Rayman 3D (3DS) Review

Today, Ubisoft’s Rayman series is more noteworthy for having launched the Raving Rabbids series than for the titular main character. And that’s a shame because the whimsical, brilliant Rayman 2: The Great Escape was one of the greatest platformers ever. In my opinion, no subsequent Rayman game has come close to matching it for quality and fun, which is why I was pleased to confirm that what I’d read was entirely true: Rayman 3D is Rayman 2.

In its day, Rayman 2 was considered a major step forward in 3D games; inventive levels, fun puzzles and graphics that despite still aren’t embarrassing. That’s why it’s been ported to every single system since. You probably already know the plot – rescue the Glade of Dreams from an army of evil robots. No point in recapping a story that was spoiled 12 years ago. Most ports have felt perfunctory (I still prefer the Dreamcast version for this reason), but in true 3D everything old feels new again. Graphics haven’t been changed on an aesthetic level, so you’re going to notice how geometric everything is compared to the creeping realism we’re used to now. But their cartoonish charm is amplified by 3D; more importantly, so too is the gameplay itself.


Rayman 3D (3DS [Reviewed])
Developer: Ubisoft Casablanca
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: March 27, 2011
MSRP: $39.99

It takes only a moment to confirm that the gameplay, save system and so forth are essentially identical. So we’ll focus on what matters: the conversion to 3D. It’s total, and excellent. The visuals are only eyepopping in the third dimensional sense, but that’s fine because whether in the opening cut scenes, when floating pirate ships head toward a vanishing point that looks real, or in gameplay when you float down into a deep ravine, they have a kind of quaint epicness. Better still, at every moment that it counts, Rayman proves the 3DS capable of delivering something more than just a gimmick.

Since this is a 12 year old game, I graded it on a curve, and the only real problem I had is that successes aside, the controls are kind of wonky. 3DS has an equivalent to the L-stick, and it’s put to good use simply by being identical, functionally, to consoles. But there’s no r-stick, and that means despite the 3D graphics and environments, you won’t be able to control the camera. This usually isn’t a problem but occasionally it gets stuck in an annoying place and that gets frustrating.

Rayman 3D might not be original, but don’t write it off as simply more of Ubisoft’s penchant for dead-horse flogging. This is a mostly-successful (if redundant) update of a classic. It might even be a taste of what to expect once Nintendo finally gets off their arses and delivers with their own games. That alone is enough to recommend it.

Pros:

* Successfully updates gameplay and mechanics to handheld.
* An excellent fit for 3D.
* Manages to make an old game feel new.

Cons:

* Literally the billionth port of Rayman 2.
* Lack of R-stick camera control gets frustrating, foreshadows potential issues with future 3DS games.

Final Score: 85/100

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2 Comments on Rayman 3D (3DS) Review

facelord

On April 2, 2011 at 11:09 pm

The lack of a right analog stick is what kills me with the 3DS; it’s such a huge leap forward for Nintendo but it’s beneath the NGP on the control regard. The PSP’s left analog stick was a problem with gamers from the start, it was the reason I didn’t buy a PSP until five years after it released. Now the 3DS has a slide pad on the left side but not on the right, and 3D games are gonna prevent developers from using the touch pad for aiming in FPS games, completely ruling out any chance of success for an entire genre. As happy as I am for the 3DS, I’m disappointed with the placement of the slide pad quite a bit; I’m left imagining what the system would be like with a slide pad on the right side of the system as well.

phlum

On April 8, 2011 at 11:02 am

I’d like to point out that Metroid Prime Hunters for the DS (which didn’t have any analogue-type controls at all) used the face buttons to look around. While it’s obvious that Rayman 2 can’t use these, shooters are more than welcome to. MPH worked really well – if you haven’t played it, control-wise all the weapons were on the touch screen, the ABXY buttons were used to look around, L was used to fire and R was to jump. If FPS games on the 3DS used this setup, then possibly it might work. Since the D-Pad is separate as well, this provides an extra 4 buttons in a way.