into the second category though, the game is a little bit more difficult to describe. On the one hand, it is exactly the same as the original Rayman 2. The visuals look the same, the story is identical, and if you are looking for bonus levels or extra content, you won't find it here. On the other hand, the game has 3D visuals, and they look pretty good. The 3D effect gives the platformer a sense of depth that will certainly help you when jumping and helicoptering around the different levels. However, the game features a lot of floating elements that can mar the 3D effects when they come across the screen. Butterflies, lums, and fairies all pop out at you from the foreground and then compress the entire background, which can lead to quite a bit of visual distortion (and some headaches if you are sensitive to the 3D effect). These floating elements can mess up your perspective and cost you your progress, and they definitely smack of a hasty 3D conversion. However, when elements aren't popping in and messing up your perspective, the 3D visuals work extremely well here, and there are some chase scenes that really look great with the 3D effect. When Rayman falls down a tube or is being chased, the 3D certainly increases the immersion, giving the feeling of being right there with him, which is what the 3DS is all about.
Other than the 3D effects, there really is nothing new in Rayman 3D. The 3DS' bottom screen isn't used at all, the game doesn't include any StreetPass or Gyroscope features, there is no bonus content, and the game doesn't even look all that good, despite the 3D effects. Honestly, paying $40 for a decade-old game that has been hastily slapped with 3D effects feels like highway robbery, and is a trend I hope doesn't continue. Though there isn't much wrong with the game itself, the way that it was produced and sold (and given a new name) feels a little weird, and I am sure more than a few Rayman fans will be upset that they paid good money for a game they already played.
Still, I have to admit that Rayman 3D is fun, even if I wouldn't pay $40 for it. The 3D effects are done well, and there's a lot to explore here, if you haven't already played the game. If you have an itch for a Mario 64 clone, and want to check out a decent platformer, Rayman 3D gets the job done. However, if you've already played the game, I would wait until this launch title hits the bargain bin, as just simply slapping on 3D effects and calling Rayman 2 a new game is not enough to merit your $40. Plus, we don't want 3D-makes to become the next Wii-makes, do we?
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Senior Contributing Writer